Information about Covid-19 coronavirus

[LISTEN] Mental health in a time of COVID-19

COVID-19 may be causing anxiety, hoarding and panic among some.

Eusebius McKaiser spoke to specialist psychiatrist Dr Mashadi Motlana to talk about mental health in the context of the pandemic.

Motlana has expressed concern about those already with mental health risk factors - particularly those with OCD [obsessive-compulsive disorder] and fear of contamination, general anxiety disorder and those with a hypochondriac type of illness.

Part of anxiety is people feeling overwhelmed, helpless, some anger towards government for not being responsive enough to the epidemic.

Dr Mashadi Motlana, Specialist psychiatrist

In terms of the psychological and physical symptoms, we see people are struggling to sleep, struggling to concentrate due to feeling overwhelmed. Some going to some extent of feeling panic attacks because they believe they might have a cough and that this might be signs of coronavirus.

Dr Mashadi Motlana, Specialist psychiatrist

She says quarantine and isolation also compromise the mental health of people already at risk of depression.

Motlana says anxiety is the most prominent and suggests ways to manage it.

What we should rather be focusing our attention on is limiting our exposure to the bombardment of media on coronavirus and trying to manage our anxiety in that way, finding things that are meaningful - contributing to the community seeing how they can look after others that are as more vulnerable than we are so that we shift the focus on or direct risk.

Dr Mashadi Motlana, Specialist psychiatrist

Taking responsibility in our everyday actions for limiting our spread of the virus so that we also participate in flattening the curb - that is empowering. If you know you are doing your bit, you can control that part.

Dr Mashadi Motlana, Specialist psychiatrist

Other ways in which we can try and manage our anxiety is really by keeping a good sleep routine, rest, exercise - maybe avoid gyms, going for walks, exercising at home and finding a space for some meditation, avoiding distractions such as alcohol and drugs...

Dr Mashadi Motlana, Specialist psychiatrist

If it is a mild anxiety disorder, there are electronic cognitive behaviour therapy programmes that you can find online.

Dr Mashadi Motlana, Specialist psychiatrist

Click on the link below to hear the full conversation...


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