- Fear of Coronavirus is causing anxiety and depression among people: Experts
- Experts say, Coronavirus and lockdown are causing friction in relationships
- Patients with bipolar disorder, anxiety, OCD are suffering most: Doctors
New Delhi: The Novel Coronavirus outbreak and the subsequent lockdown which has been extended till May 3 has led to a surge in mental health illness, according to some psychiatrists. Even the government is paying attention to this aspect and it’s evident with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare issuing guidelines and sharing videos on how to ensure mental well-being in the time of a pandemic.
According to Dr Rajiv Mehta, Psychiatrist at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital here, in Delhi people, especially the one already dealing with depression, have started complaining of anxiety and depression. For some it’s the fear of contracting and spreading the virus that gives rise to their anxiety, for others, it’s the uncertainty on the job and economy front.
Elaborating on this point and giving examples, Dr Mehta told ANI,
The most common problem patients are complaining of is that they are depressed and anxious. Even if they have a minor cough, they get depressed and anxious that they could have contracted COVID-19 and transferred the virus to others. They keep ruminating on a single thought. They keep thinking about what will happen and how they can be saved. Anxiety and panic like dryness of mouth, palpitations and nausea is observed.
Since everyone is under lockdown and living together, there is a lack of personal space which has caused friction in relationships within families; especially among older people who have their own lifestyle. Dr Mehta also believes that the issue of alcohol withdrawal is also causing worry among some people. The symptoms of alcohol withdrawal occur when someone stops using alcohol after a period of heavy drinking. Due to the lockdown imposed to contain the spread of the Novel Coronavirus, alcohol shops are shut, making it difficult for people who are used to drinking.
According to Dr Nand Kumar, professor of the psychiatric department at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), most patients with mental health issues face a lack of social connectivity due to the ongoing lockdown. Elaborating on the same, Dr Kumar told ANI,
I am personally calling up my patients for their follow up consultations over phone. A major challenge for those who have been already diagnosed is that they face a relapse in their condition due to the absence of social connectivity and unavailability of medicines.
According to Dr Smitha Desphande, head of the Psychiatric Department at Dr Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, though we are under a lockdown, mental health illness cannot be ignored. Considering the current rise in patients with relapse of their pre-existing mental health complications, Dr Desphande believes that post lockdown, mental health issues will increase.
Patients with bipolar disorder, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder are suffering the most. A majority of our patients are now unable to visit the hospital due to the unavailability of transport. With this, we assume that OPDs would see an upsurge in mental health issues once the lockdown is over, Dr Smitha told ANI.
Fighting Coronavirus With Positivity And Immunity
Dr Jamal Khan, Immune Therapist, said that during the lockdown it is pivotal to maintain psychological stability. He believes that immunity is linked to the brain and by inculcating positive thoughts people can strengthen their immunity.
During the lockdown, it is important to maintain psychological stability. One can do yoga, push-ups, try cooking new dishes, read new materials on the internet and can even read religious books. One should believe that this lockdown is a God-given gift to do innovative things, Dr Khan told ANI.
The Immune Therapist Dr Khan further added that people do not need to take any special supplements like Vitamin C to increase their immunity.
Having a diet containing protein, carbohydrate and fat is enough to strengthen the immunity, he said.
(If you need support or know someone who does, please reach out to your nearest mental health specialist.) Helplines:
AASRA: 91-22-27546669 (24 hours)
Sneha Foundation: 91-44-24640050 (24 hours)
Vandrevala Foundation for Mental Health: 1860-2662-345 and 1800-2333-330 (24 hours)
iCall: 022-25521111 (Available from Monday to Saturday: 8:00am to 10:00pm)
Connecting NGO: 18002094353 (Available from 12 pm – 8 pm)
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene.