How Space Travel Induces Chronic Symptoms Of Depression, Anxiety, And Psychosis In
Famous cosmonaut Valentin Lebedev’s 1990s’ book is the first one in history to draw attention to this hazardous aspect of space travel.
Remember, how in the popular sitcom “Big Bang Theory”, one of the central characters, Howard Wolowitz (an astronaut on a space mission) used to video-call his folks back at home and cry about his work?
Turns out, this wasn’t just a concoction by the series’ creators and was drawn from the real-life instance of cosmonaut Valentin Lebedev.
Lebedev was on a 211-day mission on the Salyut 7 space station in 1982. Shortly into his 5 months there, he began to show signs of mental health conditions.
He was ‘depressed’ most of the time and appeared to be growing increasingly irritable with his crew members.
The difficult tasks, the long-drawn hours, and the lengthy period of absence from his family seemed to have gotten ‘on his nerves’. He chronicled the difficulties faced in his celebrated book “Diary of a Cosmonaut: 211 Days in Space”.
The book helped draw attention to the mental health of space-station workers, specifically astronauts.
Subsequent research showed that as nearly inhospitable as space is from a physiological health perspective, space itself may not be intrinsically safeto mental health.
In fact, the spaceflight environment is proven to induce mental health symptoms akin to severe clinical depression, psychosis, anxiety, insomnia, etc.
Know all the signs and symptoms of Psychosis below!
This is the reason why potential astronauts across the globe are given training in conflict resolution, leadership, stress management, mindfulness techniques, etc. so as to develop the skills for their mental and physical health.