Last year, health experts had already warned about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the mental health of people around the world. Over time, there were also several reports of over two-fold increase in mental health disorders among all age groups. Anxiety and depressive episodes were two expected outcomes of the crisis and associated control policies.
Now, healthcare providers are also discovering other issues. For instance, there were a number of cases of people having a manic episode after recovery from the coronavirus infection.
In addition, new research published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry has also found a high prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder among people after an analysis of existent studies on the development of PTSD post-pandemic during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
After examination of the sourced data, the researchers found nearly twenty-two percent of the global populations had symptoms of PTSD. The risk of developing the disorder was present in all people but the highest in frontline healthcare workers.
According to the researchers, this is due to long work-shifts, consistent pressure, increased work-load, and generally uncomfortable work environments at coronavirus facility centers and hospitals. Secondly, lack of treatment drugs for coronavirus and witnessing a massive number of deaths on a daily basis are also major contributors to PTSD.
After healthcare workers, people who have recovered from the infection are most likely to have the disorder not only because of the severe complications of the virus but the social stigma after it. Some may even not tell others about having the infection out of fear of social abandonment.
Overall, those who are not working at frontlines or have had the infection can also develop symptoms of PTSD due to the impact of strict policies for coronavirus control. One study published in The Lancet Psychiatry from the past year showed that the mental health issues in the UK started within one month of lockdown.
Isolation and quarantine period can impact mental health significantly. Secondly, many people have not been able to travel and meet with their families and friends even during holidays in 2020.
In the new study, a lack of social contact and loneliness during the pandemic were two of the biggest contributors to the risk of developing PTSD. Since those who have a higher risk of developing severe coronavirus infection and complications have the least contact with others, they are at an even higher risk for mental health disorders.
Although the coronavirus vaccines have been approved and are being distributed, it may take months for the pandemic to end. Even then, post-pandemic PTSD can impact a major portion of the global population.
Post-traumatic stress disorder can affect the quality of life to a big extent and is one of the most challenging mental health disorders to treat, which is why researchers warn that post-pandemic PTSD is a big health concern.
For effective prevention of mental disorders, there is a need for early medical intervention, monitoring, and treatment across the globe.