If someone contracts the Covid-19 virus, the road to recovery is not an easy process. First, the person needs to isolate themselves from other members in their house. This puts patients in a tough spot because now, their daily life comes to a halt and social interaction becomes limited. If this person has been diagnosed with clinical depression before, things can become more severe for them.
In case you or someone around you is going through such similar feelings, then this article is for you. IndiaToday.in recently got in touch with clinical psychologists to talk to them about what a person suffering from depression should do to deal with Covid isolation.
A clinical psychologist from Delhi, Dr Samriddhi Khatri, said that this is an important problem during Covid times. She said, "There are various grades of depression - mild, moderate and severe - depending on the severity and changes due to Covid. Additionally, Covid might push a moderately depressed person to severe depression. In such cases, it is essential to continue with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) - eating, sleeping and bathing. It is difficult to do these things, but one should not stop doing them."
If a person has been diagnosed with clinical depression, Covid isolation can be tough for them. Photo: Pexels
CONTINUE WITH YOUR TREATMENTS
Dr Parul Adlakha, a clinical psychologist from Delhi, said, "A Covid-patient diagnosed with depression should continue with their treatment more than ever right now - be it by attending their therapy sessions or eating medication given by their doctors. It is necessary because when a clinically depressed person is in isolation, the circumstances are bound to affect their mental health. So, for people who have mild depressive symptoms, I suggest they follow a routine with some physical exercises. This helps in regulating the mood and gives them a purpose throughout the day."
Dr Samriddhi adds, "It is often difficult for people with depression to manage on their own. Therefore, if one is undergoing psychotherapy, it is essential to continue with their sessions so that their therapist can help them manage their ADL schedule and advise them to add rewards to reinforce the schedule. If someone is taking medication, they can get in touch with their psychiatrists and ask them how to alter the dosage. I have heard in some cases that patients stopped taking their medicines while trying to treat Covid symptoms, this worsened their depression symptoms."
OVERCOME INTRUSIVE THOUGHTS
Dr Parul said, "One can also involve themselves in engaging activities like watching television or browsing their phones or something they like, rather than listening to bad news or focusing on being unwell and stuck inside a room. This will help you overcome intrusive thoughts."
It is okay to ask for help Photo: Pexels
SEEK OUT HELP
Dr Samriddhi suggested that if a person with depression is unable to do the daily activities on their own because they don't have any help, they can always reach out to people. They can ask a close one to build a schedule for them and continuously keep a check on them. She said, "People who get assigned these tasks should remember not to force, pester, or criticise the person. They are trying to do their best, so appreciate them for their progress. Additionally, if the patient cannot take a psychotherapy session, a family member or a loved one can sit with the doctor and take advice."
WHAT TO DO WHEN SEVERITY INCREASES?
In case the severity of depression increases due to Covid, Dr Samriddhi said that there will be symptoms like lack of movement, ideas of self-harm. "In such cases, she advises people to hire qualified attendants to take care of the Covid-patient, who can wear a PPE suit and monitor symptoms. They can ensure that the person eats, gets enough sunlight and does enough physical activities," she added.
PUT DOWN AFFIRMATION THOUGHTS FOR YOURSELF
Dr Parul said, "When one is in isolation, they can do an activity called putting down some affirmation thoughts for themselves because this will bring positivity into their daily routine. A Covid-positive person can do this daily in the morning and before going to sleep, removing the feeling of being stuck in a rut. One can also talk to people in their house or friends through video calls or play online games with them, this gives a sense of social support, especially during isolation. It is also vital to keep a check on appetite and strength."
Maintain a gratitude journal or a thought diary. Photo: Pexels
Dr Samriddhi said, "People can cut down on the content they consume and only see things they like. One can maintain a gratitude journal that will help you record your progress and add positivity to daily activities. They can also start writing in a thought diary, documenting what they are feeling, why they are feeling this way, and how they could change this thought."
DO BREATHING EXERCISES
Dr Parul suggested that Covid-positive patients diagnosed with depression can do breathing exercises to feel better. She suggested diaphragmatic breathing or 6-minute walks inside the room, which is also beneficial for building lung strength. She also said that people can practice easy yoga asanas like Pranayama or dance to good music inside their rooms.