COVID Pandemic Increased Number of Patients Visiting Psychiatrists

The COVID pandemic has increased significantly the number of patients visiting psychiatrics, as well as the number of patients visiting the National Centre for Psychiatry and its clinics, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported quoting the head of the centre.

The number of visits to psychiatry centres has increased by nearly 50 per cent compared to previous years, head of the National Centre for Psychiatry, Montaser Hiyari, told Petra.

According to statistics released by the National Centre for Psychiatry, about 20,000 people visited 56 psychiatric clinics across the Kingdom, while 2,353 admissions were recorded resulting in a 100 per cent occupancy rate, Hiyari said.

Doctor Abdullah Abu Adas, consultant of psychiatry and addiction treatment, indicated that during the pandemic many psychosocial issues surfaced, and it is expected that there will be new patterns of psychosocial behaviour following the pandemic as well.

According to Abu Adas, the pandemic has had a significant impact on mental health and psychosocial wellness in Jordan.

“COVID-19 has led many people to develop serious depressive disorders, anxiety disorders, psychosis, and exaggerated cases of obsessive compulsive disorders. It has also caused a wave of cabin fever cases, which is an internal psychological conflict that refers to a person’s prolonged confinement in restricted settings, increasing their state of tension, restlessness and anxiety by restricting their ability to communicate with the people around them,” Abu Adas told The Jordan Times on Sunday.

People’s feelings of uncertainty and fear of the future have intensified as a result of the pandemic, which has caused sleep disturbance, loss of appetite and more in many people, Abu Adas explained.

“The pandemic affected people’s sense of security, whether it was social, economic, or personal. This in turn, aggravated a variety of psychological issues such as increasing domestic violence and drug abuse,” Abu Adas added.

“The post-COVID world will not be the same as the pre-COVID world,” he said.

Abu Adas stressed the importance of focusing on psychosocial, economic and social rehabilitation.

The government must conduct national discussions and speak with the people, particularly those who have been most affected by the pandemic; they must be rehabilitated and reintegrated into society in a productive manner, Abu Adas noted.

However, Abu Adas also highlighted some positive effects of the pandemic. In many cases, COVID-19 made people more aware of their health, more likely to practise sports and more open to reading and educating themselves.

“The COVID-19 pandemic made people all over the world realise the importance of solidarity as well,” Abu Adas added.

“Panic and stress are the worst enemies of the human immune system, and thus, in order to have a strong biological immunity, we must focus on psychological immunity,” Abu Adas continued.

Abu Adas pointed that the government and other stakeholders have contributed to maintaining the mental health of the people and raising awareness of mental health first aid through a number of initiatives and programmes.

“Yet, I believe that the pandemic has exposed some flaws in the mental health and psychological services system in Jordan and the entire world,” he said.

“People need to treat their mental health as a priority, because there is no health without mental health, being strong and being positive is the way to deal with the challenges we are facing nowadays,” Abu Adas said.

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