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Stress about health, finances and uncertainty about the future amidst the COVID-19 pandemic is taking a serious toll on the mental health of people worldwide. In India, there has been a massive spike in patients with mental illness since the coronavirus outbreak. A recent survey conducted by the Indian Psychiatry Society reported 20% increase in patients with mental illness since the coronavirus outbreak. The survey noted that at least one out of every five Indians is suffering from mental illness.
More and more people in the US are also turning to prescription drugs like antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications, to cope with mental health conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A report released this month by Express Scripts, a pharmacy benefit management program, found that prescriptions per week for antidepressants, anti-anxiety and anti-insomnia drugs increased by 21% between mid-February and mid-March in the US, peaking the week of March 15 when the WHO declared COVID-19 a pandemic.
According to the report, prescriptions of anti-anxiety medications rose by 34.1% over this period and 18% in the week of March 15. While antidepressant prescriptions increased by 18.6%, use of anti-insomnia medications went up by 14.8%.
Experts are also worried that post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may be a fallout of this crisis. PTSD was reported to be the most common psychiatric disorder to arise after the SARS outbreak. In some studies, the prevalence of acute post-traumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) among COVID-19 survivors was observed. Researchers have cautioned that PTSS may affect a larger percentage of the population in countries without prior exposure to serious epidemics.
Are you feeling stressed or emotionally low during the lockdown? Movement restrictions and social isolation are essential to break the Covid-19 infection cycle, but it can have serious impact on mental health. With the intention to help people stay calm and conscious during the lockdown, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare recently issued an advisory on how to handle emotional problems during coronavirus pandemic. Take a look -
The ministry suggests some ways to keep positive and cheerful during the lockdown. These include -
The government advises not to follow sensational news or social media posts that may impact your mental state. If you are going through any emotional issue, the ministry recommends trying these tips -
In case you need advice from a mental health professional, you can call at the helpline number (080-46110007).
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