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Lockdownitis: a new word for a new illness?

21 February 2022

Here's a new word: lockdownitis. It seems like a disease and in reality today many people suffer from it, some seriously, but almost all -whether they realize they are suffering from it or do not notice it at all - are convinced that it is an emotional reaction that can be endured and controlled.

During this last year, authoritative news of scientific studies that have found an increase in mental illnesses have circulated on channels dedicated to doctors, psychiatrists and pediatricians above all, psychologists, pedagogues and education managers. This increase is exceptional as compared to previous years- especially in the less sensational forms- and includes suicides and even more of psychic discomforts of various forms, more evident in minors.

These scientific researches indicate a growing concern about the future of public mental health: the findings are referred to the isolation health measures that have been deemed necessary to contain the spread of Covid contagion, with the restrictions of social contacts of an interpersonal nature and the generalization of distance communication.

These measures, taken almost worldwide, have generated a lifestyle that promises to be irreversible beyond the medical health threat and that induces changes in the development of the brain of many individuals.

So the lockdown, together with the economic consequences, involves an insidious psychosocial syndrome, comparable to a new disease. It may therefore be useful, for a better awareness of foreseeable prospects, to propose the term lockdownite for this "epidemic". The future that lies ahead is not negligible, because of all the chain consequences that can be produced in our civilization.

Lockdownitis seems to work like a disease, and actually everyone today is infected with it: while many suffer from it slightly, or perhaps suffer from it without realizing it, as they are convinced that it is an emotional reaction – which "as such" is can endure and control.

This is an atavistic prejudice of our philosophical-religious tradition. Our contemporary man, despite being still called Homo Sapiens, is not really very wise, because he does not want to know the extent to which science has shown today that emotions and affects and feelings are formed within us independently from our will; and with this however they cannot be eliminated, but only hidden.

And that it is precisely the hidden emotions, affects and feelings, which are also inside our brain, neither more nor less than all our thoughts that govern our body as well as our mind. We cannot "drive out bad thoughts", as the prejudices of our tradition have instilled in us.

So what about "free will"? Neuroscience is investigating it: what we know for now is that this supposed mental function is not as they painted it. There are plenty of prejudices and they persist.

Further Readings

The texts n. 378 (capp.1, 2, 3, 4); n. 377 (capp.1, 2, 3, 6, 7); n.375 (capp. 4, 5, 6) to the page: All published works index of Antonio Imbasciati