Mental Health Awareness Week 2020: Most prevalent mental health issues in India and how to handle them

COVID-19 has led to many mental health issues. Dr Pallavi Aravind Joshi, Consultant Psychiatrist, Columbia Asia Hospital Whitefield shares the most common mental health issues prevalent right now and how you can handle them.
Health & Fitness,Mental Health Awareness Week,Mental Health Problems,Self-isolationMental Health Awareness Week 2020: Most prevalent mental health issues in India and how to handle them
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The country is definitely going through a difficult time at the very moment, due to self-isolation which has led to social-distancing. Many health issues are knocking the doors of many people across the country. People who have pre-existent disorders are suffering but due to additional stressors, people who didn’t have such history are suffering too or getting prone to psychological illnesses. 

But what and how are we going to deal with mental health issues. Below are the following specifications: 

Major mental issues faced by people: 

1) Major depressive disorders.

2) Adjustment disorder with depressed mood.

3) Anxiety issues.

4) Substance use disorders/ Addictions.

Other minor behavioural disorders are: 

1) Anger dysregulations.

2) Disruption of normal routines.

These minor disorders are faced by everyone, which only increases stress and may lead to depression. 

Reasons for an increase in mental disorders: 

Social Distancing

Distancing ourselves from the people whom we used to meet regularly is the biggest cause of mental illness right now. Other than this, we have stopped taking care of ourselves like dressing up, grooming ourselves, etc. Not being able to meet people have pent up emotions leading to an increase in stress. 

Disruption in our routine

It is always good to have a fixed routine. Do not let diversions such as excess thinking about financial issues, or the future get the best of you – it can mess up your mind. So, the productive division of time plays a vital role. Try ignoring the uncertainties of the current situation.

Staying away from the loved one’s

Being in touch with your loved ones only through digital platforms can be quite stressful. But we have no idea about the coming times, so ignore unnecessary thoughts that may lead to mental health issues.

Addiction for substances

The lack of recreational activities is leading to a lot of issues currently. Even liquor and other such drugs were not available for 2 months, so the substance addiction might reach its peak in the next few weeks. Develop new hobbies to put negative thoughts at bay and avoid addiction. 

Sleep disorders

Disruption of daily routines has definitely changed our sleep patterns too. Other than that, excessive thinking about COVID-19 and the way it might affect us can be another cause for sleepless nights. Avoid such thought processes. 

Conflicts with the loved ones

There has been an increase in the number of strained relationship cases. This is because of spending more time with your loved one than usual and lack of emotional vent. Use this time in the right way, take it positively and be happy that you are having more than one meal with your partner. Use this time to sort out previous conflicts and to bond with your long-time friends.

If you still continue to have thoughts about a specific issue for more than 2 weeks, feeling hopeless, helpless, constant sadness or having any self-harming thoughts, then you must seek medical help. 

Ways to deal with mental issues: 

1) Have a fixed routine.

2) Give yourself space and required time.

3) Exercise regularly, it channels your negative energy to a positive one and also helps in releasing endorphins in the brain, a natural mood lifter.

4) Intake nutritious diet. 

5) Understand the difference between under and beyond control issues. Topics like COVID-19, job market crashing, monetary loss are not in your control. But keeping yourself safe and prepared is something that can be done by any individual. Thinking about issues beyond your control will only increase stress. 

6) Decision vs Burden. Having a thought like- “I don’t want to do the job, but I have to”, will definitely increase your burden. Tell yourself the positive outcomes that you will achieve after doing a specific task. Let your decision be a positive choice, taken wholly by you. 

7) Convert challenges into opportunities. At the very moment, we have a lot of time that can be used to learn something new. Use technology in a productive way. Remember, creativity does bring in positivity in one’s life.  

8) Limit toxicity. Stay away from all toxic thoughts, people, news and habits. Use positive affirmations instead.  

9) Listen to your inner feelings. Because intuitions do work. Give yourself time to process your inner thoughts, listen to them as they can also make a huge difference in the betterment of your mental health.

Hence, use this time in bringing out a positive mindset by adopting conscious, positive efforts

 By Dr. Pallavi Aravind Joshi, Consultant Psychiatrist, Columbia Asia Hospital Whitefield.

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