Alarming news reports are suggesting that the effects of bed bug bites are not restricted to physical symptoms alone; they are also leaving devastating psychological effects on the sufferers. Unfortunately, many people tend to turn a blind eye to these mental effects caused by bed bug bites-simply because these parasites are not known to transmit any fatal diseases. However, the lack of sleep that invariably comes from large bed bug infestations are a serious side effect-one which shouldn’t be overlooked.
More and more people are also reporting psychological effects they are seeing in their colleagues/neighbors – reports that are coming from big metros like New York and Chicago. Just recently, a woman reported seeing her neighbor looking “completely zombie-like, and who wouldn’t even wish her ‘hello’, and having bugs crawling all over his hair. He even had bloody tissues in his hands”!
So what is the reason for overlooking psychological after effects of bed bug bites?
The main reason why people tend to overlook the mental effects of bed bug infestations is that it is a huge social stigma. It is simply too embarrassing to admit having bed bugs. Often; these ideas prevent tenants from reporting bed bugs to their landlords. Some people also fear the cost of having the bed bug problem treated professionally. It is no wonder that many sufferers go the DIY way and use cheap and ineffective over-the-counter bed bug products. Not only do these not work; some are also very toxic to humans, especially to babies and elderly.
Society also frowns upon people having bed bugs in their apartments; they blame them for not keeping their homes clean. The fact is: no matter how clean your home is; it is still vulnerable to bed bugs. Bed bugs just do not care whether it is an upscale apartment, a luxurious five star resort room, or even the first class seating area of an airplane. As long as there is a steady supply of blood meal; they will continue living in these premises, hiding in cracks and crevices. They even hitchhike into homes through guests’ luggage or even our own after a vacation.
Alarming statistics related to the psychological effects of bed bugs
Some of the surveys conducted on people suffering from a bed bug infestation showed effects similar to those of Post Traumatic stress disorder or PTSD as well as delusional parasitosis. Of the surveyed 424 people living in bed bug infested quarters; nearly 29% reported sleeplessness, 22% reported emotional distress and 20% and 14% reported anxiety and stress respectively.An extreme case is of the suicide committed by a woman suffering from psychological issues and having repeat infestations.
Studies conducted by entomologists from Mississippi State University used online blogs and previously collected PTSD symptom checklists to assess postings of psychological and emotional trauma. These researchers’ analyzed nearly 145 online postings and 110 of these showed the following mental effects of bed bug infestations:
- Hypervigilance to keep bugs away
- Avoidance behaviors
- Personal dysfunction
The authors of this study concluded from these findings that almost an unknown portion of people receiving bed bug bites experienced moderate to severe mentally distressing effects. They therefore urge all homeowners fighting bed bugs to undergo a course of interactions with professional psychotherapists, and get treated with appropriate help.
Another extensive study conducted in Montreal Canada has established that those with bed bug infestations are 5 times likely to suffer from anxiety disorders while 2.5 times likely to suffer from depression.
How to avoid the physical and emotional ill effects of bed bug bites
Naturally, the best way to overcome bed bug side effects, both physical and psychological, is by using methods of ongoing elimination and diligently carrying out these methods month after month.Precautions such as the use of mattress encasements, bed bug sprays, powders and regular vacuuming and de-cluttering can be used as DIY measures. Additionally, one could benefit from professional treatments like steaming, heat treating and professional grade spraying.
Do not neglect the psychological effects of bed bug bites!
As the researchers in the Canadian study on bed bug after effects have put it: when you are dealing with an infestation, you are not sleeping for days, weeks and, in some cases, even months. All these effects naturally make you bitter, depressed, even socially withdrawn.Sufferers are even known to resort to vandalism, substance abuse or taking out their anger on loved ones and pets. If this is happening to you or someone you know-wait no more. Visit the resources provided on this site to find out how you can eliminate bed bug problem once and for all.