In Kashmir, anxiety, depression common among Covid survivors

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A cross-sectional study aimed to assess the prevalence of anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and obsessive-compulsive (OC) symptoms among COVID-19 survivors in Kashmir has confirmed the presence of these symptoms among them.

The Department of Psychiatry, Government Medical College Srinagar, under Dr. Shabir Ahmad Dar and others, and the Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences Kashmir conducted the hospital-based cross-sectional study among Covid survivors in collaboration with the Department of Respiratory Medicine, Government Medical College, Srinagar.

The study revealed psychological morbidity in a pandemic not only affects the patients directly but also the general population.

“Knowledge of the risk factors for COVID-19 mortality can affect a person’s perception of the likelihood of death from COVID-19, leading to traumatizing experience and subsequent psychiatric symptoms in patients with COVID-19. PTSD is a stress-related psychological illness that occurs immediately after a trauma, such as a severe accident or exposure to violence,” it said.

It said that Covid survivors who were above 50 years of age experienced a greater level of PTSD compared to younger ones. Similar trends were seen in those experiencing OC symptoms.

The study said that 82.4% were obsessed with fears of contamination and an equal percentage (82.4%) had compulsive hand washing. The etiology of OCD is associated with the interplay of multiple risk factors such as genes, environment and life stressors.

It added that OCD contamination symptoms were associated with age above 50 years and those who were employed in government setup. These findings are in contrast with other studies reporting a significant association of OCD with younger age.

It found that age and hospital stays were factors affecting the rate of depressive symptoms in COVID-19 patients. “As same as anxiety symptoms, patients aged 46–60 years also had a higher rate of depressive symptoms. The results of this study also showed that depressive symptoms were associated with anxiety symptoms, and the stressors that influenced anxiety symptoms increased the possibility of depressive symptoms, including financial burden and family responsibilities,” it added.

“Our data support the proposal that public health advice during pandemics should incorporate mental health wellness campaigns aiming to reduce the psychological impact of pandemics. Cognitive behaviour therapy and interpersonal therapy need to be explored as part of overall mental health-care package intervention,” the study said. (KNO)

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