Recovered Covid patients need family, social support

Recovered Covid patients need family, social support

Tribune photo

Minna Zutshi
Tribune News Service
Ludhiana, September 29

Recovered Covid-19 patients need family, social and community support. According to medical experts, this support is required extensively post recovery also. About 60 per cent people who have recovered from the acute phase of Covid-19 may still experience chronic fatigue symptoms of varying degree which delay the recovery process and impair the quality of life, say the experts.

Painful after-effects

According to Dr Gupta, despite good recovery rate, getting Covid itself is like a bad dream that leaves painful after-effects, especially physical, behavioural and psychological drain-out, which is termed as chronic fatigue symptoms. “These after-effects could be due to the damage caused by tiny virus inside the body, effects of medications, compromised immunity and exhausted body resources, limited access of nursing and health professionals, prolonged psychological stress, anxiety, isolation, feeling of insecurity, fear of death, economic/work/job loss and social stigma attached.”

According to a Ludhiana-based expert, Dr Rajeev Gupta, who is a senior psychiatrist at Manas Hospital, the chronic fatigue symptoms, segregated into physical, behavioural and psychological categories, include excessive tiredness, fatigue, weak muscle strength, lingering cough, shortness of breath, lost sense of smell or taste, headache, generalised body pains and gastrointestinal/urinary disturbances. Other related symptoms may be skin rashes, irritability, crying spells, social withdrawal, restlessness or agitation, motor retardation, reduced self-care, use of alcohol, smoking or drugs. The list of psychological symptoms is long – sadness in mood, passivity/apathy, apprehensions, fearfulness/phobia, reduced memory/concentration, sleep difficulty, appetite disturbances, lost motivation in work/job, suicide ideation, gloominess, feeling of de-realisation or de-personalisation.

“The symptoms can extend several months after recovery which make the patient vulnerable to acute stress reaction and sever psychopathology i.e. major depression, bipolar, panic disorder, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder and psychosis,” says Dr Gupta.

Non-judgmental listening, showing empathy, assuring a speedy recovery, helping the recovered patients adopt a daily routine that includes healthy diet and good sleep are helpful.

In case symptoms get worse, the family members should not hesitate to seek professional help such as consultation with psychiatrist or counsellor or psychologist whose expert advice may help in coping with Covid-19 after-effects and symptoms.

A 35-year-old patient, who recovered from Covid-19 two months ago, says that as a patient he found coping with the uncertainty that the pandemic has brought with it, a tough job. “Learning to tolerate uncertainty, adopting ways to reduce anxiety and stress – it is all psychologically exhausting and emotionally draining. I realised that by challenging our need for certainty, we let go of negative behaviours, reduce stress and worry, and free up time and energy for more practical purposes. I also learnt that it is important not to focus on worst-case scenarios and half-truths/rumours propagated on social media.”

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