Project

Popular science books

Goal: This section includes all the publications in English of my authorship or co-authorship from the field of psychology and neuroscience.

Updates
0 new
0
Recommendations
0 new
0
Followers
0 new
10
Reads
0 new
29

Project log

Juan Moisés De la Serna
added 5 research items
As discussed in previous chapters about the possibility of combating depression by intervining on the quality and quantitly of sleep, it was similarly discussed about the relation between sleep and obesity and how sleeping improves the person's weight. Some researches indicate the importance of having an appropriate sleep-wake and also about the necessity of taking into account a proper treatment when insomnia emerges, because the more we suffer from these symptoms, there will be greater consequences on health. One of the greatest problems that people who suffer from is insomnia is precisely the inability to fall asleep for a good part at nighttime, which do not allow them to receive the benefits sleep has for our organism, both in recovering throughout the inmune system overactivation and the consolidation of the memory traces of what happened during the previous day, having a restful sleep is something basic and important so in that way we can enjoy a good mood and a better health state. As it's indicated, insomnia will harm both the physical health and psychological health of a patient, but also the social relationships since the person will feel more suspicious, irritable and nervous also, the person will have difficulties in keep a right level of relationship with its fellow student, co-workers, family and even its couple. Insomnia that can affect 10% of the population, it can cause neuronal disturbances which are reflected in increased neuronal activity by overexcitement. Traditionally, there have been many treatments for insomnia, from those which try to sleep the brain with medication, sedatives and those which try to "bore" the brain by performing senseless monotonous activities such as reading phone book or counting the sheeps which try to "exhaust" the body with
So far, the importance of an appropriate sleep has been highlighted, both in the amount of sleep and the sleep quality to ease several biological processes such as the creation of memory traces and immune system overactivation, highlighting some harmful effects in health due to the lack of sleep. In this chapter, we are going to delve into those effects making a particular focus in their psychological consequences and specifically with regard to mental health. Frequent psycopathologies related to a person's emotional have to be taken in consideration, so anxiety disorders and major depression disorder will have a main focus by the specialist, focusing in the second one, depression, technically called major depression disorder, it is a mood disorder which has important consequences in the way of being, thinking and acting of the person. Among many effects on depression, it can be found that it's characterized by blame, despair, futility, negative thoughts; an increase of pain sensivity, persistent discomfort, digestive problems, in addition to feeling tired, overwhelmed, agitation, lack of interest in activities you used to like, hopelessness thoughts, concentration difficulty, besides of having sleep disturbances which can affect both excess and deffect. The relation of depression with the subject of this book is because more than a half of people that suffer from depression demonstrate a deffect on sleep amount called insomnia, being defined by lack of falling asleep, staying asleep or waking up quite early, having an important sleep decrease in terms of the sleep amount and sleep quality, since it is not a restful sleep. It will bring about negative consequences like irritability, fatigue and major sensibility towards infections, since inmune system is overactivated at night, when the body is relaxed and rested; on the other hand, when sleep is not conciliated , the inmune system and cell regeneration process is interfered and harmed.
In this chapter, different sleep disorders related to sleep are addressed, taking into account that their causes can be both organic and non-organic Organic causes in sleep disturbances stem from genetic problems or organic disturbances, due to a trauma or an illness. Non-organic causes suppose that sleep disturbance is a symptom apart from having mental disorder or somatics, especially due to emotional causes. Among sleep disorders, it can be distinguished according to I.C.E.-10 (International Classification of diseases currently in its tenth version): Insomnia can be presented by an organic or non-organic cause. Characterized by decreasing sleep quality, due to a difficulty in falling asleep, or staying asleep or waking up prematurely. Sleeping is very sensitive to the presence of psychopathological disorders, it is usually expressed by means of insomnia. In order to diagnose insomnia one must realize that: A. The individual complains of its difficulty to fall asleep, staying asleep or non-refreshing sleep. B. Sleep disturbance is produced at least three times per week, for at least a month. C. Sleep disturbance produces a personal malaise or an interference in the daily personal good functioning.
Juan Moisés De la Serna
added 5 research items
One of the main issues to afflict the elderly is that in some occasions they may suffer abuse, be it verbal or physical mistreatment. A situation that has very little media repercussion, with few exceptions, given the gravity of the case, or when an elder is abandoned in a gas station or a hospital, so one doesn't have to care for them. A form of abuse that still does not raise much social awareness, different from gender abuse or minor's abuse, but that is as harmful or more than any of those, since it is imposed against a defenseless population, debilitated by the passage of time and that, in many cases, suffer from some sort of illness. This abuse against the elderly usually comes both from their inner family circle and from their nurses, when they have one. This abuse can manifest itself verbally, trough insults or depreciation; or physically, through direct aggression or by forbidding the elder from doing something, such as going to the street. According to the INE accounts with respect to the received reports regarding violence against people over 60, it seems these have grown or diminished as described in the following. Concerning domestic violence, which is exercised within the family nucleus, in 2013 there were 2.378 reports, which was 33,6% of all reports; in 2015, on the other hand, the number dropped to 1.754 reports, although it showed an increase compared to the total, making 38,54% of all reports. As to gender violence in the third age, the violence from a man against a woman with whom he shares or has shared an affectionate relationship, for women over 60, in 2013 there were 891 reports, making 3,28% of the total; while in 2015 there were 949, making 3,43% of all reports, so we can notice a slight increase. Comparing both data, we could say that both in numbers and in percentage, 2 the number of abuse is higher in domestic violence, if compared to gender violence, and that it has also increased in the last years. These numbers are still alarming even if we only take into account people over 70, which is 590 cases of domestic violence and 494 cases of gender violence in 2015, right at the ages that need more help and are more dependent of others. The consequences of said mistreatment are equal or graver than gender or minor's abuse, since for those there is still time to "recover" and even lead a normal life afterwards, but the elderly do not dispose of this time. "The greater or smaller psychological repercussion of a violent conduct depends on many factors. On the one hand, it depends on the biological and psychological vulnerability of the person that refers to a preexisting emotional imbalance before the traumatic event and counts with a lower capacity to activate psychologically and physiologically. In these cases, the impact of violence will be greater and/or more incapacitating. The duration and the intensity of the violent occurrence and the meaning given to it will also influence, as well as the incident occurring with other negative experiences, present or past. An insufficient familial and/or social support and the use of inadequate coping mechanisms will worsen the post-traumatic symptoms". Virginia Mora, Trauma and Violence Expert Physical or verbal abuse will have important effects psychologically related to the person's mood and their self-esteem; as well as physical effects, not only as consequence from the assault, but also because the immune system will be impacted with a reduction in defenses and, consequently, worse health. Add to this a tense environment, anxiety and even the fear that is developed when the elder must live with the abuser, not knowing when the aggressions will return, or if this time it will be more violent. But when this abuse is lived by an elder that already suffers from an illness, the situation is graver, since it will go against the recuperation from it and in the worsening of the symptoms. One of the most serious illnesses that an older person may suffer from is Alzheimer, for its cognitive consequences and for its impact in the patient's quality of live; but what influence does mistreatment have in Alzheimer? This is precisely what a study from South Florida University and South 3 Connecticut's State University (USA) tried to uncover, and the results were published in the scientific journal Aging Science. The data analyzed in this study was extracted from a bigger one, called AV-CAD (Aggression and Violence in Community Based Alzheimer's family grant), in which over 6.000 people participated. From the participants, they took a first sample following these criteria: being over 60 years-old; being diagnosed with Alzheimer according to the NINCDS/ARDR criteria for at least 3 years before the study; and having a normal level of cognitive abilities according to MMSE (Mini Mental Status Exam). Finally, they registered the answers of 254 nurses and 76 patients diagnosed with Alzheimer. They administered a standard questionnaire about conflict resolution in the family called CTS (Conflict Tactic Scale) that evaluates three familial conflict resolution tactics: reasoning, verbal and physical aggression. The results show that reasoning is the most common conflict resolution method, both from nurses and from the patients themselves, corresponding to 91,4% and 89% respectively; a situation that is reduced in the last year of the illness, decreasing to 66,3% and 45,3% respectively. This shows that the advencement of the disease will influence directly on the worsening of the use of reasoning as a conflict resolution path. In change, in the last year of the study, the levers of verbal aggression resolutions increased to 59,3% and 68,7% respectively; and in a smaller way, but not less worrying, the presence of physical aggression, making 16,8% and 24,2% respectively. The data leave no room to doubt how worrisome the situation faced by Alzheimer patients is, and that they are victims of abuse from their nurses and from family members. It is worth noting that there seems to exist a vicious circle of violence that sets as the disease develops, since the levels of aggression increased from the nurses to the elder, but in a greater level from the elder to the nurses and family members, both verbally and physically. Although the study is clear in its results, it does not attempt to value the motivations that may be behind this change in tendency to violence.
One of the most dramatic events for a worker is to suffer bullying in the work place from their superiors with all its consequences. Bullying in the work place, or mobbing, is considered to be a systematic and intentional abuse at one's job, usually produced by the direct boss or another superior, wherein a certain type of authoritarianism by the harasser makes it hard to face the situation without risking the employee's reputation and even their employment. Although, on occasion, mobbing can also come from a "jealous" work colleague who envies their professional success and good work, or even merely for being "new", in this case, harassment isn't held by a formal authority, but by one that is legitimized by the rest of the colleagues, who not only don't intervene to stop the situation but also may incentivize it, as a "joke", or a form of "entertainment". A dramatic situation for the victim, since it will affect not only their work environment but also bring consequences to their social and family relationships, even to their personal health, psychological and physical. Often, the person who suffers bullying in the workplace ends up with low self-esteem, due to the harasser constantly "bringing them down" or "talking behind their backs" to ridicule them or to maximize their errors. Something which, in many cases, will lead to an increase of times of skipping work due to depression, which in its turn will reflect in a diminished work productivity, and these new "failures" will feed the "gossip" from the harasser, turning into a vicious cycle wherein the worker will feel worse. In some cases, bullying in the work place has an objective such as "getting rid" of an employee, making them quit, while in others it is merely a mistreatment conduct directed against this employee completely unmotivated, other than for harming another or laughing at them.
Personality is built during childhood, a critical period even for emotions. If we consider that it is precisely at those times when an individual conforms himself or herself, we will understand that the place where one lives is fundamental for a proper development. At early ages, the opinions, corrections and even reprimands are the way in which parents can educate children; a role that is amplified to teachers with time; and to their companions during pre-adolescence and adolescence.
Juan Moisés De la Serna
added 27 research items
If we notice the offered results by Google, about the tendencies on research about this topic, in their diverse meanings around the world since 2004-2017, we can prove that the first worried country about this is, Puerto Rico, followed by Italy and Spain, leaving U.S.A. in the 32nd place, of the 68 countries that form part of the Google result, being the last country, Vietnam. This does not reflect the number of cases of this type of neurodegenerative illness on each country, but the times that this word has been searched for, for example, there can be a country where there aren´t many cases of Alzheimer but the population is very sensible to this matter, for what will have many searches in Google at least. Or vice versa, a population in which there is a high incidence of Alzheimer´s disease, and there is a low consciousness about the problem, and barely any searches about it. To highlight the 10 first places of searches in this topic, seven are European, In the same way, we have to highlight that in a formal way there has been a continuous slope, of the use of this word, being less than 40% in 2014 of the searches from 2004, and from then on there was a recovery of these. If there is an analysis of an accumulated tendency of Google seasonal searches, it would be possible to observe how in the months of December and January there is a slow reduction on the searches related to the illness; while in September there´s an important increase that almost duplicates the searches of a common month. We have to keep in mind that September 12th celebrates the day of Alzheimer, which it explains why there are more searches in this month, in comparison to the rest of the year. Furthermore, we also have to remember that one of the principal problems
Two are the most frequent postures that families usually have, regarding the memory problems of the elderly. The first is to worry, and take it to a consultation even when it´s a common loss, due to aging, this would be more a preventive intervention in which the specialist should analyze and determine, if it is a real case of early stage of Alzheimer or not. The second, is maybe the most common, to understand that aging is gradually and changing the abilities of the person, and for so we don´t have to pay much attention, justifying the vagueness and not taking it to consultation. The middle position would be for me, the most convenient, is the same that we use for prevention in determined cancers, as the breast cancer. An annual test can help for the detection of this illness in early stages. The tests, nowadays don´t take more than 20 minutes, and they are useful to if there is a serious memory problem or not. If the results are negative, and there is no memory problem, you can wait until next year to get tested again. But if there are levels below the expected, with a poorer result, is time to start exploring other possibilities to determine if there is an Alzheimer´s disease or not. We have to keep in mind that aging and the way in which this affects the person, is not always the same. If people of sixty some, can behave and have abilities of a person of eighty, or vice versa. The motive is still unknown for the science, we can suppose that the educational level met during life, the intensity of work, or the daily exercises like reading, writing or singing can help and prevent the normal aging. And in light of this, we have to detect if there exist a worsening of their skills and not so much as a matter of age group.
Following, there are medical tests more common used for the early detection of Alzheimer, with the only intention that if a person has to go over any of these, he/she would know exactly what´s the test about. Some can be known or at least heard of, and some others can be unknown, but with all of them, the aim is to establish the right diagnosis, to know what´s happening to the patient. *Neurological Tests like the M.R. or P.E.T. (Positron emission Tomography), studies by which we can detect injuries in the form and structure of the cerebral tissue. *Urine and blood tests, to discard that the symptoms are because of a different illness. The doctor can suggest to have any of these tests or others, based the age range or personal or family background history, that can give the doctor indications of treating a person with the risk of suffering from a specific type of Alzheimer´s disease. <<Several types of complementary tests are used (analysis, imaging tests, etc.) to discard reversible potential dementias. If the evaluation is about the stage of the disease, several scales are used for cognitive, behavioral and functional disorders respectively.>> State Reference Centre for the Care of Persons with Alzheimer’s Disease and other Dementias of Spain (CRE Alzheimer)
Juan Moisés De la Serna
added 36 research items
The E.I. is an element that requires a certain level of development, given by the experience and what they learn from what happens to other people. Meaning, you learn by adjusting the way of expressing what’s felt in any given situation, but as a previous step to comprehend and understand personal emotions, an adequate development of the Theory of Mind is required. The Theory of Mind refers to a phenomenon that was believed to be exclusive of the human race compared to other animal species, that’s why a person is able of understanding that everyone has their own taste and way of thinking, helping when predicting behavior; being deceit the easiest way of evidencing this theory. If I am able of deceiving someone else, it means that I already know how the other person thinks and I just anticipate to benefit from it. A behavior that was thought be exclusive to humans, until it was proven how it was also exhibited by higher primates, closer to evolution. Currently, from zoology and biology in general, there are many examples of "tricks" within the animal kingdom, something that is not accepted by all, that is sufficient to determine that there is Theory of Mind. As we have seen, it is considered that the Theory of Mind exists when one is capable of deceiving others, either for their own benefit or to avoid any harm, but it is also accepted that such a development exists if one is able to identify when they are trying to cheat.
We have to consider that when developing E.I. it allows the person to learn about its emotional world, detecting the first symptoms of stress to put “remedy” offering a more precise emotional answer. A lack of EI, either because it has not been developed, or because it suffers from alexithymia, in both cases, it is going to favor that it does not know how to adequately respond to external demands, which can lead to psychological disorders associated with the management of inadequate emotions. Stress is at the base of anxiety disorder, something that with an adequate development of the I.E. It should not cause greater effects since you can learn to handle stressful situations, to turn that into an adequate response. Likewise, the frustration of an inadequate emotional world, or of an emotion that overflows the person, can plunge it into a deep sadness, and lead to a major depressive disorder. Something that, with an adequate emotional development, will allow the individual to request help from relatives and even the specialist when the one who suffers it is aware that the sadness that lives is too intense. The development of the I.E. will allow preventing these mood disorders, while training techniques in I.E. They are used as a therapeutic complement to the treatment of these emotional disorders. Next, how mood disorders are related to the I.E., all exemplified by the latest research conducted in this field.
Interview with D. Bruno Moioli Montenegro, Expert-Trainer on E.I., Executive Psychologist, Speaker, and Author, who explains the training in E.I. -When does a person need to train in E.I.? Since the beginning of the life of any person the close models are going to influence the competence acquisition, but if it's done in a conscious, even programmed way, for example, through the education system, these are going to internalize more easily and will help to build the personality and assertive behaviors. By pointing out factors that indicate the need for their training, I would say that when there is an important and maintained vital and professional dissatisfaction, when the person is not good at resolving conflicts or adapting to their environment, etc. Likewise, in adult life these competencies and skills can be specifically trained, sometimes they are part of therapeutic treatment packages, in Health Psychology and in Clinical Psychology, which help to an in-depth knowledge and personal management. In the last decades in the world of the company, it has become frequent to provide specific training to resource professionals in E.I.
Juan Moisés De la Serna
added 40 research items
Family has a major part both in the early detection of the symptoms that can lead to depression and in its treatment, in this chapter we present keys and tips to better care for the depressed patient. We may have all experienced a day when we feel down, tired, like we have lost our strength, and the situation may last for a few days before we return to our routine. Even if this has been caused by an important external reason such as the loss of a loved one, or intense stress, it is considered a part of the natural adaptation process, but when there is no apparent cause, or it's been an excessive amount of time since the triggering event, and the person can't get over it and restart normal activity, it may be a case of major depression. This will require a proper diagnosis, so the specific treatment can be implemented; the family will have a meaningful role to help in the differential diagnosis (from diseases with similar symptoms), and also helping the patient to follow and complete the treatment because he/she will not be motivated enough to take over the situation and make an effort to succeed. It is important that the person who takes care of a depressed patient takes care of himself too, to prevent the caretaker's syndrome; in this chapter we will mention tips to better take care of a depressed person, and to avoid said syndrome. It is fundamental to know the relative closer to the patient, for he/she can let us know when the symptoms started and their severity. The goal is to gather information unobtainable through another source, considering that in most cases the patient is not very cooperative and tends to minimize the symptoms. A vital piece of information, to get a clear diagnosis, is whether we're dealing with an isolated event or a problem that has been present throughout the patient's life; in other words, that the person is poorly motivated, in addition of symptoms like reluctance and motor slowdown, ruling out dysthymia, that has more to do
The treatment of major depression in adults can be complicated, so every therapeutic and psychotropic therapy available is needed to accomplish it. Among the psychological therapies used are: • Cognitive psychotherapies, oriented to provide the tools needed to face every day necessities, and to fight negative thoughts about oneself, the world around us or the future (pillars of depressive thinking). • Behavioral psychotherapies, focused to increase the patient’s activity, granting satisfactory experiences, thus elevating his/her self-esteem and feeling of independence; in the same way they involve relaxation techniques to control stress. ¬ • Psychoanalysis, as a method of self-discovery, exploring the traumas responsible for the symptoms of dysthymia. According to this school, dysthymia has its origins in the relationships established in the earliest stages of life. In addition, these psychotherapies are usually accompanied with pharmacological treatment, supervised by a doctor, where antidepressants are prescribed, and some patients may need them for life. • Correlation between physical exercise and depression The ability of physical activity to enhance personal wellness, both physical and mental, has been long proved. Patients with mild-moderate depression, a program of exercises of medium intensity, of 40 to 45 minutes, 2 to 3 times a week over a period of 10 to 12 weeks, could find a clear improvement in their depressive symptoms, but what’s the real effectiveness of exercise in depression?
Depression origins habitually imply factors such as genetics, physiology, personal and also environmental, which we exemplify with current research about them: • Genetic factors One of the biggest concerns of parents is with regard of the health of their children, especially mental health, when they have suffered themselves. Parents who have suffered some kind of psychological are often quite afraid their children may go through what they’ve been through, both in terms of diseases, diagnosis and treatment. Even though not all mental affections have a high degree of heritability, the percentage of cases where a child may express a psychopathology increases in case one of the parents have suffered from it. This can be explained by the environment, if not by a genetic base, in this case the familiar environment in which the child develops, who may have been a “witness” of acute episodes of the illness of one of the parents, and these became “models”. Likewise, a person with a psychopathology may not be the most suitable and “healthy” for a child, and all of this can turn into the seed for a future psychopathology when the kid grows. There are cases where parents suffer from anxiety or major depression and it’s been proven that their children have significantly higher risk of suffering these psychological diseases. In other words, the children of anxious parents show higher levels of anxiety -reaching pathological levels-, and equally those of depressed parents can even grow to suffer MDD…but up to what point can a parent spot the presence of his same symptoms in his child?
Juan Moisés De la Serna
added 7 research items
One of the periods of humans life when there are major hormonal changes, physiological or even anatomical is during puberty-coinciding with the beginning of the reproductive stage-which will be maintained throughout adulthood until ending in menopause or male menopause, depending on the woman or the man. A lot of changes regarding the rest of biological cycles that will accompany us during the whole life are going to be discussed next. In early adolescence, one of the most surprising and striking cycles-which occurs approximately every twenty-eight days-is the menarche in women (first episode of vaginal bleeding of menstrual origin), the menstrual cycle or female sexual cycle. In this cycle, aimed to enable pregnancy, there are four clearly differentiated stages: menstruation or menstrual bleeding, pre-ovulation or follicular phase, ovulation and post-ovulation phase. A cycle with duration of approximately twenty-eight days; a figure that may be familiar, perhaps when remembered a similar one: The lunar month or lunation. This relationship between the menstrual and lunar cycles has been gathered among the beliefs and traditions of different cultures throughout history. The cycle of ovulation can vary, be enlarged or cut by the presence of internal or external agents. Among them it is interesting to mention some diseases, the stress or emotional problems that can produce hormonal imbalances. Among external agents such as luminosity or temperature, perhaps the most surprising is the one called McClintock effect, whose name was attributed to its discoverer, also known as Menstrual Synchrony.
By approaching local changes, we cannot forget to comment on one of the most astounding phenomena within animal species: Migration. It is still more surprising when this phenomenon repeats year by year, becoming cyclical or seasonal, in which hundreds or thousands of individuals of the same species meet and begin a long journey, using the same routes that have already been used by their parents, and formerly by their parent's parents; and then, after a while starting the way back, returning again to the original point. There are several reasons for migration of this size: for reproductive purposes (caused by lack of food), appearance of predators which endanger the survival of the species and even to avoid extreme seasonal temperatures. Among the most surprising migratory animals are the monarch butterflies (Danaus plexipus) due to the long distance covered by crossing the USA from Canada to Mexico when the cold starts, and then returning in the spring, crossing in total almost five thousand kilometers; almost half of the gray whale's journey (Eschrichtius robustus), crossing from the Arctic to the Mexican Pacific and traveling about twelve thousand kilometers; although the animal that travels the most for migration is that of the arctic tern (Sterna paradisaea), able to cross the globe from pole to pole, traveling distances that surpass seventy thousand kilometers each year. A behavior similar to that was observed by the first settlers who were basically nomadic, moving from place to place in search of migratory hunting, water or better temperatures conditions, to return when the seasonal conditions allowed them to move on. Most of humanity left behind this type of life more than 10,000 years ago, thanks to the development of agriculture and the domestication of animals. In spite of which, there are still existing villages scattered around the world, which continue to move in search of food and better climatic conditions, among these
Nature has a great influence on life, perhaps more than we have realized so far. To know really how it affects, firstly, you have to know about its cycles, ranging from the shortest to the longest: circadian (24 hours), lunar (29 days), seasonal (4 seasons) and annual (365 days). Each of these has an effect on the body, especially in the endocrine system, responsible for the segregation of hormones, which directly affect the mood and are involved among others functions as important as growth, all this being reflected on humor and concentration, which in turn will affect intellectual performance and social relations. Hence the importance of knowing them and taking them into account, because the passage of time is not only limited to "bring us" the cold when the fall begins, far beyond that, being able to makes us suffer serious diseases such as seasonal depression and so on. Nevertheless, as if it was not enough, besides being affected by the external changes of nature, that is, by the extrinsic rhythms; we are also influenced by internal rhythms of the organism, called endogenous, that is, within each person, there is a series of processes that repeat and occur in a cyclical way-also with a great influence on performance and social relationships. The branch of science that is in charge of studying them is called Chronobiology. Perhaps, the most obvious internal rhythm, coinciding with that of the day-night cycle, is that of 24-hour sleep-wake; in fact, the jet lag phenomenon, already explained, is a clear example that we have "something" inside that causes the "rhythm" to take place irrespective of the weather, and when it is moved, changes in the ratio day-night take place, bringing some adjustment effects. Although there were experiences of jet lag since from the very beginning of traveling, its effects became more evident as the air and locomotion means were improved, approaching localities that could previously take days and even weeks
Juan Moisés De la Serna
added 4 research items
The implementation of lockdown has proved to be one of the most high-profile and unpopular measures ever, and never more so when, for the first time in history, the Chinese government closed down one of its provinces, preventing the free movement of its inhabitants, and dictating that they remain locked in their homes, only to be allowed out to get food for themselves. These were unprecedented measures to date, but they were justified by the health authorities as a way to combat the spread of COVID-19, thereby reducing the possibility of infecting other people. Furthermore, in this way the rest of the country was ‘protected’ from the spread of the disease. A method which was also adopted by Italy when the number of infected rose uncontrollably, and later in many other countries, to a lesser or greater degree. Putting ourselves, for a moment, in the position of somebody in that particular locality, we realise that, overnight, measures have been put in place limiting our movements and confining us to our own home for days and days, without knowing for how long the situation will last, and even if the measures will prove effective. Furthermore, only those with financial resources or who work online will avoid the dilemma which others face, when their money runs out and they are unable to work because everything is closed. But this is the situation which millions of inhabitants have confronted for months, with the added uncertainty of not knowing how the virus is transmitted or whether they themselves are infected or not. An ongoing stressful situation which, dependent upon each individual’s psychological makeup, will affect each one differently, and which, in some cases, will have medium to long term consequences which will continue after lockdown is over. It is therefore predicted that a greater number of cases of depression or post -traumatic stress disorder will occur in this population, compared to those who did not have to undergo home confinement. Similar was observed in 2003, amongst those who isolated in cases of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, which is from the same family as the coronavirus, and which causes severe pneumonia (Luna, 2020). Recommendations are therefore being made by international agencies and professional associations of psychologists, for the preservation of the mental health of those who have to be confined to their homes for months.
One of the biggest problems facing the authorities is in how to manage the population, whilst also complying with recommendations and guidelines for the control of the health crisis, with the minimum amount of infections and deaths. Historically there are countries which have suffered more due to public health problems. In Asian and African countries, for example, there have been several outbreaks of varying severity, so in these countries the population is more aware of the importance of compliance with government measures, and they are better prepared for coping with a disease than those countries who have not suffered a health emergency for a long time. Regarding the measures recommended by the WHO to deal with the spread of COVID-19, a series of suggestions have been made that have been circulated by governments to their citizens as measures to prevent the spread of the virus and thereby try to control the number affected (@minsalud, 2020) (See Illustration 15). Although these measures are presented as basic and essential, they do not take into account a phenomenon widely recognised as the IKEA effect. This is whereby the consumer feels better and more fulfilled if they carry out certain actions at a medium level of difficulty, e.g. assembling a prefabricated wardrobe, following the included instructions. This phenomenon was discovered in joint research undertaken by Harvard Business School, Yale University and Duke University (Norton, Mochon & Ariely, 2012), in an attempt to analyse why companies like IKEA had been so successful in recent years. After checking a multitude of variables, the researchers realised that a client’s involvement in the ‘construction’ tasks via the assembly of elements according to a predetermined diagram, seems to create a certain degree of personal satisfaction for having completed a creative activity. In order to prove this, the researchers used various tasks in which volunteers participated. The participants were then asked to financially evaluate the final product for each of the assigned tasks, whether they were those closest to the ‘normal’ IKEA type of activity, like putting a box together, or others, like making a paper figure using the technique of Origami.
One may speak of a personal or a social crisis. A personal crisis takes place when an internal or external circumstance occurs which changes the manner in which an individual perceives their own present, future and even past, making them question either their own role in life, or all their thoughts and beliefs up to that particular moment. Such is the case when a family member, particularly a close one, dies, or an accident occurs, with associated health or autonomy implications. One may also face a crisis due to emotional issues, such as the breakdown of a relationship, or the divorce of one’s parents as a teenager. From a psychological perspective, such crises are viewed as being caused by the effect of many different circumstances upon an individual. But then there are the social crises, as in the cases of humanitarian crises, where millions of people abandon all they have and flee towards an uncertain future. Likewise, economic crises, where thousands of people lose their jobs overnight and with them their incomes, putting both their own survival and those of their loved ones at risk (@NTN24ve, 2018) (See Illustration 1). Included in this type of crisis are those related to health, in which a disease may put at risk the life of an individual who, a few days earlier was perfectly healthy. Pandemics and health emergencies may be included in this category, as in the case of COVID-19, a disease that has mobilized thousands of doctors and health personnel who struggle daily, even risking their own lives, in mitigating the effects of the virus, Whilst the media often affords the most visibility to numbers of cases and deaths, such information being provided from different governments and the webpage of the WHO (World Health Organisation), the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at John Hopkins University, USA (John Hopkins, CSSE, 2020) reports, numerically and visually, the numbers of cases, deaths and recoveries, both for each individual country and worldwide.
Juan Moisés De la Serna
added 4 research items
Although the confinement may be one of the most mediatic and even unpopular measures, especially when, for the first time in history, the Chinese government closed down one of its provinces, preventing the free movement of its inhabitants, and ruling that they be locked in their homes, allowing them to go out only to get food. An unprecedented situation to the date, but which is justified by the health authorities as a way to combat the expansion of COVID-19 and thereby reduce the possibility of infecting others, a measure that to a greater or lesser degree has been adopted by many countries when the number of its infected citizens has been growing uncontrollably, from a few cases to hundreds or thousands. A home confinement that has been preceded by the closure of educational centres and making the positions to allow it to adapt by working remotely so that economic activity was maintained as much as possible. On the other hand, and while the majority of citizens remain at home, health personnel are called and even recruited to attend to the growing number of cases that occurred in the first days, with which is pretended to avoid the broken of the health system. But despite the fact that these personnel have not been confined and therefore have not been exposed to suffer the effects of said confinement, they are not strange to the situation, seeing how family members and friends cannot leave and in some cases they may be suffering from shortages if they have not had the opportunity to adapt to teleworking.
At this time, a distinction must be made between the professional and the person (father / mother, wife, brother / sister, son / daughter ...), that is, when we refer to health personnel, whether they are doctors or nurses, we must not forget that they are people performing a qualified position, but who "feel and suffer" like any other, both within their work and outside of it. Thus, they themselves may be concerned about the possibility of getting sick, or that a relative or close friend does it, that, in addition to developing their functions in the health center, they will be aware of their loved ones, that they are well and not that they lack of anything, and if someone becomes ill, they will ensure that they are properly cared for, just as anyone does. In addition, the concern may be greater because they know that being more exposed to the virus, they are more likely to contract it at some point, as they have seen that happens to other colleagues and in other health centres, such in Spain, as of April 11, 2020, there were already 25,000 health professionals infected by COVID-19 (@OMC_Espana, 2020a) (see Illustration 28).
Before going deeper about the psychological and emotional impact of COVID-19 on Healthcare Personnel, this work must be contextualized within the framework of a pandemic that affects globally and without precedent in modern history. It has been putting in check to each one of the health systems as it has affected the population. Despite seeing its consequences in China, where it began, sometimes, until the first cases were counted in each territory, the governments did not begin to take measures in this regard. A chronology that has barely started a few months ago and that has been affecting more and more countries. The first cases were imported, by citizens from affected areas, who have unknowingly spread the virus around the world. A situation in which each government have taken different measures, but in all cases, the fight for the eradication of the virus has been in charge of Health Personnel yet at risk of their own lives in the caring of patients who came requiring health care, many times, with urgency.
Juan Moisés De la Serna
added a project goal
This section includes all the publications in English of my authorship or co-authorship from the field of psychology and neuroscience.