Not only employees, employers too feeling nervous: Leading psychiatrists

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New Delhi, May 12 (IANS) Emerging from weeks of strict lockdown, the level of anxiety seems to be crossing an all-time high amid lingering fear of contagion of coronavirus, feel leading psychiatrists of the country.
One major concern is job anxiety where people fear losing employment, as the economy takes a dip during a complete shutdown of businesses, says Sandeep Vohra, a renowned neuropsychiatrist presently dealing with cases related to ‘Covid induced anxiety’.
“Cases of anxiety and nervousness leading to panic have doubled. Much of the cases stem from job anxiety or loss in business. Both the employees and the employers are feeling nervous,” said R. Chandra, a psychiatrist associated with several top private hospitals in Delhi-NCR.
Sanjay Gupta (name changed) works with a software giant in Gurugram. The 44-year-old techie is one among scores of executives who have got major salary cuts this month.
Initially nervous, Gupta is now suffering from panic attacks. Gupta fears that he might lose his job, making it difficult to run his home. Gupta is now being treated by a Greater Kailash based psychiatrist through tele-medicine.
The situation is more serious at the government hospitals. “Our OPDs have started. But even at the emergency (ward), cases of anxiety, depression have increased by 30 to 40 per cent,” a top psychiatrist at the Central government run Safdarjung Hospital told IANS.
Almost all psychiatrists believe that coronavirus has caused a mass emotional turmoil, and once the lockdown is lifted, there would be more cases of mental health than any other disease.
In fact, such a massive impact of the virus was unexpected and its effect in the near future remains uncertain. “People who are sensitive and emotional may fall prey to bouts of anxiety. Similarly those who were already suffering from depression or acute anxiety are facing more difficulty in adjusting to the present scenario,” said Sandeep Vohra while citing an example, “There is a 45-year-old lady, having a bit of anxiety. In due course of time, her condition worsened so much (due to fear of coronavirus) that I had to put her on medicines.”
Cases of panic disorders have also increased. In many cases people fear that they have contracted Covid-19 or might get infected if they come in contact with any stranger.
“Recently, a patient arrived at my clinic who complained of contracting coronavirus, though he had no symptoms at all. In a day this patient went five times to a leading South Delhi hospital to get himself tested for Covid-19. Though he felt short of breath, it was due to nervousness. The number of such patients is increasing… and we have no option but to prescribe medicines to calm them,” said T.P. Jindal, who has been practicing for almost 40 years in East Delhi.
It is not only the employees, the employers too are feeling nervous in the season of lockdown. Disrupted supply chains, crippled transport services, closure of institutes, shutting down of markets and complete stoppage of import-exports have affected all businesses across all verticals.
Businessmen, fearing losses, are also queuing up at the clinics. “Everyone has to get mentally prepared for the new normal. Everyone should have a plan B. If one sector (of business) doesn’t seem to revive, they should think about other alternatives,” said Vohra, who had few words of advice: “Do not follow news about Covid-19 on channels all the time. Do not surf news on WhatsApp and other mediums. Excess of such stories would disturb the mind. Instead, watch some comedy. Do Yoga. Keep fit. And be positive.”