The current COVID-19 pandemic is causing direct and indirect effects in the global population. In this paper, fear and its possible forthcoming consequences on health will be investigated and discussed. Fear is an innate reactive emotion to the immediate threats produced by danger. It is hardwired within subcortical survival circuits and originally had to defend the organism from predators. Besides, fear is a cognitive emotional process mediated by the cortical structures, and implies a subjective evaluation both at implicit (subsymbolic, unconscious) and explicit (symbolic, conscious) levels. Within a defensive taxonomy framework, fear can be defined as a reflex triggering a prompt behavior aimed at surviving from predating attacks (freezing), whereas anxiety as a deliberate pattern aimed at planning behaviors for anticipating and avoiding future harm. Fear and anxiety overlap at a subjective level, but are generated by different neurobiological networks and serve different evolutionary goals. The current viral danger and the need for social distancing worsen the sense of loneliness. A wide body of experimental and epidemiological literature evidence that psychological stress, social isolation, and loneliness have a detrimental effect on multiple health-related outcomes including comorbidity, multimorbidity, and mortality. The negative effects can be even higher for people currently living a massive limitation of physical and interpersonal contacts. A strong effort to integrate psychological and medical care is needed to face post-pandemic health issues.

Fear, anxiety and health-related consequences after the COVID-19 epidemic

Porcelli P.
2020

Abstract

The current COVID-19 pandemic is causing direct and indirect effects in the global population. In this paper, fear and its possible forthcoming consequences on health will be investigated and discussed. Fear is an innate reactive emotion to the immediate threats produced by danger. It is hardwired within subcortical survival circuits and originally had to defend the organism from predators. Besides, fear is a cognitive emotional process mediated by the cortical structures, and implies a subjective evaluation both at implicit (subsymbolic, unconscious) and explicit (symbolic, conscious) levels. Within a defensive taxonomy framework, fear can be defined as a reflex triggering a prompt behavior aimed at surviving from predating attacks (freezing), whereas anxiety as a deliberate pattern aimed at planning behaviors for anticipating and avoiding future harm. Fear and anxiety overlap at a subjective level, but are generated by different neurobiological networks and serve different evolutionary goals. The current viral danger and the need for social distancing worsen the sense of loneliness. A wide body of experimental and epidemiological literature evidence that psychological stress, social isolation, and loneliness have a detrimental effect on multiple health-related outcomes including comorbidity, multimorbidity, and mortality. The negative effects can be even higher for people currently living a massive limitation of physical and interpersonal contacts. A strong effort to integrate psychological and medical care is needed to face post-pandemic health issues.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11564/730971
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