Feeling anxious amidst COVID-19? That’s totally normal.

May 08, 2020

Stress from the possibility of infection can wreak havoc on the mental health and physical well-being of rheumatic disease patients. It usually affects patients in two ways: they either become experts at thwarting infectious disease or they succumb to the stress. In this video, Dr. Kim Gorgens offers tips for identifying stress and anxiety in your patients. 

Stress from the possibility of infection can wreak havoc on the mental health and physical well-being of rheumatic disease patients. It usually affects patients in two ways: they either become experts at thwarting infectious disease or they succumb to the stress. 

"The mental health effects of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic might be profound. There are suggestions that suicide rates will rise, although this is not inevitable. Suicide is likely to become a more pressing concern as the pandemic spreads and has longer-term effects on the general population, the economy, and vulnerable groups," according to David Gunnell, M.B., Ch.B., Ph.D., University of Bristol, United Kingdom.

Dr. Gunnell and colleagues wrote in the April 21 issue of The Lancet Psychiatry, that "Preventing suicide therefore needs urgent consideration. The response must capitalize on, but extend beyond, general mental health policies and practices." Fear, self-isolation, and physical distancing may exacerbate the mental health of people who may already have a fragile mental health status.

The effects of COVID-19 on the mental and physical health of people worldwide will most likely be felt long-term, but it can be managed, says Kim A. Gorgens, Ph.D., ABPP, director of continuing education at the Graduate School of Professional Psychology, University of Denver.

“The really important message for everyone―both for professionals viewing this....and especially to patients, their families and loved ones―is that the reaction to feel depressed, upended, anxious, out of control, out of sorts-is totally normal. There’s a way that in the world we pathologize and stigmatize mental illness, depression, and anxiety, but I’m really trying to make the point-as are a lot of my colleagues in psychology-that this is a normal reaction to a really abnormal situation,” she said.

Learn more about addressing stress, anxiety, and depression in your patients in this video interview with Dr. Gorgens.

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