Covid-19 has become a global health emergency, posing not only physical but also psychological risks to those who are exposed to sudden deaths or threats of death. For example, healthcare workers who are in close contact with covid-19 patients are not only exposed to the virus on a regular basis, but may also be witnessing increased illnesses, deaths, and supply shortages. Moreover, covid-19 patients who are admitted to the hospital also endure social isolation, physical discomfort, and dread of dying. As a result, post traumatic stress disorder or PTSD is more prone to develop.
Not every person who has been hospitalised for covid-19 in the past is susceptible to PTSD. Both the patient as well as the caregiver are particularly sensitive to developing PTSD, especially because they were unable to find ICU, hospital beds, breathing devices or relevant medications required in the time of need.
On the other hand, war veterans, children, and those who have been in an accident, disaster, or other similar traumatic situations, such as physical or sexual abuse, are more prone to develop PTSD. The sudden and unexpected death of a loved one as well as incidents involving a threat to life, injury, or sexual violence, are all common triggers and cues for developing PTSD. Medical events and procedures involving a life-threatening situation are connected with relatively high rates of PTSD development, even when they are successful.
Clinical symptoms usually appear after a few weeks of the stressful event, but they can appear months or years afterwards. People between the ages of 25 and 45 are particularly susceptible to PTSD. They are the ones who look after their families and provide health securities. People in the covid-19 era are shown scrounging for oxygen beds, quarantine establishments, and other necessities. If a person is unable to organise medical assistance for his or her loved ones, this can also lead to feelings of guilt.
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The affected person relives the event through flashbacks, nightmares, and negative emotional states, which is a key component of PTSD. Reminders of the event, such as words, objects, or settings, might cause a bout of extreme anxiety, and the person may re-experience the symptoms associated with the index traumatic event. Flashbacks might be triggered by anything even remotely related to the incident.
A national study conducted by Manipal, which is under publication, revealed that doctors showed more secondary traumatic stress than nurses. What’s more, female doctors showed more secondary traumatic stress than male doctors.
It is recommended that you see a doctor or a psychiatrist as soon as possible, because PTSD can continue for decades, if left untreated. People with PTSD do not recover easily and in some circumstances, the disorder is persistent and insidious, worsening rather than improving over time. PTSD is linked to significant distress and disruption of social and occupational functioning, which can lead to serious problems in relationships and at work.
It is advised that a patient suffering from PTSD should take up these three activities for faster recovery:
The outbreak of covid-19 has given rise to several potential sources of trauma that could contribute to or worsen PTSD. Physical separation and other forms of restraint can also make treatment more difficult for some people. Self-help methods may be beneficial to those with PTSD. It’s also crucial to have social support systems in place.