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20- 25% Rise in The Number of Patients with Depression and OCD Since COVID-19 Outbreak

Mumbai: The entire world is reeling under the impact of the novel coronavirus. It has also taken a firm grip over India. The news of the novel coronavirus is taking its toll on one’s mental health. It is causing widespread concern, fear, and stress among people. In the past month, there was a 20- 25% increase in the number of patients with depression and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) since the coronavirus outbreak at Wockhardt Hospital, Mira Road. Instead of getting bogged down, it is the need of the hour to protect mental health. Doctors at Wockhardt Hospital are available for an online virtual consultation.

Coronavirus or COVID-19 is a public health concern in India as it has hit many people. At the time when India is fighting the outbreak of coronavirus, there has been a steep rise in the number of patients with mental conditions. The lockdown has made people live in fear of losing their jobs, savings and even basic needs. Many people are worried about their poor financial condition and survival. These things have negatively impacted the minds of people leading to depression.

Dr. Sonal Anand, Psychiatrist, Wockhardt Hospital, Mira Road, highlighted, “Coronavirus is an emotional and psychological pandemic as well. People are overwhelmed on how to spend 24x7 in the confinement of their 4 walls. Over a month, there is a 20- 25% rise in the number of patients with depression (that involves a low mood and a loss of interest in activities) and OCD which is an anxiety disorder where people have recurring, irrational and unwanted thoughts or ideas (obsessions) that make them feel driven to do something repetitively (compulsions). It increases slowly and gradually. In OCD due to excessive anxiety people tend to do cleaning, bathing, handwashing or disinfecting things way much in excess than what is recommended. The COVID pandemic could be forcing some people to continuously wash their hands even when it is not required, sanitizing too frequently, or disinfecting things again and again, which could be the signs of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD).”

Dr. Anand added, “Likewise, paranoia, anxiety, feeling low and lack of interest in daily activities are the symptoms that are spotted in people. Some people could go through feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness. Since, staying at home and social distancing is recommended, people are living a mundane life now, and are unable to disclose their feelings to anyone. This may trigger a depressive episode in people.”

To deal with depression and OCD, one must only read news via reliable sources. “Do not believe rumors or watch news that is disturbing. Organize your schedule daily by making a list of things you have to do. Avoid excessive pessimistic thinking, spend some ‘ME’ time, balance your household chores by involving each and every family member, maintain a journal, exercise daily, keep yourself well hydrated, stay away from negative things on social media and instead watch entertaining programs. Express your worries and listen to other’s concerns as well. If you feel anxious then seek immediate medical attention,” concluded Dr. Anand.

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