Mind your mind! Post-Covid mental health issues are common, here’s a checklist to follow

You said have a good trip to your COVID-19 infection months ago, but still don’t feel like you’re back in your normal headspace? Are there more pronounced ups and downs than before, or does the blue last longer? We all know that taking care of our Health is of the utmost importance after an encounter with the deadly Covid virus, and in that regard, many of us line up our vitamins and zinc supplements on my nightstand, dust off our yoga mats and try a few home routines, and even stop to smoke. thoughts. However, in our enthusiastic readiness to embrace a healthier and more holistic lifestyle, the first and foremost thing that should not be ignored is our mental health.

Did you know that a COVID-19 infection alleviates our risk of mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression, substance use and sleep disorders, up to a year after the virus leaves our body? That’s what the findings of a study, published in The BMJ on Wednesday, suggest. It also explains why addressing mental health disorders among COVID-19 survivors should be a priority. According to study lead author Ziyad Al-Aly, COVID-19 infections have contributed to more than 14.8 million new cases of mental health disorders worldwide and 2.8 million in the US.

“Our calculations do not take into account the untold number of people, probably millions, who suffer in silence due to mental health stigma or lack of resources or support,” said Al-Aly, a clinical epidemiologist at the University of Washington.

The mental health study

For this particular study, the researchers used data from the US Department of Veterans Affairs’ national health care databases to estimate the risks of mental health outcomes in people who survived at least 30 days after a positive result in the PCR test between March 2020 and January 2021.

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They compared mental health outcomes in the COVID-19 dataset with two other groups of people not infected with the virus: a control group of more than 5.6 million patients who did not have COVID-19 during the same period. of time; and a control group of more than 5.8 million patients from March 2018 to January 2019, long before the pandemic began.

Most of the study participants were older white men. However, due to its large size, the study included more than 1.3 million women, more than 2.1 million black participants, and a large number of people of various ages. The COVID-19 group was further divided into those who were or were not admitted to hospital during the acute phase of infection. Information on potentially influential factors including age, race, gender, lifestyle, and medical history was also collected.

The researchers then followed the three groups for a year to estimate the risks of prespecified mental health outcomes, including anxiety, depression and stress disorders, substance use disorders, neurocognitive impairment and sleep disorders.

Compared to the uninfected control group, people with COVID-19 showed a 60 percent increased risk of any mental health diagnosis or prescription at one year. When the researchers examined mental health disorders separately, they found that COVID-19 was associated with an additional 24 in 1,000 people with sleep disorders per year, 15 in 1,000 with depressive disorders, 11 in 1,000 with neurocognitive impairment, and 4 out of 1000 with sleep disorders. any substance use disorder. Similar results were found when the COVID-19 group was compared to the historical control group.

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Last but not least, avoid stressors – they can be people, jobs or places, you name it, put your self-preservation mode on and avoid them at all costs.

How to take care of mental health?

The first thing to do is make mental health your priority. During the pandemic, the uncertainty of human life has become more apparent and it can be stressful for any individual to deal with the transient and unreliable nature of the times we live in.

Therefore, the best thing you can do is to focus on the present moment. Meditation and mindful living help you be more present. But living in the moment is not the magic cure for anything. So if you think there is some past trauma that you need to address or anxiety about upcoming life events that are keeping you from calming down, know that it is completely normal to feel this way, and if you feel overwhelmed, seek professional help.

Allow yourself to feel. The last two years have thrown a lot at us, and it’s important to know that it’s okay to feel drained, depleted, or just overwhelmed. Repressing feelings will not make them go away.

If you think that a strange, inexplicable or even explainable sadness has settled in, and you feel enveloped by it, talk to someone or, better yet, seek a professional.

Pick up the phone often and stay connected with friends and family. They are the ones who know you best and can sometimes help you identify feelings that you weren’t paying attention to.

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Eat nutritious meals that fill you up and keep your body energized. Also, get enough sleep. However, if you’re having trouble sleeping, talk to a sleep expert, try chamomile tea or read a book, do whatever you think will help regularize your sleep cycle.

Last but not least, avoid stressors – they can be people, jobs or places, you name it, put your self-preservation mode on and avoid them at all costs.

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