The outbreak of Corona in China started in December 2019 and spread like fire and affected 176 countries all over the world and taking more than 21,496,600 people in its grasp and still continuing to raise the numbers and leading to a total of 766194 deaths.
These are the times when the best health care services and the researchers from all over the world are in the state of shock and are taken aback. Amidst all the other physical impacts that are visible in the exterior many people of all age groups are facing psychiatric problems and the ill effects on the psychology. The sense of uncertainty, danger and the loss at the global level that has placed the importance of psychological health as top criteria among the citizens due to outbreak of COVID-19 is quite exploding.
The pandemic is unique and not usual since the world is exposed to it when the end date is still unknown. The communities that are believed to help each other during regular times are being competitive regarding the scarcity of resources in order to cope up and manage their own crisis.
Some most commonly observed psychological reactions seen are anxiety, stress and fear while facing such strenuous situations. The phase of lock down and the social isolation have become the prime reasons towards the progression of the mental issues. Whereas the developed countries with a higher income level are hitherto comprehending the recession in its worst state and socio-economic setbacks, the developing countries with low to middle income such as India are expected to encounter even worst condition.
Along with the normal people those who are sensitive towards stress and are going through any mental problems are likely to suffer because of the present social status of loss of job, lack of supply, forced quarantine, prolonged hospitalization, being sick etc.
As the aftermath of COVID-19 pandemic people from all age groups and different occupational backgrounds have different symptoms and varied risk factors. The children and adolescents are very much disturbed as their routine is disrupted, being locked up in the home blocks their physical activity leading to frustration, the online school system is however making them introvert and are sensitive towards misinformation. These factors lead them to becoming introvert, clingy, throwing tantrums, bed wetting and crying frequently.
The early adults have age related issues as well as some medical conditions that aggravate the psychological problems in them. They show symptoms like depression, insomnia, worsening of medical condition and anxiety. The unemployed and homeless people go through the lack of support and feel uncertainty regarding present and future and show a variety of symptoms like higher level stress disorders, depression and suicidal tendencies in addition to insomnia and anxiety.
Other than these seemingly normal people the individuals that are suspected of COVID-19 or are diagnosed with it, either those that are active or have already recovered really go through a lot of trauma because of prolonged isolation, stigma, or social rejection. The symptoms they show in addition to stress, insomnia, depression, anxiety are fear of the illness, grief, suicidal tendencies, contracting illness and obsessive symptoms.
The patients that are isolated because of the disease have been observed to show restlessness, excessive fear and a disturbed sleep while staying at the hospital. The frontline warriors during COVID-19 the doctors and health care workers had to go through stressful working, being trapped up in the PPE kits and have to be in direct contact with the active patients and to keep away from their family and loved ones. These result into post-traumatic stress, fear of contracting the disease in addition to regular symptoms associated with stress disorder.
So, the prime role of the psychiatrists is to find and manage these sorts of issues. This pandemic may take several more months or may be years hence until there is any effective solution like a curative or a preventive treatment is found towards the cure of COVID-19, it is possible that the total focus would be on the development of manpower and allocation of the resources regarding the management and detection of the cases that are active at present, even so the post- corona psychological symptoms should not be ignored.
The main concerns that should be to conduct a proper study, creating awareness as well as psychological preparedness among people and the frontline workers and providing a proper active psychological guidance and psychiatric treatment/advice to the individuals that require it.
The peculiar challenges encountered by the psychiatrists in these tough times involves the care of patients having acute mental problems and infections due to Corona Virus, the measures to prevent the spread of virus in acute psychiatry units. The new online trend also touched the field of psychiatry is the Telepsychiatry and gained attention in these times. The implication of digital media through telepsychiatry for the fast and effective search of the people that have psychological block and as a mode to convey information and psychological inferences can be very effective so as to minimize the sufferings of all the susceptible and helpless individuals.
The main psychiatry abnormalities all over the world that most of the patients undergo can be treated in primary healthcare clinics effectively. Although the need for psychiatrists cannot be underestimated for a short term and fast solution, the primary knowledge and the confidence of the physicians to treat the prevalent psychiatric abnormalities is essential. In the scientific terms it is known as PCP-First which means primary care first.
As the forthcoming challenges are significant, the pandemic is altering the lookout of people towards psychiatry. During these excessive and tough times hope is the prime and the best medicine till date that the psychiatrists are capable of bearing.
“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness”- Desmond Tutu