What Is COVID-19?
The coronavirus strain (later named SARS-CoV-2), identified in late 2019 in Wuhan, China, has been one of the deadliest killers worldwide to date. It has been spreading limitlessly with no barriers to all ages and populations. It was not predicted to be a crisis initially when news came from the affected nations but it has proven to cross all the barriers. It has been found to spread through the nasopharyngeal secretions of the affected population. It is also known to affect the elderly and the immunocompromised population severely. It was initially considered news of the foreign nations, but today it has developed into a disease next door. It even left the whole world scared and locked up continuously for months. After several episodes of lockdown, countries like China are now being affected by a fourth wave. The mutations in the virus are leaving the medical and pharmaceutical industry clueless. There was a time when no medications and vaccines were available to curb COVID-19. This created a lot of tension and anxiety, in addition to the spread of the disease and our loved ones being affected by it. Now that the medical world has come out with different types of vaccines after strenuous effort, the scare has substantially reduced, but the anxiety is still there. The reason is very obvious. The isolation, process of testing, hospitalization, dear ones getting affected, the thought of losing our dear ones to this deadly disease or a past incident where we lost a close one all affect the mental peace all over again. Mental health is foremost important to deal with the outcomes of this disease.
How Is Mental Health Affected by COVID-19?
Though COVID-19 is known to be a serious life-threatening disease, the mental health of the affected individuals, doctors, families, poor people, and students has been masked. To make it clear, we have to say that proper awareness has not yet been spread and received. This article would be explaining the impact of COVID-19 on different people with depression. Depression cannot be categorized as a minor issue. When it is starting to develop along with the global threat, then it is a fact that should be considered vitally. Only then will the world move from the fear zone to the growth zone.
Depression is one of the complicated forms of our emotions, and it is very common and unnoticed. It is known as the common cold of emotional disorders, and it is defined as a feeling of severe despondency and dejection. Everyone at some part of our lives undergoes depression, some might go through severe forms of depression, and some might go through simple and easily recoverable depression. Depression can present in different forms, such as recurrent depressive disorder and bipolar disorder. The severity can be classified as mild, moderate, and severe. But, bipolar disorder patients express both manic and depressive episodes.
What Is the Relationship Between Physical and Mental Health?
If a person is affected by diabetes or any cardiovascular problems, then there are chances that the person might face more fear and depression. They are groups where more counseling is required.
How Does Depression in Affected Individuals?
According to a survey from the World Health Organization, nearly 264 million people are affected irrespective of age. Women are affected more than men. The utmost effect on mental health by COVID-19 is on the affected individuals. Initially, there were no clinical clues of who will recover and who will die, Even if it has been established today, the fear and depression of the isolated people have not yet come down.
Earlier the affected people who claimed to be recovered, when they returned back to their living areas were not accepted easily by the neighborhood. They were not only physically isolated due to the disease, but they also went through a series of loneliness both in hospitals and homes. Since their physical health was the utmost priority, the importance of mental health and depression was neglected; even when there are few affected patients who had a supportive family and neighborhood, not all were blessed with the same. Those who are said to be completely recovered and safe are in their homes still facing distress.
How Severe Is Depression in Physicians and Doctors?
Doctors throughout the world, though they belong to different age groups, they have been our military and soldiers since day one of COVID. Being the topmost profession under risk, watching death after death daily, adjusting, and accepting to different environments could not be very easy. Considering the risk of becoming carriers of the disease, most doctors treating and in close contact with COVID-19 patients, are not traveling to their homes. They are losing their bond with a supportive family. Because of this crisis, young doctors cannot to stay with their parents, kids, and friends. Many doctors have lost their lives in the process of treatment. Thinking of the disease and treatment plans, they would have lost peace. They swear to save lives and have lost theirs. Co-doctors who are watching their colleagues losing their lives could be one of the most depressive and hopeless situations doctors go through. This is how COVID drastically affects the mental health of doctors also.
What Is the Situation in Families of Affected Individuals?
It is not easy for a family to have an affected family member. Waiting for the family member’s recovery and praying each and is sure to be painful. The inability to not be there with them at the time of crisis and not helping them recover has been way more depressive. The family who lost their loved ones to COVID-19 and not even being able to see their dead faces have been the principal reasons for a higher level of depression.
How Is Depression Affecting the Poor Population?
Even without the disease, the most suffering population would be poor people. The reports from the World Health Organization say that about 76% to 85% of people belonging to low or average economic status have declined beneficial treatments for mental health. The daily wagers lost their jobs and were in a state of no income due to the lockdown. People were suffering in a way that they could not afford their daily food, place, and even masks to protect themselves and their families. They were in a state where mental health was far from their sufferings. Everybody cannot afford to go to a psychologist. Thus, the poor are one of the most depressed due to COVID-19.
What Is the Relation Between COVID-19 and Acute Stress Disorder?
Acute stress is a condition in which there is a sudden episode of stress patterns. This sudden episode of acute stress disorder is initiated by experiences such as the COVID-19 crisis. Seeing a close one suffer from a pandemic is stressful. It can be relieved only after recovery from the disease because not everyone overcomes the virulence of the virus. It is necessary that the person experiencing stress should stay calm to overcome fear and stress. The patient has to overcome dysfunctional and obnoxious episodes of stress. If patient with acute stress disorder becomes hypervigilant and loses the ability to focus, they should get help from a psychiatrist immediately. The doctor should make sure that the patient gets sufficient sound sleep.
How Is Panic Attack Associated With COVID-19?
A panic attack is associated with disorders like anxiety. There will be a loss of control experienced by the person. A stressful event or death might cause anxiety. Panic attacks will be followed by certain physical changes. They are:
These symptoms usually subside after a short period of time. If it does not end, you should consult your doctor immediately.
What Are the Coping Strategies?
If it is a small distress situation, a simple coping up strategy can help. But in a depression, it will be difficult for the person to identify their problems. In this situation, they will need support from family, friends, and everyone around them and assure them by saying it is totally alright, how bad the situation is. Being on positive notes is the most essential way to cope with depression. Giving importance to one’s own mental health and spreading awareness about the same is crucial to preventing depression. Practicing yoga, meditation, and healthy life practices like helping the needy, and practicing good personal preventive measures are the united ways how this world can join hands and fight mental depression due to COVID-19. We can still be grateful for the positive things life has given us.
What Are the Treatment Options?
The rate of depression is seen higher in older people. They fear that the virus will attack them easily. If they are people suffering from an illness, then their poor immune system would be an additional fear for them.
If your doctor prescribes, you can go for selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. This might increase the level of serotonin hormone and can provide some relief. Tricyclic antidepressants are also helpful. If you are already taking medications for other illnesses, inform your doctor about this. Take help from our online consultation platform.
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors:
They are the most commonly used antidepressants. They are highly effective and have only a few side effects. It is considered a safe group of drugs when compared to others. When the level of this medication is high, it results in serotonin syndrome. If you are suffering from heart problems or other conditions, then you should inform your doctor. They will give alternative medication.
These medications can increase the level of two hormones, epinephrine, and serotonin. If other chemical messengers are affected, then numerous side effects can occur.
If your depression is very severe, you must consult a psychiatrist immediately. They will recommend some useful counseling sessions. A therapeutic method of psychotherapy will be followed. Sometimes, you will be advised to group therapy. This will be highly useful.
Depression could also be avoided within the family by following the below-listed points.
When You Are a Parent:
It is common for children to seek more parents' attention in times of stress. During that time,
Maintain familiar routines as much as possible.
Share your views on coronavirus with your children in a honest way.
Make sure they do not miss the home learning and also manage time to play (in case the schools are not yet open).
Help children engage in a creative activity that helps to relieve stress.
Stay in contact with friends and family through telephone and video calls. Avoid going out unnecessarily.
Make sure they spend time in off-line work such as singing, dancing, or gardening.
Make sure to vaccinate the children if they are of eligible age to avoid unnecessary exposure and panic. Vaccines like Spikevax and Comirnaty are made available for children above the age of six and five respectively.
When You Are an Older Adult:
- Most people would have already received second dose of vaccine and booster dose are also available. Vaccines are found to provide great protection against virulent strains. Thus people can have assurance. Also encourage others to get vaccinated.
Keep in contact with loved ones through telephone, e-mail, or video conference.
Learn simple physical exercises and do them regularly at home to maintain mobility.
Know about getting help if needed, like calling a taxi, food delivery, or asking for medical care.
Get your regular medicines for one month.
Frequently Asked Questions