What are the Neurological diseases amidst the COVID-19

20/10/2020

The Impact of Covid-19 on Neurological Disorders
Headache, Stroke, Seizures, Meningitis, Encephalitis, and CSVT are being frequently reported globally. Good compliance to drugs, Medical check-ups when needed, and controlling risk factors will be helpful.

Extreme vigilance and prompt medical attention in emergency are utmost important.

Examining the State of Our Mental Health in the on-going COVID-19 Pandemic

With the world in the throes of a global pandemic, all attention has been focused on the threat of infection. While this response is wholly warranted, most governments and health care providers failed to consider the impact of lockdowns, social distancing, and quarantines on public mental health. Experts are now sounding the alarms as there has been a precipitous rise in problems like depression and anxiety disorders across the world.

How the Covid-19 Pandemic Triggered a Mental Health Crisis

The ongoing pandemic is perhaps the most disruptive event in our lifetimes. Any disruptive event has a cascading effect on other areas of life. In terms of mental health, the impact is twofold. To begin with, there were millions of people who suffered from mental illnesses including depression, anxiety disorders, and so on, before the pandemic. The lockdown measures that were needed to fight the pandemic also meant that such patients were denied access to necessary mental health care. As pointed out in World Health Organization (WHO) data, 93% of all countries hit by the pandemic reported disruptions or a complete halt to critical mental health services.

At the same time, the ongoing pandemic has greatly expanded the need for mental health services. This should come as no surprise as it has brought immense upheaval and loss – both in terms of life and also in terms of livelihood. People across the country and the world have been struggling to cope with the loss of loved ones, social isolation, and economic uncertainty with varying degrees of success. For many women and children, the experience of the lockdown has been even more traumatic because of domestic violence. Not surprisingly, a survey conducted by the Indian Psychiatry Society (IPS) found that mental illness had spiked dramatically across the country, affecting at least two fifths or 20 percent of the population.

To make matters worse, there are new warnings about an impending surge in mental health and substance use disorders. These warnings came from a study that just appeared in the medical journal JAMA.

Complicating Factors

While limited access to mental health services, personal loss, and other traumatic experiences can be easily connected to depression and anxiety disorders, the link isn’t always so easy to establish. This is most evident from countries like Australia, where rates of infection and fatalities remain low. A study in Frontiers in Psychiatry found that depression and anxiety symptoms had risen even among individuals who had no exposure to COVID or any traumatic events.

Similar effects can be observed in other parts of the world, including in India. Although many have not been directly affected by the pandemic, social distancing measures, increased time indoors with family, lack of personal space, a bleak economy, and uncertain future have contributed to feelings of stress, frustration, anger, helplessness, loneliness, and boredom. When not managed appropriately, these feelings significantly increase the risk of mental health disorders. The impact has been particularly hard on the aged and on adolescents, who have a higher need for socialization.

By recognizing these impacts, we can better prepare and cope with the risk of mental illness, both as individuals and as a society.

Overcoming the COVID-19 Mental Health Crisis

It is imperative that policymakers consider the mental health implications of policy decisions before implementing them. While lockdown measures were inevitable, recognizing the mental health risks would have allowed for more effective mitigating strategies and less disruption to mental health services.

Individuals can also be educated with psychological resources, including coping strategies and stress reduction techniques. Self-empowerment is vital for coping with pandemics, wherein some amount of social isolation is unavoidable. In addition to coping tools and techniques, individuals can also turn to online therapy and support groups for help.

 

Dr Praveen Changala
MD (General Medicine), DM (Neurology)
Consultant - Neurophysician

Disclaimer:The views and opinions expressed in this article belong solely to the author. They do not reflect the opinions or views of the organization.

 

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