Certain types of diseases can have a huge impact on your mental well-being. Some of these can have a lasting impact on your mental health. When a person falls ill his anxiety level increases. He may also feel stressed and scared particularly if he is hospitalized. COVID-19 infection is one such disease in which a patient experiences emotional stress due to the fact that it has affected millions of people worldwide.
When a person is infected with COVID-19 viral infection and is on road to recovery, he may have to deal with immense emotional impact also which if taken lightly can hinder the recovery and can affect his mental health in the long run. This is primarily because communicable diseases may cause fear and anxiety leading to prejudices against people and communities, social isolation, and stigma. Such behavior may lead to increased hostility, chaos, unnecessary social disruptions and hence culminate into severe and long term mental health issues.
A study published in Global Health Research and Policy in June is one of the many recent ones to point out that COVID-19 patients are at a very high risk of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which in turn can cause serious distress and disability in the future.
Another study in Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, published in July, showed that 55 percent of the recovering COVID-19 patients they studied, presented clinical scores for at least one mental disorder. Females suffered from these disorders more than men did, but all patients were affected by the length of their hospitalization, the care they received for the disease, and their individual psychological history as well.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) points out that those who’ve been hospitalized due to COVID-19 may have affected their mental health. So it is important to focus on managing stress, anxiety and depression with the help of the following:
1. Good Sleep: It is highly likely that the sleep of the patient suffering from Covid-19 might have been irregular while in hospital. This irregular sleep can lead to stress, anxiety and tiredness which can in turn impact the recovery of the patient. So it is important to create a healthy sleep environment with minimum disturbances and focus on fixing this cycle.
2. Healthy food: Food plays a major role during the recovery period. Foods that are rich in dietary fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants are important for overall well-being and help regulate hormonal function in the body, which can keep mood swings at bay while protecting your mental health.
3. Physical activity: A person can feel weak and exhausted after COVID-19. But gradually increasing mobility and being active can improve both your physical and mental health. It is advisable to start slowly and gradually and not rush into starting your daily activities until you regain your strength.
4. Meditation: It is equally important to engage in relaxing activities to reduce stress and improve your psychological state. Meditation, controlled breathing exercises and light stretching can be as relaxing as reading a book, listening to music or an audiobook and engaging in spiritual practices that make you feel content.
5. Communicate: Due to the requirement of isolation in Covid-19 patients, the loneliness is never good for his mental health. It is important for the person to share his experiences, the challenges he faced and reconnecting with friends and loved ones can be a stress-buster. Talk to someone you are comfortable with on the phone or through the internet. It can be your family member or your friend but communicate.
All of these steps can help you reacclimatize with society while you recover and improve your mental health. If, at any point, it all seems overwhelming, you should get in touch with a mental health professional without delay.