Guidance for better mental health is more important than ever before due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Recent reports show the pandemic comes with negative effects for mental health.
For patients with addiction disorders, the risk of mental health problems due to the pandemic is higher.
Addicts are more prone to emotional, physical and mental conditions due to the poor state of their nervous and immune systems.
However, there are several ways addicts can
protect their mental health during the pandemic.
Here, we’ll be discussing proven guidance tips for better mental health management. But first, let’s start with a closer look at the COVID-19 pandemic.
COVID-19 Pandemic: All You Need to Know
The coronavirus is a viral infectious disease (COVID-19) caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The illness starts with droplets from an infected person’s cough, sneeze, or breath. In short, the virus thrives in a fluid medium.
Also, the coronavirus can thrive in air or surfaces. Hence, touching your eyes, nose or mouth after touching an infected surface can infect you.
Symptoms of COVID-19
Once in your system, it takes about 2 to 14 days to start showing symptoms of infection. Some of these symptoms include:
- A cough
- Shortness of breath or trouble breathing
- Chills, sometimes with shaking
- Body aches
- A sore throat
- Congestion or a runny nose
- Loss of taste
- Loss of smell
- Nausea or vomiting
Most people who experience any of these symptoms often feel infected with the virus. While it’s essential we stay alert, it’s best to undergo the COVID test to prevent unnecessary panic. The prevention of unnecessary panic is one common way to protect your mental health.
That said, it’s worthy of mention to know that people come down with varying symptoms after infection. So, it’ll be unwise to judge the diseases by some particular symptoms.
A major factor causing these varying symptoms is the varying strength of our immune systems. While those with strong immune systems will show few symptoms, this won’t be the case for people with weak immune systems.
How COVID Affects the Body
In infected individuals, the coronavirus moves down the respiratory tract which includes your airways. The virus passes through the mouth, nose, throat, and lungs.
The lower airways have more ACE2 receptors than the rest of the respiratory tract. So, COVID-19 is more likely to go deeper than viral diseases like the common cold. These interactions between the virus and the body system may lead to several changes which include:
Inflammation of the Lungs
The lungs may become inflamed, making it tough for an individual to breathe. This can lead to pneumonia, an infection of the tiny air sacs (called alveoli) inside the lungs where the blood exchanges oxygen and carbon dioxide.
Shortness of breath caused by cloudy lungs
The coronavirus causes inflammation of the lungs by affecting the alveoli. The inflammation will in turn cause shortness of breath and Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS).
ARDS in patients diagnosed with coronavirus is very severe, comes with rapid breathing, an increase in heart rate, and an increase in breathing rate. In some cases, patients may also experience dizziness and profuse sweating.
Generally, ARDS causes severe damage to blood vessels in the alveoli causing accumulation of cellular debris. The breathing complications that result from ARDS causes the placement of the patients on a ventilator.
Collection of fluids and debris in the lungs also lead to a reduction in oxygen circulation to tissues of the body and carbon dioxide removal from these tissues. Consequently, may lengthen the lethality of the virus.
What to Do? Researchers and Experts Opinion Poll
Since the arrival of the coronavirus, research is ongoing to find a permanent cure and vaccine for the disease. The cure for the virus will aim at reducing its virulence and in the end saving the lives of lots of people.
Lots of research laboratories and bodies have been funded by Government and Health organizations around the globe to find a cure. Sadly, to date, there are just speculations of a permanent cure for the disease.
However, a COVID-19 vaccine has been developed by scientists from Pfizer-BioNTech. Pfizer-BioNTech is unarguably the biggest in the field of infectious diseases and virology.
Unlike most vaccines that take years to develop, developing the Coronavirus vaccine required only a year. Since then, its distribution has been to several countries. Still, less than 10% of individuals have received it.
A vaccine is only effective if people are willing to receive it. Despite rapid research development, a large percentage of the population is still exposed to great risks — including mental stress.
Precautionary measures: stay safe! mask up!
“We are all we’ve got!” The fight against COVID-19 is a tentative one and must involve everyone. Everyone must prevent the spread of the virus.
To prevent the further transmission of the COVID-19 virus everyone must stay safe and practice simple precautions. Some of which include:
- Physical distancing
- Wearing a mask
- Keeping rooms well ventilated
- Avoiding crowds
- Cleaning your hands, and coughing into a bent elbow or tissue.
Related Article: Coronavirus Protocol for Drug Rehab
Tips On How to Protect Your Mental Health in the Pandemic
Here’s how to protect your mental health during the pandemic:
Ensure to keep connections alive
One common advice we give addicts during the pandemic is to maintain connections with people. Most especially, addicts should maintain connections with their loved ones.
As important as this is, it’s critical you avoid any form of physical connections. Physically meeting with people can increase your risk of contracting the disease.
For most people, knowing they have a chance of contracting the disease can come with a heavy mental toll. Therefore, as part of our guidance for better mental health, we recommend using technology to keep connections alive.
An effective way of keeping connections virtually is via phone calls and text messages. You can even reach your loved ones through social media. Just ensure you keep your social distance.
A good way to get a grip on your mental health during the pandemic is staying active. Staying active will entail you engaging your brain and other systems like the skeletal system.
If by chance you’re isolating by yourself, you can climb staircases and go on daily runs. To keep your brain active, you can play brain tasking games like chess and scrabble.
Relax your mind more often
Another important guideline for better mental health is frequent mind relaxation. Relaxing your mind is different from sleeping. A good way to relax your mind is by practicing yoga and taking long walks. You can meditate more often and use breathing exercise to calm your mind.
Limit the frequency at which you check the news
With the ease at which false information flies around, it’s best to avoid the news. You can restrict yourself to just business news and sports news instead. Frequently checking for COVID-19 news can mess up your mental health.
Stay at Home
It is imperative to stay at home in times like this to prevent the risk of infection and protect your mental health. However, a home for different people might not be a very comfortable place to stay.
Some live far away from family and need to be around the ones that they love. Staying around loved ones will protect your mental health during COVID-19.
Eat and Drink Properly
Eating and drinking well is important in reducing the risk of infection and staying mentally balanced. A balanced diet does more than provide nutrients for ideal physical processes.
A balanced diet also boosts hormones which influence your state of mind. With the fourth wave of the pandemic in full swing, a balanced diet should be on your to-do list.
Enrol for treatment programs
Addiction treatment centres in Vancouver are finding ways to provide addiction treatment safely and effectively — despite the pandemic.
No guidance for better mental help is complete if you’re not getting the treatment you need. The top treatment options available to you include:
In this type of program, addicts will live in a building where they receive treatment and round-the-clock treatment. This type of program is best for addicts during the pandemic as it completely isolates them from the outside world.
The in-patient program keeps addicts under 24 hours medical supervision to prevent relapses. Consequently, it means specialists will always be on the lookout for indicators of a mental health breakdown. In the event of any mental health issues, they can provide professional assistance.
Also, staff monitor addict’s food and everything they take. The staff understand the role of eating healthily to keep a healthy mental life. So, you’ll enjoy a balanced diet and close medical supervision in an in-patient addiction program.
Inpatient programs will help to ensure your mental health thanks to activity sessions. These sessions will help addicts build their minds and adopt new habits. Some of these activities include book reading and yoga.
The outpatient program is completely different from the in-patient program. The outpatient program gives addicts the freedom to pick times for check-ups. That is, addicts can come weekly or monthly for medical checkups. Unlike the in-patient program, addicts aren’t under close supervision and may suffer relapses.
The outpatient program is best for patients when the rehab is past its capacity. This way, patients can still receive treatment and be safe mentally.
The disadvantage of the out-patient rehab is the patient’s constant contact with triggers. However, the out-patient program still has an advantage over the in-patient program. Out-patient treatment programs are more affordable than in-patient programs.
Related Article: Addiction Treatment During COVID-19
To Wrap It Up
Protecting your mental health during the pandemic should be your priority. We understand that due to the lockdown and isolation, addicts are prone to triggers. To help, it’s essential that addicts occupy their minds more often. In occupying your mind, you’ll be able to protect your mental health too.
Here at Inspire Change Wellness Centre, we’re still providing addiction treatment despite the pandemic. And we can design custom treatment plans that’ll cater to your mental health alongside. Call us to discuss treatment options with any of our addiction specialists today!