No one likes to spend much time thinking about bed bugs. The idea of them crawling over our skin as we sleep can be enough to make us feel phantom legs around our ankles and send shivers up our spines. Of course, while the itchy, red bites they can cause may be the most apparent health concern, the biggest toll on our health may be mental.
Health Department studies and news stories have shown that the stress, anxiety, and lack of sleep caused by long-term bed bug infestations can lead to significant emotional and psychological problems. While bites are unpleasant, it’s not believed that they harm us long-term; the long-lasting psychological effects are more detrimental to our well-being.
Need an overview of what bed bugs are? Read our guide here.
The Mental Toll of Bed Bug Infestations
- Anxiety and Stress
Imagine having bed bugs in your home - how do you feel? Those who have experienced infestations and been forced to live with them report a constant fear of being bitten, feeling unable to relax at home and feelings of embarrassment.
- Sleep Deprivation
- Social Isolation
- Financial Strain
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Although it may seem extreme, many individuals who have experienced severe bed bug infestations develop symptoms of PTSD. A review by health entomologists of 135 online posts about infestations found that 81% of posts suggested the writer had at least one symptom of PTSD. The psychological distress caused by the infestation leads to long-lasting effects, such as recurrent nightmares, flashbacks, and intrusive thoughts.
Protecting Yourself from Bed Bugs and Their Psychological Effects
It’s crucial to avoid a long-term infestation to avoid both the unpleasantness of bed bug bites and the long-lasting psychological effects. One of the most cost-effective ways to deal with an infestation is to rent a heat treatment package and perform the treatment yourself. To find your closest provider, click here.
If you’re in a situation where bed bug infestations are likely, such as having a family member who travels a lot, you may find purchasing your own homeowner heat treatment package is a more cost-effective option.
To see our homeowner options, click here.