Capital crisis: Anxiety, depression plaguing patients after Covid recovery

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Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Covid scars are too deep to heal quickly for many. After a prolonged battle with the deadly virus, people not only struggle to cope up with physical weakness, but many recovered patients also develop psychological and neuro-psychological complications.

Due to long hospitalisation and isolation, several people are grappling with trauma, stress, fear, depression and anxiety after recovery. 

32-year-old Sandhya Singhal is taking longer to return to normalcy despite being reunited with her family after a gap of 28 days after returning from hospital, said her husband Rohit Singhal.

“After being admitted, her condition deteriorated initially. For about a week, she was in a ward where she saw people getting worse and dying in front of her eyes. The news would also be about Covid deaths. At times, we think that she may have recovered early if she had stayed home. Such an environment does leave an impact but it is such a crisis that nobody can be blamed as well,” noted Rohit.

Dr Manish Kandpal, Assistant Professor, Psychiatry at Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, elaborated that compared to other times when family accompanies with patient at hospital, patients are taken to socialised isolation in Covid treatment.

“Uncertainty looms over patients… they fear that if taken to hospital, they may not come back home alive. Even the doctors are covered in PPE kits and are not allowed to touch patients physically. Immune mediated damages are also seen in the nervous system,” he mentioned.

Dr Kandpal also noted that many patients are also seen suffering from ICU Delirium— who stay for long in an ICU and face disturbed biological rhythm.

“Depression, lack of emotional stability, memory issues, forgetfulness, anxiety- all are seen among recovered people. The use of steroids also affects the mood of the person,” he added.

Dr Manish Soneja, Additional Professor, Department of Medicine, AIIMS said that last year the facility had followed up around 1,700 recovered patients among whom 13 per cent had shown neuro-psychiatric complications.

Dr Pooja Shakya from the psychiatry department at AIIMS has been doing duty in Covid ICU ward for the past one year. She said that the premier healthcare facility attempts to ensure that patients get a chance at least to have a video call with family.

“The HCW-patient ratio has decreased so much, its hard to cater to all… many patients are having anxiety and post traumatic stress disorder after returning back to home. We have been receiving anxiety calls from many recovered patients. Even children are observed to have developed fear of losing family members,” she added.

Experts think family has a huge role to play to help a Covid patient recover psychologically.

“After two weeks, there are no chances of infection and hence the family needs to be physically closer to the patient. In case it continues then psychological help is much needed,” Dr Kandpal noted.



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