Hyderabad: A 32-year-old working professional from the city, who had no history of psychological issues, had to seek professional help for severe panic attacks soon after the onset of the second wave of Covid-19.
“I or my family members did not get infected. But the situation around is very worrying. I am afraid that if we get Covid, we might not get a hospital bed or oxygen cylinders. These things keep me up at night,” she shares.
A middle-aged patient, who recently got discharged from the Gandhi Hospital, has been taking therapy sessions as he has seen several deaths while he was in the hospital. Several such cases have been keeping city psychiatrists and psychologists busy. The second wave is triggering a considerable degree of fear and worry in the people.
“Every day, I am meeting people who are scared that they might die due to Covid. More than the virus, anxiety and stress about it is impacting the health of people,” shares Dr Nagalakshmi Thupkar, Consultant Psychiatrist, KIMS Hospital.
“Hospitalised patients have seen so many deaths that many are not able to sleep peacefully. I have attended to several ICU patients with psychotic disturbance. They are uncertain and worried if they will make it,” she says. This fear is spreading among family members of patients and people who have not yet been infected too.
“Stress levels among caregivers or family members with no Covid are high. From the time the second wave hit us, stress levels have mounted up as more people are getting affected and the death toll has increased. The fear that they might not be able to save their loved one is immense,” says Dr Rithika Alladi, Clinical Psychologist, Cadabams Hospital.
Unfortunately, it’s not only adults who are dealing with these issues. Dr Anita Are, Clinical Psychologist, one of the doctors appointed by the Telangana government to help Intermediate students facing stress and prevent suicides, shares that children, too, are falling prey to the prevailing negativity.
“Children have been stuck at home for about a year now and are frustrated. They are not happy with online classes and exams. One of my clients complains that though she is very good at mathematics, she is not able to perform well as other kids in her class take help from Google for exams. This has made her worry about her academics. Children who are going to give board examinations are under double pressure. The motivation level among students, in general, is very low,” she says.
A few precautions
• Understand anxiety/sadness are normal; it’s appropriate to current situation, as long as it doesn’t disturb personal/social/occupational functioning
• Enhance quality time with family and loved ones. Play board games, word games etc., even with Covid-19 patients isolated at home
• Exercise regularly and engage in relaxing activities or hobbies such as meditation, painting, music etc.
• Stay more mindful in activities that we engage by being in the here and now. Try not getting carried away by thoughts about past or future
• Reduce exposure to social media and news if it is inducing anxiety or stress
• Remember that we are living in an extraordinary time, and our only motto, for now, is to ‘survive’ this pandemic
• If situation goes beyond control, reach out to a licenced mental health professional
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