HealthMental Health


Thai Soccer Team Will Likely Need To Recover From Darkness, Isolation

Being stuck in a cave can lead psychological issues and even physical problems, like the disruption of the body's circadian rhythm.
Posted at 3:12 PM, Jul 10, 2018

The Thai soccer team stuck in a cave has been freed, but it's likely many of them will need special care to help readjust to daily life — not least because they've been in the dark for so long.

When people are stuck in confined spaces with no natural light, it can disrupt how they perceive the passage of time. Our bodies depend on natural light to keep their functions in sync, so not seeing natural light for even a few days can drastically alter our circadian rhythms.

This can lead to a wide range of health problems. For some, it might cause their hearts to stay at a resting rate even when they're awake and active. Others might see their immune systems weakened so much that they can't fight off common diseases. If circadian rhythms stay disrupted for long enough, that can lead to long-term problems like insomnia or depression.

To combat this, medical professionals say the rescued team will need to carefully reset their normal body functions. They say some might need eye protection to control the amount of natural light they're exposed to outside of the cave. Some will likely need antibiotics to give their immune systems a short-term boost. 

And psychologists say even though team is being treated and getting back on a normal schedule, many could still develop mental health problems like post-traumatic stress disorder at a later time. They say these individuals should receive counseling to help deal with any psychological issues that might arise, like claustrophobia.

Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN.