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Experts: Covid-19 survivors should seek mental health support

  • Published at 11:56 am April 19th, 2021
mental health-psych

Post Covid-19 mental disorder, anxiety, and depression are not uncommon, and many are sharing concerns about their mental health even after recovering from Covid-19

The normal life of Runu Hoque, a 42-year-old homemaker and a voluntary social worker, took an unprecedented turn when she and her whole family tested positive for Covid-19. 

Matters turned for the worse when Runu’s husband was shifted to ICU for Covid-19 complications and doctors told her to be prepared in case her husband loses the battle against the deadly viral infection. 

“I felt numb. My 10-year-old daughter at home was Covid-19 positive too,” she said. 

Luckily, her husband’s health improved and everybody in her family survived Covid-19. However, she feels that the mental distress from her ordeal will linger much longer. 

“I was in a constant fear that maybe I am going to lose my family to Covid-19, although all of us have recovered. Most of the time, I used to sit alone for hours and did not feel like talking to anyone,” she told Dhaka Tribune.   

Her coping mechanism was to keep herself occupied with social work and her daughter took up painting to get back to normal life. 

“It took me a while to get myself out of depression. But eventually, I recovered. I am sure not many people are this lucky,” Runa added. 

Post Covid-19 mental disorder, anxiety, and depression are not uncommon, and many are sharing concerns about their mental health even after recovering from Covid-19.  

A new study, published in the Lancet Psychiatry journal, found that one in three Covid-19 survivors in the study of more than 230,000 mostly American patients were diagnosed with a brain or psychiatric disorder within six months, suggesting the pandemic could lead to a wave of mental and neurological problems. 

Researchers who conducted the analysis said it was not clear how the virus was linked to psychiatric conditions such as anxiety and depression, but that these were the most common diagnoses among the 14 disorders they looked at.

“Our results indicate that brain diseases and psychiatric disorders are more common after Covid-19 than after flu or other respiratory infections,” said Max Taquet, a psychiatrist at Britain’s Oxford University, who co-led the work.

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Associate Prof Helal Uddin Ahmed told Dhaka Tribune that if a Covid-19 survivor or their family finds any instability or abnormality in their behaviour after recovering, they should immediately seek mental health support. 

“People have this misconception that a person suffering from mental disorder only requires love and care from their family. Mental disorders are just like other diseases and people need to see a professional if they have mental health issues,” he added.

The study published in Lancet Journal has also pointed out that coronavirus can attack brain cells in different ways and also some medicine used for Covid-19 treatment such as steroids can have a negative effect on people’s mental health, he said. 

“Another major reason that people are suffering from mental health issues is that they have to deal with intense mental pressure and uncertainty about their health after contracting the virus, which leads to mental health issues,” Prof Helal pointed out.   

He further recommended that mental health care should be a part of Covid-19 treatment plan and it is high time to take mental health care as a crucial part of fighting the pandemic.

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