Covid-19 is slowly unleashing its full range of effects. As we learn more and more about the virus, we discover its ability to affect us in more than one way. Originally, the virus was predominantly considered a respiratory one. Eventually, researchers discovered that it could also damage the heart and cardiovascular system. Recently, evidence has emerged about the link between a coronavirus infection and the increased risk of suffering from mental problems.
Mental Health in a Covid World
Psychiatrists in London warn that Covid-19 survivors are at a higher risk from experiencing mental health problems than everybody else. According to a Reuters report on the topic, approximately 20 per cent of the people who go through Covid-19 are diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder within 90 days.
The most common issues included anxiety, depression and sleep disorders.
According to the Oxford University researchers, those who go through a Covid-19 infection are also at a higher risk of experiencing dementia later on in life.
The findings are based on the analysis of 69 million medical records from the US. These included over 62,000 cases of Covid-19. The conclusion is shocking – one in five Covid-19 survivors is affected by a mental health problem in the aftermath of the diagnosis.
The number is higher than the link between other common medical conditions and psychological disorders. By studying medical records, the UK researchers found out that while about 20 per cent of Covid-19 survivors are diagnosed with mental health illness, the percentage is 13 for flu survivors and 12.7 per cent for fractures.
Since the start of the pandemic, there has been some speculation about the mental health toll of the novel disease. The UK researchers believe that mental health professionals across the world need to do a more thorough evaluation of the risks, followed by the development of innovative treatment protocols.
It Works the Other Way Around, Too
This isn’t the only troublesome conclusion that the UK study has come to.
People with a pre-existing mental health problem are 65 per cent more likely to get a Covid-19 diagnosis than their peers.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has already issued a warning on the topic. According to WHO, mental illness doesn’t just increase the likelihood of an infection. It also brings up the risk of an adverse outcome like Covid-19 complications and even death.
Research also suggests that anti-Covid-19 measures like restricted social contacts and complete lockdowns also increase the risk of adverse side effects among the people who are already diagnosed with a severe mental health issue.
According to the WHO director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, good mental health is vitally important to overall wellbeing. Covid-19 has made it more difficult for people experiencing psychiatric disorders to seek help for their issues. This means they’re likely to experience more severe symptoms and prolonged episodes that affect their overall health.
There is one more speculation about the link between mental illness and Covid-19. Some researchers believe that medication prescribed for the treatment of psychiatric disorders could be playing a role in the treatment of Covid-19. Whether such a link truly exists, however, is yet to be investigated.
Your Mental Health and Covid-19
Protecting your mental health at a time of worries and social distancing can be difficult. Still, every single person can undertake a couple of things to stop panicking about the pandemic and ensure mental wellbeing.
Regular communication with an experienced psychiatrist or psychologist in Singapore is recommended. It’s even better if you have already started treatment with a professional that knows your case and understands the challenges you’re facing.
If you believe you’re about to having a panic attack or an impending crisis connected to the pandemic, don’t just wait it out. Seek immediate help, be it in the form of therapy, even when delivered over the phone or online, calling a hotline or a friend that will understand you.
It’s important to understand that everyone deals with stressful situations in their own way. Your response is normal, even if you feel that it’s blown out of proportion to some extent.
Once you accept your response, it’s time to start thinking about ways to deal with it and start feeling better.
For a start, do some research to understand the actual risks. Acquainting yourself with the possibilities of getting treatment in the event of becoming Covid-19 positive could also give you peace of mind.
At the same time, it’s very important not to fixate on the news. Take breaks from watching reports or reading online articles about Covid-19. It’s very easy to cross the line from being informed to becoming obsessed over the issue. Too much information can accomplish the exact opposite effect of what you’re looking for – awareness and calmness.
Do seek out ways to unwind and de-stress. Regular exercise, creating visual art, practicing a favourite hobby or making new ones , or even just enjoying a serene walk in the park can all help.
If you need to talk to someone about your worries related to the pandemic or your mental health issues, the clinicians from Adelphi Psych Medicine Clinic are by your side. We have many specialties including the treatment of depression, art therapy, child counselling and EMDR. Contact us today to find out more.