SARS Coronavirus 2: Viewing Mental Ramification & Misery in People

i
@ishika
29 Jul 2020

Is your brain losing it now, flipping out, can’t take it anymore? Well with these shackles of lockdown you are probably not alone.

The year 2020 has been catastrophic for almost everyone all thanks to the emergence of the infamous novel coronavirus. The COVID-19 pandemic has inflicted gruesome physiological scars on people. Trapped in our homes, almost ending all the social interactions we continue to sew the most negative thoughts one can imagine.

With our brains sleeping in quarantine as we struggle to battle this virus, we also need to remind ourselves that anxiety and stress that we face during this time are normal physiological reactions arbitrary to situations such as the COVID-19 pandemic. It is completely normal for people to experience exasperation, agony, or reduced productivity during this time.

The nationwide lockdown enforced to tackle the spread of the virus has perpetrated people with a lot of mental trauma and ordeal. It is not the virus itself that is causing these scars but the fear and the insecurity that is being amassed in the minds and of the people.


Covid-19 & Mental Affliction

According to an article published in the lancet psychiatry journal on psychiatric consequences of coronavirus infection, most of the infected patients should be able to recover without any mental illness if the SARS Coronavirus 2 follows the same route of infection as seen in SARS 2003 and MERS 2012, but even so, findings point towards delirium being common in the COVID-19 infected patients.

The study also suggested that long term infections from the very closely related SARS and MERS made the survivors more vulnerable to mental illnesses such as anxiety, fatigue, depression, and post-traumatic stress. These could be attributed to possible effects of viral infection (including the central nervous system), degree of psychological compromise (low blood oxygen), immune response, and other medical interventions. Of course, other reasons such as self-isolation, the social stigma surrounding the infection, less social interaction cannot be neglected.

As of now, it is difficult to comment precisely on whether the SARS coronavirus 2 itself is responsible for mental illness in hospitalized patients due to insufficient data and research. However, it won’t be wrong to say that rates of anxiety and depression may be highly evident in the masses during this ongoing pandemic. The nervousness regarding the infection, the fear of coming in contact with the virus, and most importantly the mortality rates of the SARS coronavirus 2 are also the key factors in augmenting our health, mentally as well as physically.

Social media being the only possible way of interaction these days also cannot be considered safe. Excessive exposure to information and possible rumors about the pandemic can trigger increased worrying and fretting in people.


Vulnerable Groups

  • According to a report by WHO, the healthcare workers appear to be extremely vulnerable to the mental trauma in this time of crisis given that that, unfortunately, experience less interaction with their family members and loved ones. Also, the quality of rest and negligence of the healthy food due to long never-ending shifts especially during this tedious period contribute to the accumulation of stress and anxiety.

  • The lockdown has resulted in the redundancy of many small-scale workers and other private-sector employees which has caused a great deal of pressure and strain on the minds of people as they try to look for ways to feed their families in this bleak situation. The Hindu states, "India’s unemployment rate has risen to 27.11% amid the COVID -19 crisis. Highly concerned about the reduction in sources of livelihood, migrants have started fleeing the urban centers, resulting in tremendous stress and exhaustion."

  • Also, the people who already scuffle with depression, bipolar, and other forms of mental health issues find this closure extremely taxing. The quarantine may happen to aggravate their mental trauma and affliction. According to a study based on stress resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic published in the European journal, the agony and distress emerging from the various quarantine measures in different countries seem to be particularly exigent for people with psychiatric disorders.


Dealing with Mysophobia

While the coronavirus outbreak continues to play with the minds of people, mysophobia is worst played. Mysophobia commonly known as *germaphobia is often experienced with people having Obsessive-compulsive Disorder characterized by an extreme fear of germs that can be extremely discomforting amidst this crisis. Patients with germaphobia are often susceptible to develop a specific fear of contracting the coronavirus and hence may resort to extreme social distancing instead of physical distancing leading a sense of loneliness and build of negative emotions, in turn, impacting the mental health of the individual.

In this corona scenario not only mysophobia combat their intense urge of cleanliness but also every individual is at a threat of developing this kind of obsessive behavior. The need for regular washing of hands undeniably is of utter importance especially during the corona time but people due their diffidence and fear are starting to take the use of soap and hand washing to a level just beyond the concern with cleanliness.


Knocking out the negativity

A report published by the world health organization suggests various measures to tackle the psychological agony and distress caused amid the pandemic. It suggested individuals not to drown themselves in the negativity of the coronavirus. People should refrain from reading, watching, or listening to news about COVID-19. They may look at the news once or twice a day. It is seen that excess of information builds up wanted fear and terror. It must be kept in the mind that social banishing of an infected individual should be avoided at all costs, and the people battling with the virus should not be addressed as ‘victims’ or ‘COVID-19 cases’, but simply as people recovering from COVID-19 infection’.


Action needed

  • Stop dilly-dallying. Keep yourself busy. Doing and immersing yourself in work may help to distract ourselves from negative emotions.

  • Be active. Physical health should not be neglected. Eat healthily and sleep well. Make time for some light exercise to help rejuvenate yourself.

  • Find a hobby and nature your talents. This lockdown may appear to give us a lot of problems but it also is the best time to have a deeper understanding of ourselves.

  • Embrace the spirituality within you. It will help you calm down and cancel the negativity around you.


What to avoid?

  • Excessive sleep and lethargy should be kept at a bay as it could trigger a sense of worthlessness and guilt.

  • Do not panic. The infection may be a little terrifying but keep in mind that most of the people recover. If you happen to somehow get infected, do not let yourself down and think of it as just a phase. Having a positive outbreak helps a lot.

  • Narcotics and the use of drugs in an attempt to ease the anxiety and deal with boredom should be avoided in all circumstances as these may worsen your condition mentally and physically. Moreover, substance abuse adversely affects your immunity, which is of prior importance at this time.

  • Do not lose your compassion and benevolence just in the name of social distancing. Help the people around you in need of food and other essentials. Staying connected with people during this time may prove to help a lot.

In conclusion, it is extremely important to have a positive outlook during this pandemic because hope on healthcare management is all we can confine ourselves into, to knock out this deadly SARS coronavirus 2.


Edited by Annanya Chaturvedi


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