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The COVID-19 pandemic hasn't only affected our health, this deadly infection has come with far-reaching mental health impact too. According to some estimates, India alone has witnessed a spike in mental health issues by 22 per cent since the pandemic hot the country. Now, a new research says that COVID-19 survivors may experience a psychological condition called post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The study has been published in The Lancet Psychiatry journal.
PTSD may occur while COVID-19 patients are hospitalized and even after their recovery. The study looked at short and long-term results from the patients of COVID-19, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).
In this research, the researchers did an analysis of the data from over 3,500 people who have had one of the three related illnesses. "Most people with COVID-19 will not develop any mental health problems, even among those with severe cases requiring hospitalisation, but given the huge numbers of people getting sick, the global impact on mental health could be considerable," PTI quoted study co-lead author Jonathan Rogers from UCL.
Along with this mental health issue, the post-recovery effects of COVID may also include chronic fatigue, mood swings, sleep disorder or impaired concentration and memory. The study observes that 15 per cent of the infected experienced all the above-mentioned problems.
What is PTSD?
It is absolutely normal to feel frightened, sad or anxious after a traumatic incident. But, if the phase of sadness does not fade away, risk is high that you may be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Any scary, unfortunate or a stressful event that is overwhelming and leaves you hopeless and helpless can trigger PTSD. These are the major symptoms of this mental health issue: Re-experiencing the traumatic event through your memories, feeling emotionally numb and detached from others, sleep problems, irritability, hypervigilance, feeling ashamed and more.
If the signs and symptoms indicate that you are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder then it is essential for you to seek professional help. The sooner it is dealt with the easier it gets to overcome it. The healing paces up under the guidance and support of an experienced therapist or doctor. But if you try to numb yourself and ignore the problem, PTSD may tend to get worse. Therefore, see a doctor and talk about it to your close ones. The therapies that your doctor may suggest include cognitive behavioural therapy and prolonged exposure among others. Medicines that affect your brain chemicals serotonin or norepinephrine may also be part of your treatment modality. These drugs include paroxetine and sertraline. However, your physician may also resort to antidepressants.
The quality of your life is a big concern as the symptoms of PTSD can be hard on your body and mind. So it's important to develop some healthy lifestyle habits.
Relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, massage, deep breathing or aromatherapy may stimulate your body's response and may ease symptoms of PTSD.
While struggling with difficult emotions and traumatic memories, it is common to get addicted to hazardous habits like alcohol or substance abuse. Make sure you avoid such temptations as they may worsen many symptoms of PTSD.
Omega-3 plays an important role in improving your emotional health. So, include foods like fatty fish, flaxseed, and walnuts into your diet. Limit the intake of processed foods, fried foods, refined starches, and sugars, which can exacerbate mood swings and cause fluctuations in your energy.
Sleep deprivation is a common reason behind anger, irritability, and moodiness. Therefore, aim to get a snooze time of 7 to 9 hours each night. If you face difficulties in sleeping, develop a relaxing bedtime routine like listen to calming music or read something light.
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