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Psychotherapy in times of Covid19: Emerging role of online therapy

Discussion in 'Psychiatry' started by Priyanga Singh, Aug 26, 2020.

  1. Priyanga Singh

    Priyanga Singh Young Member

    Sep 11, 2019
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    The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has surfaced multiple new stresses, including physical and psychological health risks. Social distancing has created isolation and loneliness as a trigger for mental health deterioration. The closure of many businesses, economic vulnerability, and job losses have added financial stress on already vulnerable populations.

    In pandemics, fear of the unknown leads to higher anxiety levels in both healthy people and those with pre-existing mental health problems.

    The elderly with a chronic debilitating illness, women, people with lower socioeconomic status, people with interpersonal conflicts in relationships and work, frequent social media users, and lower resilience personalities without social support are at higher risk of developing one or more mental health problems.

    Underpaid caregivers for elderly and critical aid providers around the globe are not only at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 but also higher risk for mental health problems.

    Covid19 outbreak is related to following mental health problems

    Stress especially PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder)

    Stress-related to an ongoing pandemic is more pronounced in people who had a direct impact through a pandemic, who have lost their loved ones, who have witnessed isolation and covid19 treatment especially people who needed ventilator support. These people have PTSD and they need the continuous support of family and therapist. Financial stress, social isolation, and working from home is also increasing the undercurrent stress levels of day to day existence.

    Anxiety and fear

    Anxiety and fear are common human reactions to any disaster including pandemic, getting sick, or seeing their loved one sick is the main cause of anxiety. Rising death tolls, social stigma, and misinformation regarding pandemic are increasing fear among the general population.

    Major depressive symptoms

    Social isolation, financial stress, and covid19 related illness have contributed to helplessness and hopelessness which most humans are facing around the globe. People who are on the edge of breaking down are very much vulnerable to commit suicide or crime.

    Insomnia and disruption of the daily routine

    Working from home and lockdown has disrupted routine, which has increased sedentary lifestyle habits. These changes have dysregulated sleep-wake cycles, exhausted adrenals, and imbalanced melatonin serotonin levels. These changes cause insomnia, weight gain, and depression.

    Denial and anger

    Some people are in total denial for the gravity of the covid19 crisis, they angry because they have lost jobs and are suffering financial crises or social isolation due to lockdown. They tend to be more violent and hostile; chances of domestic violence and other crimes rises exponentially as the discontent grows in such individuals. People with low socioeconomic status tend to get angry and contemptuous towards other strata of the population.

    Increased substance use

    Alcoholism and drug usage increase with the rise of mental health problems, people will rather choose liquor over therapist which is unfortunate.

    Suicidal thoughts

    Psychological breakdown and major depression can lead to feeling unworthy and nihilistic. People who don’t seek social and psychological support tend to get suicidal thoughts and few might implement them, hence the need for online therapeutic counselling cannot be argued upon in such cases.

    People are worried about getting sick, when will pandemic end, and what problems the future will bring. The Infodemic of misinformation is adding fuel in the fire of pandemic related worries. These concerns can make one feel out of control and helpless. The covid19 pandemic and the epidemic of misinformation, hate, scapegoating and scare-mongering are taking a toll on mental well-being.

    Anxiety disorders and panic attacks are mental health emergencies and present with symptoms such as confusion, hyperventilation, heightened senses, and insomnia. Suicidal thoughts and violence are also on the rise.

    Getting help when needed is a mandatory rule for better mental health, anxiety or depression will not go away on their own, the delay will just lead to worsening symptoms and traumatizing impact on individuals. If you or your near and dear ones have concerns or if you experience worsening of mental health symptoms, ask for help and support from a professional therapist.

    Covid19 spread concerns have transitioned psychotherapy from face-to-face sessions towards online psychotherapy. To slow down the spread of the COVID-19 virus, people around the world have been advised to socially distance themselves and work from home, which includes your much-needed therapist.

    Online Psychotherapy is a crucial part of the response to the global pandemic crisis. A psychotherapist who is qualified to explore a patient’s situation and psychological sequelae of social isolation, job loss, financial stress, fears of contagion, and grief is a must in this crisis.

    Cognitive-behavioral therapy is used to rectify maladaptive automatic negative thoughts about the pandemic, awfulizing, and catastrophizing the situations that can be stopped by pointing out the reality of the situation. The therapist encourages the patients for behavioral activation and taking time in pleasurable activities, it helps in COVID-related inactivity and loss of regular daily routines and exercises.

    The use of video and telephonic conversation is as effective as face to face counselling and it has become the mainstay of psychotherapy delivery during the pandemic. Visit BetterHelp for booking an appointment for online counselling and support.

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    Last edited: Aug 27, 2020

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