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Pandemic travel bans prompt depression

happy meme depression

Travel restrictions that include a virtual ban on motorcycle riding could lead to a rapid increase in anxiety and depression that outlasts the pandemic, according to data and analytics company GlobalData.

The company says the enforced social isolation rules, along with the death threat from Covid-19 and financial disruption are a catalyst for the increased prevalence of mental disorders such as depression across a variety of age groups.

GlobalData pharma analyst Magdalene Crabbe says sales of drugs for psychiatric disorders such as depression, anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder are expected to reach $US27.4bn (about $A45bn) this year, up $717m from the previous year.

The effects could continue long after the coronavirus pandemic, she says.

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Pandemic of depressionDrugs depression

“Sales are then expected to increase from $27.4bn in 2020 to $40.9bn in 2025, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 8.4%,” she says.

Allowing people to pursue a select group of solo and duo pastimes and therapies will go a long way to helping alleviate anxiety and depression.

“Personalised treatment strategies are important for treating psychiatric disorders, which may be exacerbated by the Covid-19 crisis,” she says. 

“It is important that people realise that depending on pharmaceutical drugs is not necessarily the solution to the negative impact that Covid-19 will have on people’s mental health.”

Happy riders

Clubs Sharon Ledger peer
Sharon Ledger

Psychologist and reborn rider Sharon Ledger says riding makes people feel happy because of the release of certain chemicals in the brain.

“There are more than 10,000 chemical reactions going on in the brain every second,” she says.

“The chemicals that make you feel happy – oxytocin, dopamine, endorphin and serotonin – are produced by the endocrine system.

“Not all of these chemicals are released at the same time and each has a different outcome.

“However, more of these chemicals are produced when we look forward to doing something we enjoy; we get up early, we go outside in the sunshine and fresh air, we challenge ourselves, we meditate, we concentrate on an activity that requires skill and generally do things that motivate us.

“That pretty much sounds like motorcycling to me,” she says.

Let’s hope it’s not long before we can again experience that happy feeling.

If you are experiencing mental issues, call Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636, or Lifeline Australia on 131114.

  1. Completely agree, let’s get over this as quickly as we can and return to normal.

  2. I have been making enquiries with the NSW Gov re the implications on Veterans such as myself who have service related PTSD. The NSW and Commonwealth Health Departments and Commonwealth Guidelines for the Pandemic all include motorcycling as does every other state except NSW as an exercise activity and is therefore permitted. The NSWHWP have indicated that they do not differentiate between cars and bike as to why when other states do, I have not received an answer to.
    However I suggest it may have to do with the NSW Premier giving full control to the Police, who only look at the law enforcement aspect of the guidelines and have no interest in an holistic approach to address issues such as mental health and people’s isolation.

    1. I do and don’t agree Toby. Yes, there are some that are carrying out their duties with gusto, however, they are also just following orders from their superiors. There are many emergency service workers who are afflicted with PTSD and have colleagues that are also affected (as I am one) We totally understand how it affects one’s mental health with the current restrictions in place it is hard on all. But, it’s not just motorcyclists don’t forget and it’s not just NSW Police who have control – all the other states are under constant review by the Police. It has been only a month of this so far and I hate to imagine what it will be like in another.

      We are all doing it tough at the moment – at least we have computers and social media to help with communication, I can only think of what the ANZAC’s endured when captured.

      1. I’d like to add a supporting comment to what John said. Firstly I agree that motorcycle riding can – and in fact is – a form of release for many. A way of getting away from daily stresses and a way of working through things for people with PTSD and other things that affect our mental health. I went through a year of hell after a meltdown about 11 years ago, and getting on a motorcycle was one of the things that helped me. So was going to the gym.

        Right now we are in unchartered waters. Very few of us have ever experienced anything like this, with most of having many of the things we have taken for granted now restricted and we are unable to do them. Hopping on the bike and going for a pleasure run through the hills is one of them, and of course all the gyms are closed as well. That takes away some of our coping mechanisms, I get that. And I feel for those who find riding a form of release and a way of dealing with the dreaded Black Dog.

        But we need to look at why these restrictions are in place, and it is for the benefit of the greater community so that this can all be over as soon as possible. In that way Australia seems to be doing very well.

        The same travel restrictions are actually being applied to all – whether you are in a car or on a motorcycle. There is NOT a ban on motorcycle riding as such, there is a restriction on non-essential travel.

        But sadly I’ve seen so many individuals, and people in the media, singling out motorcyclists saying we’re so hard done by and that the Police are picking on us. And as for saying that motorcycling is a form of exercise, well that’s a bit if a stretch really! I know the QLD Health Minister did say that, but he was overuled by a more recent CHO directive. We might burn a few more calories when we ride than when we drive the car, but really it doesn’t compare to going for a walk, even a gentle one.

        So Toby, since your comment was made on the 8th many things have changed. I don’t believe NSW is any harder done by than any other state.

        COVID-19 doesn’t discriminate, neither does PTSD or mental health issues. Emergency workers like John and health care workers are particulary at risk, and I feel for them.

        At this time we all need to put the spoilt brat in us to bed and realise that we’re all in this together, and to be there for each other.

  3. The problem with the “travel restrictions” is that the NSW Premier gave all power to the police without thinking about the heavy handedness of many police officers. Give someone a bit of power and the old quote becomes real, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”.

  4. here we go again another article that will be full of people justifying why they should be an exception to current lockdown laws. Firstly NO State has banned riding a motorbike to work, to the shops, to the doctors (ie legal reason to be out of house). Some (maybe all) States have banned driving a car or riding a bike anywhere that is not deemed essential (eg going to work). The whole idea is to get people to STAY AT HOME. Yes for some people it may be a mental release to go for a long ride on their bike, however that is in normal circumstances. At present these are different times so going for that long ride is not an option so those who require the mental release need to find some alternate. The police (as medical staff) in every State are under extreme pressure and having to deal with both Govt “rules” that vary often plus a small but loud group of the public who believe they should be exempt from the rules.

    If you want to think the only reason NSW Police (or any police force) enforce covid laws is to make money and be pricks then thats your choice, it is devoid of reality, but your free to think that way.

    As regards to comment by Toby Bateman “The NSW and Commonwealth Health Departments and Commonwealth Guidelines for the Pandemic all include motorcycling as does every other state except NSW as an exercise activity” – please provide links to your info from NSW Health or Aust Govt Dept Health – because it does not appear anywhere these sites from what I read that riding a motor bike is an acceptable excuse / exercise. Both sites mention bicycles as a form of exercise, neither mention motorbikes.

    In regard to “every other state except NSW as an exercise activity” – no they do not, as example is here directive from Qld Govt – as you see going for a long drive or ride is NOT defined as acceptable.
    “Essential road user means a person to whom the following paragraphs (a) to (d) applies:
    The person is required to leave their place of residence to:
    perform work or volunteering or carry out or conduct an essential business, activity or undertaking; or
    to comply with or give effect to the exercise of a power or function of a government agency or entity under a law;
    The person’s work, business activity or undertaking to be performed is of a nature that cannot reasonably be performed from the person’s place of residence;
    The person cannot reasonably return to their place of residence, business, work or undertaking to partake in a meal; and
    It is reasonably necessary for the person to utilise the facilities of the truck driver rest facility to undertake fatigue management breaks.”


  5. I can see where people are coming from, but one aspect that hasn’t been examined greatly is the rationale for some of these restrictions. I have left my BMW K1300S stationary in the garage as asked. I have ridden the Vespa to work (before I was able to work from home) and to the shops as I always do as it is transport – practical transport. What I find frustrating is that I am allowed to go and ride my bicycle on the road for hours at a time for exercise – and I have, as a release from doing Zoom meetings from the spare bedroom all day. Riding the bicycle is OK, but presumably if I did the same ride on the BMW, this is illegal despite wearing a full face helmet and protective gear and not stopping anywhere along the way. The only difference I can see is the argument that the motorcycle has to be refuelled at some stage and the bicycle does not, although I could go for quite a few rides with over 400km range from a tankful.

    I don’t see this as a discrimination thing, just a policy made on the run without much logic being applied. If a family in a car was to do a round trip drive without stopping for food or fuel it would be exactly the same thing, with ZERO increased risk to anyone else. It should be allowed.

    The problem for the Police would then be ascertaining who is doing a round trip without a stop and who is going to be heading into the roadside servo with 3 screaming children touching everything. I suspect this is why Governments have applied blanket rules – it’s simply easier and politically expedient, even though it makes no sense medically.

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