How COVID vaccines have affected Mainers’ mental health

For the first time since the outbreak of the pandemic, people are feeling more comfortable after taking the shot.

PORTLAND, Maine – As more and more people are eligible for a COVID vaccine or a booster dose, psychologists are beginning to notice a trend.

Dr. Colin Cera said that in addition to the vaccine’s physical protection, many of her patients see benefits from it for their mental health.

“COVID has put anyone who takes it seriously in a state of chronic nervous system dysfunction,” Serra said. “Essentially, our nervous system works to keep us safe. So whenever we encounter something…threatening or dangerous, our stress response is interrupted. This is necessary when we are faced with acute and imminent danger, but when our nervous system never has a chance to stop and reset — as it is. Being in the middle of a global pandemic spanning more than 18 months — it can wreak havoc on our minds, bodies and spirits.”

“Constant worrying about the health and safety of the people we love and ourselves has been Unbelievably Taxing, Serra said, saturating the bloodstream with chemicals that become toxic when the nervous system is constantly imploding. So when someone is vaccinated and believes (as the data shows) they don’t now have to worry about hospitalization or death — that COVID has now been reduced to a bad flu, a bad cold, or maybe even no symptoms at all — that relief real. It’s real emotional because it’s chemically real, too.”

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She said there was a transformation in her patients after they received their vaccine.

While watching case numbers rise across the country due to the delta variable, many vaccinators seem relieved to know they are better protected.

“Our nervous system finally has the ability to let our guard down, stop and reset, giving our bodies a chance to recover and eventually recover from more than 18 months of toxic anxiety and chronic stress,” Serra said.

“This trend will continue for anyone who gets vaccinated and understands and listens to the science/experts about the real COVID risks and safety and benefits of vaccines. For these people, the vaccine is an absolute gift, allowing people to take a deep deep breath for the first time in a long time.”

On the flip side, there are still many people who worry about the side effects of a vaccine or don’t like being told by employers or government mandates what to do.

For them, Serra said, “For people who get vaccinated because of a commitment or because of a mandate, and who don’t believe the science/experts, who don’t take the coronavirus and/or the vaccine seriously, we will probably see no improvement or regression in mental health.” for these people.”

She explained that their mental health will likely improve once they see or feel the benefits of their vaccine, for example, when they are exposed to someone at work, and they don’t have to quarantine because of it, or if they contract COVID and have more mild symptoms or no symptoms at all.

For better details on COVID vaccines from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, click here.

To learn more about Dr. Colin Cera and Cera Center for Behavioral Health, click here.

RELATED: Everything you need to know about COVID-19 and the vaccine in Maine

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