More people prone to mental health issues due to COVID fear


Psychiatrists have warned that the country might see an unaccounted rise in the number of people suffering from psychological stress and other mental health issues due to the increasing fear of COVID-19 spread and months-long lockdown imposed in a bid to subdue the virus.

Psychiatrist Dr Sagun Panta at Tribhuvan University’s Teaching Hospital said that active and healthy people who are confined to their houses for months have started showing symptoms of mental health problems.

The common psychological disorders recorded in relation to the situation created are: depressive disorder, insomnia disorder, anxiety disorder, alcoholism, smoking issues, weakening of daily performance, irritation and lack of confidence and lack of concentration.

Dr Panta said, “People, despite their hardship in the first couple of months, had been able to cope with the problems, but with the government decision to reimpose the lockdown, more people have started showing symptoms of psychological stress and anxiety .”

Panta further said the number of people with suicidal tendency, depression and anxiety was increasing mainly due to financial insecurity.

These problems lead people to alcoholism and smoking. Similarly, some people have started becoming victims of unwarranted fear of contracting the virus and many people have stopped venturing out of their houses due to fear.

People who have recovered from the virus are also suffering from post-traumatic disorder. Recovered people also have fear of being stigmatised in society, and have developed the habit of remaining aloof.

Similarly, most of the people contracting the virus, normally feel that they are facing difficulty in breathing and go through unwanted fear of dying.

These psychological impacts in the long term can lead to serious mental health issues. In some cases, this can lead to suicide, according to Dr Panta.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on September 1, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.