COVID-19 pandemic: Incidence of phobia, anxiety disorder up: Experts

Minna Zutshi

Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 24

A few tips

  • Stay informed

  • Do not keep watching news the entire day

  • Remain in communication with your near and dear ones, video chatting helps

  • Follow a dincharya (daily routine)

  • Stay active

  • Hobbies help

  • Music therapy, art therapy are healing

  • Meditation, playing with pets, talks with friends have a positive impact

Even as the ‘normal behaviour’ is registering a change in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, psychologists and counsellors from the city are reporting an increase in the incidence of phobias and anxiety disorders among people. “People are experiencing social isolation. Problems like anxiety, depression, Obsessive Compulsive Disorders (OCDs) are showing an increase,” says a city-based psychologist and counselor, Dr Ravinder Kala.

Emotional deprivation is exacerbating these problems. “We, as a people, are used to touching and hugging. But with restricted social interactions, the people are feeling emotionally deprived,” she adds.

A 35-year-old Ludhiana-based schoolteacher, requesting anonymity, says the pandemic dominates his thoughts. “The first thought that crosses my mind in the morning is Covid-related. I worry about the safety and health of my children. At night, too, I have anxious thoughts about Covid-19. I get very worried when youngsters in the family show carelessness about precautions and guidelines,” says the teacher.

According to experts, in some cases, the precautions become ritualistic and elaborate to a pathological degree. There is a feeling of loneliness and a worry about life. Such people are too scared even to venture out of their homes. Those who are already anxious and have low coping abilities are more affected. At the other extreme are the individuals who throw all caution to the winds. “Whenever we face any potentially threatening situation, with time our anxiety level becomes a little less intense. This is due to habituation. In fact, habituation makes us less fearful and also less cautious,” explains Dr Kala.

An Ayurveda consultant and counselor, Dr Suneet Aurora, talks about ‘emotional immunity’. “As the world grapples with the Covid-19 pandemic, the term ‘emotional immunity’ assumes significance. Just as we need immunity in our body to prevent and fight infections and inflammations, so we need a strong emotional immunity too,” he said during a web-talk. He defines ‘emotional immunity’ as having a balanced mind that is resistant to negative stimulus. “Lockdown was same for everyone, but people suffered according to the condition of their physical, emotional and financial immunity.”