In the eye of the storm: Use of Mental Health and Psychoneuroimmunology as Vaccines in Handling the COVID19 Crisis in Pakistan
In the troubling times that we are living in at present, mental health and the concept of Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) has gained even greater importance for the community than ever before. Knowing that emotional states can affect immunity is crucial in times when the Covid 19 outbreak is creating panic, fear, stress and loneliness, as much as potential physical morbidity, and mortality.
Amidst the debate: mind or body, it is irrefutable that the brain is a powerful organ and essentially controls all functions in the body. Our brain is known to also control our neurohumoral mechanisms that influence our immune system. This is called psychoneuroimmunology or PNI. Evidence shows that psychosocial adversity, and negative emotions can affect the brain and in turn, weaken the immune system, thus, increasing the susceptibility to diseases, particularly those challenging our immunological status1. The PNI paradigm suggests that health is multifactorial2. Any treatment, in order to be effective must include the ‘psyche’ of the person, as it will determine either the strengthening of the immune system or the weakening of its response3.