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Isolation Can Bring Physical Harm in Depressives

Brazil is one of the most depressed countries in the world and is ranks at the top of cases of depression in Latin America, according to the World Health Organization. It is estimated that 12 million Brazilians, about 5.8% of the country’s population, suffer from the problem — a rate above the global average, which is 4.4%.

With social isolation instituted almost a month ago and, among the few certainties of the moment, that the experience of a pandemic will leave marks upon all of us, VivaBem talked to writer, activist and American professor Andrew Solomon, author of bestselling The Noonday Demon (Cia das Letras), a reference in depression which includes the author’s experience in his own battle against the disorder.

…Reflecting on the impacts of social distance on those who were already depressed or who, like him, have a history of depression and mental disorders associated mainly with anxiety, Andrew [Solomon] considers that the damage may even be physical for this group. According to research that has deepened during the confinement which he is also experiencing, he points out that the most emotionally vulnerable have their immune system compromised. “The response of the the most solitary organism is already different, which may make them more prone to the diseases they are trying to avoid”, he explains.

…Although it does not replace physical contact, frequent virtual calls certainly benefit those who are most emotionally vulnerable. “This is a difficult time for everyone, depressed or not. But especially people who suffer from panic, anxiety or sadness need to know that they are not alone,” he says. “And that they need to try not to get even more depressed, because we are talking about saving ourselves, saving lives”.

(To read the full interview in Portuguese, please visit Viva Bem.)