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‘Post Covid Delirium’: Over 20,000 seek online psychiatric help to fight lockdown blues in J&K

Srinagar: More than 20,000 people have sought online psychiatric help to beat anxiety and depression during the Covid lockdown in Jammu and Kashmir.

The online consultation was launched by the Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (IMHANS), Government Medical College, Srinagar, to reach out to the people requiring psychiatric help during the lockdown.

 

While the department mostly treated the ‘existing patients’, experts are also witnessing new patterns like Post Covid Delirium especially in elderly people.

“We started this programme in March for patients that needed treatment but could not personally visit doctors in Covid (lockdown). We provided this service through different platforms. First, I individually started a free digital clinic that was video-based in which we had 6,000 consultations. We then started audio consultations that were held with other NGOs in which we had 10,000 patients on call. We have also done around 4,000 consultations in quarantine centres and hospitals. Overall, we treated 20,000 patients on different platforms since March,” well-known psychiatrist and Professor at IMHANS, Dr Arshad Hussain, told The Kashmir Monitor.

He said they had noticed new trends like Post Covid Delirium though not at a large scale in Jammu and Kashmir.

We witnessed a pattern – ‘Post Covid Delirium’ among the patients, especially the elderly. So far, we have seen 38 such cases that had post-Covid neuropsychiatric manifestations.

– Dr Arshad Hussain

“Many of these consultations were from existing patients. However, we witnessed a pattern – ‘Post Covid Delirium’ among the patients, especially the elderly. So far, we have seen 38 such cases that had post-Covid neuropsychiatric manifestations. Though they have been cured of Covid and their oxygen level also has returned to normal, their brain does not return to normal. These patients are not able to remember things or recognize people easily. New-onset OCD particularly among those who already had an obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD) was also witnessed where patients laid too much emphasis on cleanliness,” said Dr Hussain.

Covid related anxieties were witnessed among children where families had developed a ‘fear’ during the lockdown.

“In kids, we saw Covid related anxieties particularly from families that listened to a lot of news and had an atmosphere of fear at their homes,” he said.

Dr Hussain said they are still offering online consultations despite the easing of Covid-19 lockdown.

“More than half of the teleservices were provided by us only though we have four such teams. Since March, we had around 60,000 offline consultations as well till December end. However, even these days, we have around 200 video and 60 audio consultations per week. We also get lots of calls from far-flung areas,” he said.