Thursday , December 2 2021

Mental stress of Corona: 18 to 29-year-olds most affected


What effects has the corona pandemic had on the psyche and how are you recovering from the crisis? Dr. Interview with Michael Putzke, Chief Physician of Psychiatry at Friedberg.

When the first German corona case was discovered in January 2020, only a few people foresaw the development. The virus changed our lives. The question arises as to what consequences this has for our psyche, especially since the quality of a viral pandemic is different from devastating but “understandable” disasters such as earthquakes or floods. The coronavirus is aggressive. It forces a no-touch at a time when we tend to move closer together, and it brings death with it. It’s intangible, ‘scary’, and it’s increasingly affecting younger people. Normal fight or flight reactions do not help against corona, says Dr. Michael Putzke, chief physician at the clinic for psychiatry and psychotherapy at the GZW in Friedberg, in an interview with this newspaper.

Dr. Putzke, how do we deal with threats the most?

After an event, emotions often break out, which later lead to denial. Fear is dispelled by the fact that it is put into incomprehensible terms, for example by the lateral thinking argument that Bill Gates is behind the “consciously controlled campaign”. Or: Everything is not so bad, after all more people are dying from flu or smoking.

What do we currently know about psychological well-being?

Preliminary studies and findings from previous crises suggest that the pandemic will lead to an increase in mental health issues. However, fear, sadness and similar emotions are very normal and understandable reactions. As with all mental disorders, the degree of limitation depends on individual psychosocial circumstances, such as the subjective level of suffering or the duration and effects of the psychological problems on the different areas of life of the sufferer. It is crucial to maintain a sense of self-efficacy (“I influence my actions and my degrees of freedom”).

Does this mean?

When things are taken for granted, this powerlessness arises in the face of the virus, but also of changes. Existential fears, experiencing loneliness, role conflicts (e.g., reconciliation of home care and child care), loss of daily structure, and enjoyable activities can increase susceptibility to mental disorders and eventually intensify depressive symptoms.

Are there numbers?

The highest increase in overall expected psychological stress was recorded in 2020 (with an increase from 35 to 59 percent) among 18- to 29-year-olds. In the large group of 30 to 65-year-olds, the economic situation and the extent of loneliness appeared to be risk factors, but there were also those who saw the flexibility and digitalisation of their work as a way of slowing down the daily routine. life and benefit from it.

How does this affect the use of assistance offers?

This also needs to be looked at in a different way. At the Friedberg Psychiatric Clinic, there was no significant increase in outpatients and coronary heart disease patients. In any case, people who visit psychiatric clinics often suffer from anxiety, depression, loneliness, social isolation, and unemployment. Among the residents’ colleagues, the demand for therapeutic assistance has increased significantly. Occasionally, patients with a psychotic experience embrace the slogans uttered by the lateral thinkers in their delusional system. However, initial studies also show that the number of depressed and psychotically ill people needed for treatment of patients is increasing. People with addiction now also have a greater risk of recurrence.

How do we get through the corona crisis in spite of everything?

Staff at the Max Planck Institute for Psychiatry in Munich and doctors at the Charité in Berlin have developed handouts for their own mental health. In principle, it’s about strengthening resilience and believing in finding a solution without thinking naively positively. The most important thing is to create a daily structure and plan things that are fun, at least once a day have a conversation with someone, to get moving.

That sounds obvious.

But allow yourself to have bad feelings too! If you live with one, try to create space for yourself. Try to end the day with positive thoughts.

Dr. Michael Putzke is the chief physician of psychiatry at Friedberg.

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