Know the various COVID-related mental health issues among doctors and patients

As the third wave of COVID-19 rages across the country, we are once again gripped with fear, anxiety and a sense of helplessness. In such a situation, mental health issues are taking a toll on many of us. If you are having issues that are beyond your control do consult a psychiatrist near you. You can also go for psychiatrist online consultation nowadays. If you are looking for online psychiatrist consultation you can book a session with one of the highly experienced psychiatrists on DocGenie.

With restriction in movements as part of COVID-19 protocols, many of us are making unprecedented changes to our lifestyle. While getting adjusted to the new realities and maintaining distance with family and friends, we often feel forlorn and dejected. Adapting to these changes while constantly dealing with the fear of the deadly virus is extremely challenging. This is particularly tricky for those with mental health conditions.

That said, getting infected with the virus itself causes a host of mental health issues among patients. While COVID-19-related mental health issues among doctors have also become very common.

Healthcare workers also getting affected

Doctors and healthcare workers are often at high risk of being infected and infecting others. This leads to psychological distress. Studies conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic show that many of them are experiencing moderate to severe depression and anxiety. Moreover, the frontline workers all over the world are overburdened by work, and are apprehensive about contracting the virus.

Surveys conducted with health care workers across the world reveal psychiatric symptoms and disorders among doctors exposed to COVID-19. Cross-sectional studies that used self-reported instruments to assess physicians and nurses in China and frontline and second-line health care workers in Italy revealed moderate to severe psychiatric symptoms like anxiety, depression, insomnia and traumatic distress. Additionally, the results of an online survey of Canadian health care workers showed 47 percent respondents needed psychological support while dealing with COVID-19 pandemic.

The risk factor of constant contact with affected patients is one of the main reasons that triggers mental health issues among the doctors. Other factors include-

  • Spending a prolonged time in quarantine
  • Lack of organizational support
  • Distrust in the institution’s infection control measures
  • Lack of access to psychiatric interventions
  • Inadequate time off from work
  • Lack of personal protective equipment
  • Social stigma directed towards health care workers

Global mental health experts feel that mechanisms to reduce the risks of stress and anxiety among physicians should be implemented or strengthened. Many are suggesting mental health coping solutions which include interventions through counselling while maintain COVID-19 protocols. Other suggestions include providing doctors the ability to work safely and efficiently in providing medical care to the infected ones.

Mental health symptoms among patients

According to available data, patients with COVID-19 are also manifesting a number of psychiatric and neuropsychiatric symptoms consistent with delirium. The common mental health issues found among patients are:

  • Insomnia
  • Impaired attention or concentration
  • Anxiety
  • Memory impairment
  • Depressed mood
  • Confusion
  • Altered consciousness

COVID-19 is in itself very anxiety-provoking for patients. The highly infective nature of the virus, ambiguity regarding manifestations and prognosis, protocols imposed by the state lead to social, occupational, psychological, economic challenges making it an extremely fearful affair. Added to that are access to misinformation, changes in lifestyle, financial uncertainties, discrimination and stigma.

The dominant feeling of anxiety is by and large characterized by concern, brooding, and fear of infecting others. Anxiety felt by patients are typically exhibited by symptoms like – nervousness, being jittery, having tremors and palpitations, chest discomfort, and breathing problems. In some cases, patients also show symptoms like depression from low mood, weariness, gloom, sleep disorder, loss of appetite, and hopelessness.

The conditions like increased anxiety, depression, and worry are often severe among older individuals (over 70 years), immunocompromised patients, and those with chronic disease. In addition, COVID-19 patients with existing mental disorders have been very adversely affected, due to difficulties adhering to protocols and poor insight and problems in understanding the risk of infection.

Bottom line

Mental health is major concern for the patients who have been tested positive for COVID-19. They are secluded, lonely, and most importantly infected by the deadly virus. It is important to create spaces for them to be able to connect with others and share their journey to help others. Additionally, virtual meet, greet sessions, and social media lives can be very effective in this.

If you are experiencing depression or anxiety even after recovering from COVID-19, by all means see a psychiatrist. Both depression and anxiety are common mental health conditions and can be treated. Certified and experienced psychiatrists, highly qualified in treating mental health issues on DocGenie platform can help you with the best possible solutions. Book a session today!

Also read: Tips to Manage Your Mental Health After Recovering from Covid-19

DocGenie is an online telemedicine platform that provides you with quality healthcare from the comfort of your own space. On DocGenie, you can book an online consultation with highly qualified doctors as well as book lab tests for home collection.