Depression, Anxiety, and COVID-19
Mental health conditions are often overlooked and considered comparatively unimportant as
compared to medical issues like diabetes, hypertension, etc. People who are suffering from
mental health issues can worsen their condition if stress is increased. According to research, stress is a well-established contributor to the development, onset, and severity of mental health disorders. Sufferers of generalized anxiety and health anxiety may find an increase in their symptoms during the pandemic.
Depressive symptoms may worsen with increased low mood, decreased energy, and limited interest in day-to-day activities. In crises, fear intensifies symptoms in people with pre-existing mental health disorders. For instance, stress is a well-documented factor in the worsening of symptoms of people with Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder. In the aftermath of a natural disaster, patients suffering from Schizophrenia shows the highest avoidance and has low approach coping, followed by patients suffering from Bipolar Disorder.
It is possible that those with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) with pre-occupations of
contamination and cleanliness may experience increased frequency and intensity of obsessive thoughts.
The emphasis on frequent hand washing and the risk of infection after touching objects and meeting people as a part of COVID-19 preventions, as propagated by the government, media and social media, enhances the risk of relapse in people with OCD.
However, the question is, what should you do if you have a pre-existing mental health condition to reduce the mental health impact of the COVID-19?
1) Be careful what you read in the news!
Some of the recommendations by the World Health Organization (WHO) are:
Avoid listening to news that might cause you to feel anxious or distressed.
Seek information that could help you take steps to protect yourself and your loved ones.
Seek updates and information at specific times.
2) Social Connection
Due to mass quarantine and social distancing, to prevent a sense of disconnection, you can communicate with loved ones, reduce exposure to the news, maintain a positive attitude, take good care of your health, be aware of your emotions, and talk to someone if feeling sad or anxious. Only rely on official news outlets and government guidelines regarding the pandemic.
3) Online Therapy
If you were previously seeking therapy, it is important that you continue your sessions online with your therapist. Or if you feel that you need therapy because of previously self-managed mental health issues, seeking the right therapist can be the answer.
ReliveNow is providing free 15-minute therapy sessions through its Free Virtual Clinic where you can connect with the best mental health professionals in the country and decide if therapy is the right option for you.