Mental health of Hungarians hit hard by coronavirus restrictions: study

Being deprived of social contacts could lead to physical symptoms

editor: REMIX NEWS
author: Dénes Albert

The mental state of Hungarians is at a low not seen since the aftermath of the failed 1956 anti-Soviet uprising and the associated reprisals from communist authorities, clinical psychologist Dániel Kozma-Vízkeleti told Hungarian news and opinion portal Mandiner in an interview.

It has been a year since the onset of the coronavirus epidemic, and day by day it is growing harder to stay away from loved ones, friends, and many Hungarians long for cathartic release of personal discussions or just a good old laugh in a pub. Although it is a miserable situation, it is not unprecedented.

“The population of Hungary is now experiencing a crisis pervading all areas of life not seen since 1956 and the retaliations and social reorganization that followed the revolution. At least on a socio-psychological level, I could compare the state of mind of people to this,” Kozma-Vízkeleti said.

As he said, looking back over the past year, it can be seen that the state of mind of society has fluctuated: the partial opening of the summer brought temporary relief, with many Hungarians escaping to Lake Balaton or the Adriatic.

“The gradual closing in the autumn brought another downturn, and by the second half of the autumn we found a new balance, so to speak, we settled in, calmed down,” he pointed out. Now, at the end of winter, we are on a downward slope again, the melancholy, the skepticism, is intensifying. People are tired of constant online education and work, and are already looking forward to the opening of society. We do not know for sure when this will happen, and the authorities say that any relaxation of COVID-19 measures would be irresponsible for the time being.

The specialist also pointed out that more and more people are struggling with mood disorders, depression or a pre-existing condition, which clinical psychology calls depression at the subclinical level.

“Not only is our mood affected by the limitation of relationships, but paradoxically by our immune system as well,” Kozma-Vízkeleti said, drawing attention to the indirect health-damaging effects of measures to protect our health. He stressed that a good relationship, a hug, and a caress has a beneficial effect on our immune system.

“It is not only our mood, but our body responds when we are deprived of these,” he said.

Title image: clinical psychologist Dániel Kozma-Vízkeleti. 


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