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Many Covid-19 Patients Struggling To Cope With Survivor Guilt, ICU Trauma Post Recovery

Patients who had a near-death experience are going through an existential dilemma. File Photo (ANI)

Many Covid-19 patients are being haunted by survivor guilt and ICU trauma post recovery. Read on to know more about these conditions.

So far, Covid-19 has caused more than 3.2 million deaths worldwide, and infected over 157 million people. Many who have survived the disease are also dealing with the long-lasting effects of the viral disease. Several reports have highlighted the rising cases of lasting mental and physical health issues among the Covid-19 survivors. Sensitivities to light, fatigue, extreme body pain, headaches, dementia, stroke, depression, are some of the lasting effects of Covid-19 reported to be experienced by the Covid-19 survivors. Mental health experts in India have also come across two other common phenomena among Covid-19 patients: survivor guilt and ICU trauma. The patients who had been in the most critical conditions during the infection struggle more with mental health, Dr Harish Shetty, a social psychiatrist at Dr LH Hiranandani Hospital, Mumbai, told NEWS18.

It is not uncommon for patients who had a near-death experience to have an existential dilemma, Dr Shetty stated. Many are still struggling to cope with the trauma of being in the ICU, and or losing loved ones. According to psychiatrist, survivor guilt is another phenomenon that is being noticed in Covid-19 patients, especially among those who have lost their parents or partners due to the disease. These people are in dire need of support and counselling, he added.

Lack of sleep and total insomnia, palpitations, a sense of impending doom, fear of dropping dead at any moment, anxiety and depression have also been commonly observed among Covid-19 patients in India.

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ICU stay triggering emotional disturbances among patients

Speaking to the news channel, Mumbai-based psychologist Priyanka Varma said that the ICU has been a very triggering place for emotional disturbances among many patients. The sounds of monitor beeping, the noise of doctors walking through corridors, other patients around dying from the same disease, minimal contact with family members, physical isolation and the loneliness all of these can trigger fear and emotional disturbances, explained Varma.

Tips to take care of your mental health post Covid-19 recovery

Here are some helpful tips suggested by mental health experts to cope with the trauma post Covid-19 recovery.

  • Journaling may help you to rationalise and work through your thoughts during this time.
  • Engage in stress-relieving activities like yoga or light workout and consumption of light and nutritious diet.
  • Take it slow when you go back to work. Too much workload after recovering from Covid-19 may lead to anxiety and stress.
  • Continue to monitor your oxygen level, do regular exercise, and give your body enough rest so that your organs can recover completely.
  • Minimise your screen time and alcohol consumption.
  • Avoid going out immediately after recovery because your body is yet to get back to its healthy state and still needs proper care.
  • If you have to step out, make sure you wear a double mask, always keep a hand sanitizer, maintain six feet distance in public places and get yourself vaccinated (as per the doctor's recommendation).
  • Complete the course of medicine, prescribed by the doctor without fail.
  • Consume foods that would help rebuild muscle, immunity and energy levels.
  • Have small frequent meals and drink plenty of fluids, like warm water with Tulsi leaves to manage Covid symptoms, like cough and itchy throat.
  • Avoid sugary drinks, alcohol, coffee as these can lead to dehydration.
  • Inhale steam with the tongue out at least 2-3 times a day.
  • Ensure your diet has enough protein and include prebiotics, probiotics and fibre.

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