Fear of death rises with increasing COVID cases: Psychiatrist

Hyderabad: These can be difficult times for all of us as we hear about the spread of COVID-19 from all over the world, through television, social media, newspapers, family, friends, and other sources. The most common emotion faced by all is ‘fear.’ It is making people anxious, panicky, and can even possibly make us think, say, or do things that we might not consider appropriate under normal circumstances.

Speaking to siasat.com a few well-known names in the field of psychiatry revealed how the lockdown has gotten them more engaged. The doctors have also reported that they are following the government’s rules and are perusing their work online.

Dr. Jagadesh Rao, Dr. G Prasad Rao, and Dr. Swetha were on the same page in pinpointing some major complaints that have arisen by the forced ‘solitary confinement,’ perceived and real, from the people.

The doctors pointed out that the most common problems are claustrophobia (extreme or irrational fear of confined places), anxiety and fear, aggression, frustration, depression, financial stress, obsessive-compulsive disorders (anxiety disorder in which time people have recurring, unwanted thoughts, ideas or sensations (obsessions) that make them feel driven to do something repetitively (compulsions).

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“During the first and second phases of the lockdown, the numbers of clients were not as much as now in the fifth phase. The reason behind is the increase of COVID cases and death toll,” said Dr. Prasad.

“Early the spread of the virus was the only concern but now the concerns have increased to that of financial conditions and also the other seasonal diseases like Dengue,” he added.

Those who have recovered are in for more fear

“We are also getting clients who have recovered from COVID facing depression. The reasons behind their depressions are likely to be finance, societal acceptance, and also the fear of contracting the virus again,” said Dr. Swetha.

When asked which sector is mostly affected, the doctors answered anonymously — ‘Mothers.’ They said “Mothers are calling us again and again and asking how to balance their family lifestyle due to lockdown. They are also worried about ups and downs in their relationships with their spouses.”

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Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) on the rise

“The fear of the virus has increased OCD cases in the city. Several cases show how people are constantly washing their houses, growing vegetables in their home premises, eating medicine like paracetamol even for mild shivering or mild body warmth,” said Dr. Prasad.

Instances have also reported how people are washing their homes at least twice a day even if no outsiders visit, washing vegetables with warm water several times, washing hair with Dettol liquid along with many other cleanings as well as hygienic activities.

Doctors cannot stress the necessity of people to take precautions. However, at the same time, they overdoing such protective measures can also disturb their mental health.

In lieu of such excessive behavior, they have recommended increasing their indoor activities such as reading books, playing indoor games like chess, and most importantly a positive attitude along with atmosphere home.

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