31. March 2020
Germany is in a state of emergency. We are all complying with the nationwide contact ban to contain the spread of the Corona virus. Life is turned upside down, as routines, social and professional contacts, and leisure activities are eliminated. For the psyche, this is a long-lasting test of endurance. This applies in principle to all people, but people with a history of mental illness suffer particularly badly from the situation.
Every day, or rather every hour, new information pours in on us and just about every conversation inevitably leads to the topic of the Corona crisis. No one is unaffected by this. Thoughts revolve around the topic and trigger feelings that we otherwise do not experience, at least in the current intensity. This also has an impact on our mental health.
The Corona crisis affects feelings and thoughts
Psychological health means that in the long run, positive feelings prevail in life. Under normal circumstances, we are well able to cope with negative experiences and bad feelings. At the moment, however, our psyche is virtually “flooded” with negative feelings and thoughts. Many people understandably find it difficult to detach themselves from these and maintain psychological well-being.
The chart shows what thoughts and feelings can occur as a result of the Corona Crisis. Taking an inventory like this can be helpful in making us aware of the feelings and thoughts that are present at the moment. Perhaps you can add to the list their individual feelings and thoughts.
Insecurity, longing for normality, uncertainty, hopelessness, surreality, distortion, fear, panic, bewilderment, disbelief, powerlessness, loneliness, dejection, urge to move, restriction, being trapped, powerlessness, loss of control etc.
Solidarity, cohesion, fighting spirit, drive, willingness to help, confidence, gratitude..
Financial worries, existential worries, worries about their own health and the health of relatives, brooding, concentration difficulties, Technical difficulties and communication problems in the home working, Home Schooling as a major challenge for children and parents, How long can this go on? Can Germany cope? When will the contact ban be relaxed? The extent of the problem cannot yet be estimated.
More time with the family, advancing digitalization, improvements for the climate.
It becomes clear: negative feelings and thoughts currently predominate. Mentally healthy people manage to block out the negative side of thoughts and feelings in the meantime, distract themselves and maintain as much normality as possible. But what about people whose psyche is already under attack?
Pre-mentally ill people are particularly sensitive to their thoughts and feelings. Corona crisis triggers patterns of thinking and feeling that place a heavy burden on the psyche. Acutely ill patients undergoing psychiatric-psychotherapeutic treatment may experience an intensification of their symptoms. Former patients who have actually overcome their mental illness may relapse. At this point, depressive and anxiety disorders are discussed as examples, since they are particularly common.
The Corona pandemic and depression
People suffering from depression know feelings of hopelessness and dejection only too well, as they are among the typical symptoms of depression. Many tend to brood heavily even independently of the Corona crisis, for example, when it comes to the topic of the future. These feelings and ruminations are fueled by the corona crisis and can take on critical proportions. In addition, proven intervention strategies for depression are currently limited. For example, social interaction, building enjoyable activities, and creating a structured daily schedule are all part of therapy. The corona crisis makes this more difficult and presents those affected with completely new challenges.
The corona pandemic and anxiety disorders
In many cases of anxiety disorders, concerns revolve around one’s own health or the health of loved ones. Fear of a Corona infection can exacerbate an already heightened sense of anxiety in general. In addition, many sufferers are very sensitive to bodily signals such as palpitations, changes in breathing, temperature sensations, or pain. The negative thoughts and feelings caused by the corona crisis can trigger these sensations, creating a vicious cycle of anxiety that can lead to panic attacks. Financial shortages can also cause anxiety. These existential fears are currently on the rise. The economy, employers and employees are severely affected by the Corona pandemic and more and more people have to work reduced hours or even lose their jobs.`
The care of persons with mental illness
For all mentally ill people, the difficulty is precisely that psychiatric and psychotherapeutic care is affected by the Corona pandemic. Normal office hours and appointments are often eliminated. At best, they are replaced by telephone, or video therapies, yet for some patients this is not enough to get them out of an acute depressive slump or a massive anxiety spiral. For patients who are not yet in treatment, seeking medical and psychotherapeutic involvement is further complicated.
The worldwide impact of the novel coronavirus Sars-CoV-2 also has an influence on the daily hospital routine at the LIMES Schlossklinik Rostocker Land. In order to continue to be there for the patients, LIMES Schlossklinik is following the current developments and is in close exchange with the responsible authorities. In compliance with all requirements, comprehensive preventive and behavioral measures have been taken to protect the health of patients and employees.
Especially in this exceptional situation, people suffer from psychological stress. Fear for their own health and the well-being of loved ones, as well as financial worries, are almost unbearable for many. “It is precisely these affected people that we would like to help during this difficult time and offer short-term inpatient crisis intervention and stabilizing therapies,” says head physician Dr. Brolund-Spaether
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