According to psychiatrist Dr. Bernadette Arcena, it is important to focus on the mental health of people who test positive and recover from COVID-19 because it can have long-term effects.
“You just imagine, you are COVID-positive. There is a feeling na am I going to live, be okay, intubated, stay in the ICU? ‘Yon ang mga bagay na pumapasok sa isipan ng isang pasyente,” said Arcena.
“Being alone day and night, ‘yon ang devastating daw sa mga pasyente natin,” she added.
According to a study of more than 230,000 patients, more than 33 percent or 1 in every 3 COVID-19 survivors were diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder or mental health illness, several months after recovering from the illness.
Most of them are said to experience anxiety and mood disorders.
Neurologist Dr. Monica Ang explained that COVID-19 doesn’t just target lungs.
It can also attack the human brain, kill healthy brain cells, and cause serious infections or complications in the central nervous system.
“Ito ay pwedeng magdulot ng brain damage at nerve damage sa mga susunod na linggo at buwan,” said Ang.
“Paminsan naaapektuhan ang parte ng brain na nagkokontrol ng memorya at pag-iisip,” she added.
Focus on mental health of COVID-19 patients: expert
In the same study, there were recorded cases of stroke and dementia in patients who had recovered from COVID-19.
Although the number was low, it was more seen in those who had severe symptoms.
In more than a year against the country against COVID-19, many survivors of the disease are also experiencing mental health-related illnesses such as dizziness, confusion, nerve pain and numbness, difficulty thinking, and memory problems.
“Habang tumataas ang census ng ating positive COVID cases, tumataas din ang number of COVID survivors. Mas marami tayong nakikita na cases ng COVID survivors who are inflicted with complications ng nerve damage, problems in thinking,” said Ang.
Experts advise that it is important to have a support group with family members and friends, especially with COVID-19 patients and survivors.
“It is important to talk about how you are doing, nakakamusta natin ang members ng pamilya. Magtulungan tayo at this point in time. We need togetherness at this point in time,” said Arcena.