POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER: WHY COVID-19 SURVIVORS NEED MENTAL HEALTH FOLLOW UP
With the infectivity rate of COVID-19, surviving it wouldn’t be a walk in the park as the immune system must have worked extremely hard to ward off the dreadful virus. In addition to what the body went through, the mind which is a vital of the body must have endured a lot of scenarios during the isolation period from loss of fellow victims, betrayal from friends and family members and the fact that victims cannot see their beloved ones for the duration of isolation, these life events could negatively impact a survivor’s mental health. This article aims to describe Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder(PTSD) and illuminate four possible influences that could trigger its occurrence in COVID-19 survivors.
WHAT IS POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER (PTSD)
American Psychiatry Association defined PTSD as a disorder that can occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event, symptoms could be in form of flashbacks, nightmares, feeling of sadness, panic or resentment they may also feel disconnected from people occurring as a result of disturbing thoughts and feelings related to their experience long after the event occurred. PTSD is one the most recorded form of psychiatry complication of traumatic experience. Severity of trauma, gender, lack of social support are some of the features linked to developing PTSD A psychiatrist or psychologist are the best to diagnose PTSD.
- FEELING INVALIDATION: Several videos of COVID-19 survivors trying to convince the public about the reality of its existence have been met with quite a lot of hostile responses, the fact that some members of the public still think COVID-19 survivors were part of a big scam, could pose an undesirable effect on their mental wellbeing thereby prompting possible PTSD symptoms.
- RECALLING SYMPTOM: While some survivors were asymptomatic, others went through the worst possible symptoms and bringing to mind such life-threatening experience, could provoke certain behaviour in an individual.
- REACTIONS FROM LOVED ONES: Reading survivors experiences, the most common form of betrayal has been from their loved ones not calling to check up on them or visiting upon being discharged with some totally disconnecting from them, these may possibly arouse feelings of sadness.
- PUBLIC DISCRIMINATION: Being discharged from the isolation centre could still put a strain on a survivor’s relationship with neighbours and coworkers, with some refusing to interact with them, to retailers refusing to sell them items for fear of contracting the disease. Discrimination poses adverse emotional impact thereby, upsetting mental balance these has led to the government starting another campaign focusing on stopping discrimination against COVID-19 survivors.
One or more could be triggers for survivors but what remains certain is their need for mental health follow-up which could enable them discuss their feelings and ensuring adequate monitoring, possible interventions will also be suggested to assist with coping with possible PTSD symptoms. The duration of the follow-up can only be decided by the attending psychiatrist or psychologist based on the symptoms manifested.