More families and couples seek mental health counsellingUpdated: Aug 21, 2020 17:40 IST
The psychiatry division in private hospitals of the city have been witnessing a significant increase in the number of people requiring family and couple counselling in the last four months.
According to them, a majority of the cases were through tele-consultations and were related to anxiety disorders and depression arising out of issues between couples and family members.
“During the entire lockdown phase, families or couples have lived under the same roof for the longest time. In some cases, psychological issues were pre-existing which augmented as inter-personal conflicts increased between the couples, fuelling extreme anxiety and depression,” said Kanishk Gupta, director and co-founder, Sukoon Health, a mental health unit under Fortis healthcare.“This has led to almost 20% increase in family and couple counselling sessions compared to the footfall of patients before lockdown in April.”
According to Dr. Saurabh Mehrotra, consultant, mental health and quality of life division at Medanta Medicity, there have been two sets of patients with psychological disorder over the last few months. “One group comprises people whose anxiety disorders are due to the fear of the disease, while the other group is affected by the consequences of the lockdown and the economic meltdown,” said Mehrotra.
Presently, Mehrotra is getting 15-20 new cases every day with mental health issues directly related to lockdown and current Covid-19 situation. “Nearly 80% of the cases are being handled through tele-consultations. Some inter-personal issues, which leads to domestic violence cannot be tackled online. Therefore, we have to call the patient to hospital,” he said.
Dr. Jyoti Kapoor, senior consultant, psychiatry, Paras Hospital, said that interpersonal problems have also spiked in vulnerable population where conflicts among parents has caused rise of anxiety and somatization symptoms in children. “The novelty of the situation along with the uncertainty of how things will pan out for global health and economy has left people confused and even frustrated. New cases due to Covid-19 fear have also emerged and almost 25 percent of daily OPD is one or the other way affected by coronavirus fear or lockdown related issues.”
She said that even with the unlock process, there is a significant increase in reappearance of anxiety and obsessive symptoms in previously treated stable patient population.
The substantial increase is also due to sudden popping up of the middle class section of the society seeking psychological support, said Dr. Soumiya Mudgal, consultant, psychiatry, Max Hospital (Gurugram). “This has led to almost 20-30% increase in the family counselling sessions since April onwards. Before lockdown, there were cases mostly related to families and children. But now middle-class section with their job issues or businesses are coming up with mental disorders. Two out every 10 patients are coming with suicidal tendencies.”
Experts are also noticing other consequences of the situation – de-addiction from alcohol. According to Gupta, hospitalization due to alcohol de-addiction has also increased by 35%. “In the last four months, there has been a spike in the hospitalization of patients, who have taken up alcohol again after quitting. Since they did not want any nurse or health staff to visit them at home, these patients prefer getting admitted,” said Gupta.
Mudgal has been suggesting her patients not to consider themselves mentally or emotionally secluded from the global pandemic. “The current situation takes a toll mentally if it considered as an individual issue. People should accept that it has affected everyone globally. Second, they should try shifting or extending the time line of their plans made at personal and professional front,” she said. Other experts suggested to seek medical help if they are having severe anxiety, unexplained aggressive behaviour, excessive worrying leading to panic state or severe Obsessive Compulsive disorder (OCD).