Anxiety disorders and their relationship with COVID-19

physical distancing

(United Nations COVID-19 Response, Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by our two of our passionate readers, Andressa Piva de Melo and Beatriz Miotto Onaka, two fourth year medical students at Unicesumar – Brazil. The opinions expressed within reflect only the writers’ views and not necessarily The European Sting’s position on the issue.


For months, the world has faced one of the worst pandemics ever seen: the one caused by the covid-19. The virus that attacks the respiratory system has already caused thousands of deaths worldwide, as well as, it is causing a great impact on the economic scenario. In addition, there is an impairment of the population’s mental health, especially related to generalized anxiety disorder, which is a public health problem directly linked to the reduction in quality of life.

Augusto Cury considers that the excess of information and stimuli trigger the syndrome of accelerated thinking, characterized by excessive thoughts at high speed that lead to the increase of typical symptoms of anxiety. In the current context, this concept would be related with the pandemic, the large number of fatal victims of covid-19 infection, social isolation, the wait for effective treatment and the excess of “Fake news” that brought damage to mental health with symptoms such as excessive fear, sleep disorders and worsening of depression.

In this context, health professionals are particularly affected, because they are at the forefront of fighting the virus and, therefore, are more susceptible to being infected, are exposed to death on a large scale, in addition to being overburdened and often frustrated already that scientific knowledge about the disease is still limited.

With this in mind, there are several ways to manage self and try to control anticipatory suffering. One way is to understand that this is an atypical moment and that fear, anger, anxiety are expected reactions, seek to organize your day in order to optimize your tasks by reducing downtime, perform sleep hygiene, try relaxation techniques such as meditation , for example.

In addition, there are wiretapping centers that serve as a support network, such as the reception time group, formed by professionals in Paris whose aim is to mitigate the negative impact caused by isolation. Like telemedicine, it is a mechanism that takes support regardless of where the patient is, reaching the common goal of caring for people.

References

1.    Associação Brasileira de Psiquiatria. Transtorno de ansiedade: Diagnóstico e tratamento, 2008. https://diretrizes.amb.org.br/_BibliotecaAntiga/transtornos-de-ansiedade-diagnostico-e-tratamento.pdf

2.    Xiang YT, Jin Y, Cheung T. Joint International Collaboration to Combat Mental Health Challenges During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic [published online ahead of print, 2020 Apr 10]. JAMA Psychiatry. 2020;10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2020.1057. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2020.1057

3.    Li W, Yang Y, Liu ZH, Zhao YJ, Zhang Q, Zhang L, Cheung T, Xiang YT. Progressão dos serviços de saúde mental durante o surto de COVID-19 na China. Int J Biol Sci 2020; 16 (10): 1732-1738. doi: 10.7150 / ijbs.45120. Disponível em http://www.ijbs.com/v16p1732.htm

4.    Cury AJ. Ansiedade: Como enfrentar o mal do século: a síndrome do pensamento acelerado: como e por que a humanidade adoeceu coletivamente, das crianças aos adultos / Augusto Cury – 1ª ed. – São Paulo: Saraiva, 2014.

5.    Schmidt, B., Crepaldi, M. A., Bolze, S. D. A., Neiva-Silva, L., & Demenech, L. M. (2020). Saúde mental e intervenções psicológicas diante da pandemia do novo coronavírus (COVID-19). Estudos de Psicologia (Campinas), 37, e200063. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/1982-0 275202037e200063

6.    https://brasiltelemedicina.com.br/artigo/telemedicina-coronavirus/

7.    https://www.rfi.fr/br/europa/20200321-psic%C3%B3logas-brasileiras-em-paris-se-re%C3%BAnem-para-fazer-escuta-solid%C3%A1ria-em-tempos-de-c

About the authors

Written by Andressa Piva de Melo and Beatriz Miotto Onaka, fourth year medical students at Unicesumar – Brazil. Andressa is a member of the academic league of Gastroenterology (LAMAG) and Beatriz is the extension director of the academic league of oncology and hematology (LAMAOH).

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