Considering that changes and uncertainty are a source of stress and with the current scenario with coronavirus, we can assume that there is going to be a lot of stress around. The usual conversations end up with everybody feeling that nobody knows when this is going to end.
One gets depressed due to:
- Disputes in one’s life whether it is with the loved ones or at work.
- Loss of loved ones due to death.
- Lots of changes and uncertainty.
- Isolation and loneliness.
Factors that will add to the stress levels will include lack of clear and concise information, absence of clarity on the tests and clinical outcomes, a dearth of adequate facilities for quarantine, etc. Whatever we can do to mitigate these things will help people endure self-isolation days. Individually, I think that it can be an opportunity to take a pause, reflect and re-evaluate one’s life. One can read, share, watch movies with substance and share the gyaan with friends and family, digitally of course. Let us now consider anxiety-based common mental health disorders like illness anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and generalized anxiety disorder. The predisposition to these illnesses again is multifactorial, it depends on one’s genes and character traits etc. Recent events are rife for adding fuel to the fire of anxiety-based disorders.
Central to the pathway of suffering from these issues is a tendency to catastrophize normal bodily events. We see a lot of people these days who present with various medically unexplained symptoms wherein they are focusing excessively on their body to look for signs like discomfort in the chest or difficulties with digestion etc. and then misinterpreting these. We usually manage such experiences with appropriate and judicious use of psychotherapy and medications. If anybody is experiencing excess worries beyond the norm, they can seek professional help.
The obsessive-compulsive disorder manifests in the form of preoccupation with repetitive thoughts or compulsive rituals, usually, the compulsive rituals are of checking or cleaning type. In view of the need to maintain hand hygiene and cleanliness to a microscopic level in current times, we can imagine the burden placed on somebody with OCD. The mainstay of treatment for OCD involves us, training people, to not to give in these urges to wash hands or clean excessively. We have to continue with the same principle albeit in the context of the current norms.