What happens to mental disorders during war?

Updated: Aug 23

War is a great upheaval for the human psyche, and it affects everyone differently. Videos have become popular on social networks, where people who previously had suicidal tendencies now want to live, and people with anxiety do not panic even during sirens.

How exactly does war affect people with pre-existing mental health problems?

As psychologists note, there are two options for the development of events. Some people who have previously had mental disorders may actually feel like they have been cured. They can fall into a so-called stupor, when it seems that nothing is happening to them emotionally, as if they do not feel anything. In this state, it may seem as if the mental problems have disappeared. As if everything that was before remained there. It can also happen that a person seems to be "getting together" and holding himself in his hands. She stops paying attention to her psychological problems, because her main task is to survive.

However, psychologists now notice from practice that there are more cases when mental disorders, on the contrary, worsen. Stressful events aggravate not only our chronic diseases, but also psychological problems. People who have experienced depressive states and have not undergone treatment have exacerbations. Those who used to have high anxiety now worry many times more. This can be seen in children who also experience the stressful situation of war and their behavioral problems worsen: they can be more aggressive towards loved ones or, on the contrary, become very withdrawn, hyperactivity can increase, new fears appear and those that which were This can also be seen in relationships with relatives: if there were misunderstandings before, now the relationship can become even more conflictual due to the fear of each family member.

What forms do mental disorders take?

Even if it seems to you now that the war cured you of mental disorders, this is not entirely true. In fact, any trigger situation can re-inflame the problem that was there. Therefore, it is especially important for such people to continue to monitor their condition and analyze their emotions, because everything can return very quickly and in an even worse state. Unfortunately, we cannot avoid triggers now. Sirens, shelling are in almost every city and we can't control it or avoid it. Therefore, now taking care of your psychological state is about understanding how I feel now, how I can help myself at this moment, how to create a safe (if possible) space for myself. Talk about your feelings with loved ones and friends either live or in correspondence; warm yourself with hot tea and warm food, warm clothes: this reduces body tremors. Reduce the amount of news you watch per day.


If you feel that your condition is worsening or some new problems are developing in your relationships with loved ones, you should seek professional help. Now there are many free opportunities to get counseling from a psychotherapist or psychiatrist. Do not be silent about your condition and keep your psychological front.