The study found that 48 percent of women and 39 percent of men have gained weight during the outbreak, while sleep disorders and headaches have become a common experience for many.
Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, people's lifestyles, social lives and habits around the world have undergone serious changes.
As in many countries, people in Turkey have been greatly affected by the pandemic in a psychological way. According to a recent survey, almost half of people in Turkey are struggling with excess weight. But that is not all: sleep disorders and headaches also began to increase in Turkish society during the pandemic-induced lockdown periods.
The survey, conducted in January by Turkey’s governing Justice and Development Party (AK Party), revealed that the outbreak has also changed people’s habits in the country.
It found that only 8 percent of participants had lost weight, while 48 percent of females and 39 percent of males expressed that they had indeed experienced the opposite and gained it instead.
According to senior psychologist and psychotherapist Esra Oras, many of our compulsive emotions and internal tensions have been triggered. In our routine ‘old’ busy lives, we were managing to balance or, indeed, suppress them.
Talking to TRT World, Oras said: “People’s deepest concerns about death, loneliness and responsibilities have surfaced. Moreover, these concerns were kept awake day by day through existing social policies and the media so that we could continue on a sufficiently cautious path.”
“By being stranded at home with all these concerns and tensions has moved the process to a more difficult point, as it has also increased family crises. The inability to express and balance all these emotions triggered by this difficult process must have paved the way for various physical ailments, such as headaches,” Oras added.
The survey also revealed that the number of people across Turkish society using vitamin pills and nutritional supplements had increased to 12 percent in January from 4 percent in October last year.
The study highlighted that from the start of the pandemic, the most common complaints were sleep disorders and headaches. The main reason behind headaches is believed to be closely related to a lack of sleep, even though many people have been forced to work from home.
Overall, the results revealed the pessimism that has grown across Turkish society about life returning to ‘normal’.
Last May, a survey showed 64 percent of Turks believed the country would overcome the pandemic in a year. However, the AK Party-conducted survey revealed that only 24 percent now believe the outbreak would be over within a year.
According to Oras, recent research shows the pandemic has also heightened anxiety.
“We observe that the pandemic is completely controlled by anxiety. Increasing and triggering our anxiety of this degree has brought many people to or close to the level of anxiety disorder. Moreover, we became more depressed with social isolation,” she explains.
Commenting further on the increasing pessimism of people during the pandemic, Oras tells TRT World that a person first denies what they are not familiar with, then objects and tries to fight, then eventually accepts.
"We acclimatise ourselves to the worst, so as not to be disappointed. This is what people have been forced to do so," she says
“Obviously, it's certain that heightened psychological symptoms wake people up about their own lives and feelings."
Amid the crisis, Oras highlights that the pandemic has also forced us to grapple with self-reflection and contemplate new ideas that could stimulate societal progress.
“The anxiety pandemic will continue after the current process, but maybe we might need such sharp moments to understand what we need to change in our lives.”
“Eventually, I think that the already growing need for psychological support will increase even more, but this will lead to social change. Not just in Turkey, but across the whole world."