The Psychological Effects of Bed Bugs: How to Cope With an Infestation
January 1, 2021
What begins as a small bite can quickly turn into outright warfare for your comfort, safety, and peace of mind. Those dealing with an active bed bug infestation have plenty to think about, and while many guides and tips inform how to physically eliminate bed bugs, few guides delve into the psychological aspect of these persistent parasites.
Anyone who has had to sleep in uncomfortable surroundings and wake with painful bites can attest these tiny creatures do far more than drink your blood - they steal your peace and tranquility. While a physical bite may only be skin deep, the presence of bed bugs delves far beyond your skin, and into your psychological well-being.
A Bite Into Your Mind | The Mental Side Effects of an Infestation
Bed bug infestations are known to cultivate not only physical but also psychological discomfort. Those suffering from active infestations are clinically known to experience a wide variety of symptoms ranging from sleeplessness and anxiety - to even classic symptoms of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).
As you deal with an active infestation, the stress of such an encounter can lead to serious mental complications. Adding to the physical stress of this encounter, stresses, such as the potential loss of personal possessions, the intense urgency to prepare for treatments, and the unexpected cost of bed bug treatments, do nothing but cultivate a sense of uneasiness, fear, and anxiety.
In fact, one study found that out of 474 individuals with an active infestation, 29 percent experienced sleeplessness, 22 percent experienced emotional distress while 20 percent experienced significant anxiety. Moreover, a clinical research study published in the January 2012 edition of the American Journal of Medicine found roughly 81 percent of those with bed bug infestations reported some form of psychological effects.
How to Mentally Cope With Bed Bug Infestations
Due to the unique landscape of your mind, it's almost impossible to lay out a standard guide for mentally coping with these insistent parasites. This being noted, there are several steps you can take to ensure your mind and body remain as peaceful as possible throughout this physically and emotionally taxing encounter:
Step One | You're Not Dirty
Perhaps one of the most severe psychological effects of bed bugs is the sensation of being dirty or unhygienic. This is simply not the case. Bed bugs affect both the poor and affluent - with equal severity. Should you be suffering from an active infestation, you must remember you did not cause this by being unsanitary or "dirty." In all likelihood, you - or someone in your household - were simply at the wrong place at the wrong time. Take peace in knowing that you are not necessarily at fault.
Step Two | Prepare with Peace
It's quite easy to become overwhelmed by the amount of preparation you must make to eradicate bed bugs from your home. Whether you're dealing with a small or widespread infestation, the sudden need to completely restructure and reorganize your most intimate surroundings can be stressful. While these steps are necessary, make sure to focus on your breathing and understand life has a way of throwing curveballs at you. By actively adjusting your mental attitude toward these necessary steps, you can help avoid the stress and anxiety commonly associated with bed bug treatments.
Step Three | Take Calming Herbs
Anxiety and stress are almost unavoidable when dealing with bed bugs. In fact, some researchers find this reaction to be completely healthy. Regardless, many bed bug sufferers find their baseline anxiety levels are dramatically increased in the midst of an infestation. To help curb these undesirable thoughts and feelings, take calming herbs, such as Kava Kava, Valerian root extract, and Relora. Each of these herbs is known to reduce your stress and anxiety while calming your body's natural response to stress - such as lowering your cortisol production.
Step Four | Your Bed Is Still Your Safe Haven
Perhaps the greatest source of anxiety and sleeplessness experienced by bed bug sufferers is the alteration of safety within their bed. Many feel that this place of rest and rejuvenation is forever tainted. Once you've encased your mattress and treated your room, you must actively work to restore the peace of this prized piece of furniture. Spend time reviewing your bed - all while repeating to yourself that it is not tainted. Encourage yourself to find comfort where you once did. While you may have residual feelings of "bugs" crawling on your skin, known as Delusory Parasitosis, remind yourself that you've eliminated these creatures. Although this may be the toughest part of your recovery, it's the most important.
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