Dr.. Karim Mamoun
The longer the crisis continues in the context of the “Covid-19” pandemic caused by infection with the “emerging corona” virus, the more emphasis is placed on its psychological repercussions, and the clinical information of “Covid-19” patients has shown the occurrence of disorders that include tension, anxiety, fear, sadness, and loneliness, as it can be exacerbated. Mental health disorders, including anxiety and depression.
Changes in mental status are the second most common neuropsychological complications occurring in patients with “Covid-19” after cerebrovascular accidents. Therefore, it is necessary to track psychological complications even in patients whose degree of disease does not require admission to the hospital, in order to determine the people most vulnerable to infection and then Determine the best way to treat it.
Societal studies may reveal a wave of psychological consequences after the pandemic recedes and simple “Covid-19” cases are cured. Symptoms of depression and anxiety have been observed for a long time during and after previous septic outbreaks such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and the “Middle East syndrome”. Respiratory system (MERS) and “Ebola” virus disease, and this observation is expected to apply to the “Covid-19” pandemic.
What are the causes of mental disorders in “Covid-19” patients?
The new reality imposed by the “Covid-19” pandemic, represented by social isolation, the absence of direct contact with family and friends, unemployment, economic concerns, and an insecure future, in addition to fear for personal health and the health of family and friends, can lead to psychological disorders in people of all ages. around the world.
The long-term psychological implications are still unknown, but the first studies have now appeared indicating an increased risk of depression, fear diseases, stress disorders and addictive behavior, in light of this pandemic.
In addition, it is not only the social and economic effects that “Covid-19” can leave on mental health. A study conducted on patients with severe symptoms of “Covid-19” revealed an association between the incidence of depression and anxiety and the degree of loss The sense of smell and taste, while no such association with the severity of other symptoms of the disease was observed, which led to the conclusion that some mental disorders seen in the context of “Covid-19” are the result of the central nervous system being affected.
Are disorders limited to people with the disease?
No, health care providers who work under tremendous pressure may be injured as they balance their professional duty with their personal needs, and their fears increase due to insufficient sepsis control measures and fear of personal or family infection, which may lead to depression (20-40% of cases) or anxiety. (30-70% of cases) or post-traumatic stress disorder or insomnia and emotional exhaustion, and it has been observed that the incidence of anxiety and depression is high among those exposed to “Covid-19” infection of workers in the first health care line and in those who have been infected, and the fear of infection Personality and fear for family and colleagues about infection is a major cause of distress.
The prevalence of symptoms of depression and anxiety among caregivers associated with “Covid-19” is related to epidemiological considerations, material and human resources, and personal factors:
Epidemiologically, the likelihood of developing psychological symptoms is commensurate with the prevalence of sepsis in the region, as the suffering is greatest during the increase in the number of infections, when there is no experience in dealing with similar pandemics, and when governments do not provide transparent information for effective prevention and treatment plans.
As for material resources, their lack, especially personal protective equipment, is accompanied by a fear of infection among health care providers, while securing places and rest time reduces the impact of physical and psychological fatigue on health care providers, and securing these places is more beneficial than providing psychological support in During a pandemic.
As for human resources, the probability of suffering mental distress is high when close contact with “Covid-19” patients and when the level of responsibility is high, such as workers in the first-line care in ambulance departments, intensive care units, ambulances and hospitalization units for “Covid-19” patients.
In terms of personal factors, the physical and mental health is worse for women during pandemics. Also, young people are more afraid of infection than the elderly, and middle-aged people are more immune to stress, and those who have children have a greater fear of infection. Anxiety and depression increases in people with a neurotic personality or when feeling lonely or when those who have a history of mental disorder or physical complaints.
Likewise, the “Covid-19” pandemic has led to psychosocial complications. Although the disease only affected about 1% of the population of the earth, fear of it afflicted all human beings, as the infection continues and deaths are everywhere, and this pandemic has called for distressing life changes. Such as being quarantined at home, depleting money, working remotely, temporary unemployment, educating children at home, and the absence of direct contact with other family members, friends and colleagues. Some responded positively and followed the prevention instructions, while others responded negatively. By shopping and storing, they suffered from distress, and some of them developed depression, anxiety, and the accompanying deterioration of performance and false and suicidal thoughts.
When should a person with a mental disorder seek medical advice?
Feeling sad or depressed, given the pandemic and the associated restrictions on contact, is a completely normal reaction, but medical advice should be sought if the person notices little or no possibility of feeling happy, or there is excessive lack of motivation and excessive feeling of fatigue, Or if he can no longer get out of the circles of thinking, for example by limiting thinking only to the possibility of infection with the virus, and the feeling of constraint through that.
How do we maintain mental integrity during the “Covid-19” pandemic?
There are several factors that help maintain mental health during the “Covid-19” pandemic, including:
Social Communication: Regular contact with family and friends via the phone or the Internet (online).
Busy: doing activities that fill time and improve emotions, such as hobbies, drawing, music, reading, television, watching movies, and home improvement.
Sports: whether practicing outdoor sports, walking and jogging, or “online” exercise.
Maintaining calm: through relaxation and meditation, or prayer and worship.
Rationalizing access to information: by reducing the use of “social media” and news bulletins to relieve anxiety.
Continuing routine: Having a plan or daily routine helps maintain mental health, especially with regard to receiving care, for example:
Get in the habit of getting up and going to bed at the same times every day.
Maintain personal hygiene.
Eat healthy meals at regular times.
Make time to work and time to rest.
Make time to do the lovely things.