rpersaud10_Jorge MantillaNurPhoto via Getty Images_quarantinehomewindow Jorge Mantilla/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The Boredom Pandemic

The confinement measures aimed at controlling the spread of COVID-19 could lead to another pandemic with an even higher infection rate: a pathological form of tedium called alysosis. Recent research suggests that it can lead to risky behavior, greater impulsivity, and political extremism.

LONDON – As people around the world find themselves in confinement to control the COVID-19 pandemic, look out for another affliction with an even higher infection rate than any virus. Boredom is now a serious health risk.

Is it possible that the more preoccupied we become with the physical danger posed by the virus, the more we underestimate the mental harms produced, for example, by negative emotional states such as boredom?

Some psychoanalysts believe that boredom, if it becomes entrenched, can become a neurotic condition called “alysosis.” Historically, ennui was associated with workplace tedium. By contrast, the epidemic of monotony we are facing is an unusual variant of what psychologists call “leisure boredom.”

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