Bed Bug PTSD: Anxiety May Linger After Pests Leave
the MPR take:
Having your dwelling infested with bed bugs isn’t just an inconvenience with the extensive cleaning of all clothing and linens that could be hoarding the insects. In one study, Stéphane Perron from the University of Montreal administered questionnaires to tenants in several Montreal apartment buildings with reported bed bugs; the tenants with bed bugs were far more likely to report issues with anxiety and sleep disturbances vs. those without. Jerome Goddard and colleagues at Mississippi State University analyzed posts on bed bug-related, comparing them against a checklist of symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Of the individuals writing posts, 81% described psychological and emotional effects often associated with the disorder, including hypervigilance, paranoia, obsessive thoughts, and depression. However, in these studies the mental health of the participants prior to bed bug infestations was unknown. In one case study published by Perron, a woman with a prior history of mental illness got bed bugs and eventually committed suicide, with the bed bugs as a major life event that could have increased her risk of suicide. As long as bed bugs continue to invade living quarters, research is needed to better understand the lingering psychological impact and effect on those with existing risk factors for mental illness.
Right now, everything I own is in garbage bags piled up in the middle of my kitchen and bathroom and filling my shower. It's been that way for a week and a half and will continue to be so for at least another week on top of that.
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