Addressing The Psychological Trauma of the Coronavirus
Addressing The Psychological Trauma of the Coronavirus
The Corona Virus Pandemic has damaged and disrupted many lives, and force people to surrender themselves to various uncertainties and insecurities. Apart from the socio-economic impact, COVID 19 has imposed a serious psychological impact on human beings.
Governments do not have a cure and people cannot rally together to help a cause. Public Health England has issued a list of 14 suggestions to manage your mental health during this crisis, but these preventive measures seem insufficient and may need a highly targeted implementation to tackle psychological trauma.
What is Psychological Trauma?
It is a mental state of overwhelming stress which makes you unable to cope with a distressing event or its aftermath due to the integration of unmanageable emotions with the experience. You may be the witness or victim of such an event, but the threat to life, body, and well-being has to be shocking enough to compromise your coping mechanism.
1. The threat can be perceived or real.
2. The COVID-19 can be the underlying factor of the threat but it can also be a reminder of an unrelated traumatic event of the past.
3. The trauma can be further aggravated by suppressing the emotion rather than managing it.
You can never really know how to deal effectively with psychological trauma without undergoing treatment.
Psychological trauma can become a precursor to almost every conceivable mental illness, especially Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Hence, it needs to be addressed immediately by a clinical psychologist or a certified and experienced mental health professional.
How to Deal with Psychological Trauma?
If you are reading through this article, you are probably worried about someone else or you are lucky enough to have discovered temporary relief from the trauma to educate yourself about your condition.
If you are forcing yourself through online literature, stop now and reach out to friends and family immediately. There is no shame in being traumatized and you have no reason to delay diagnosis.
Step 1: Try not to be Alone
You must avoid loneliness. If you give it a thought, there is always someone who can lend you an ear and give you moral support to seek clinical help. They can also help you ignore the constant bombardment of media and social media until you have access to therapeutic treatment.
It is possible that you live alone and the lockdown does not allow anyone responsible to be with you physically. It is also possible that you are stuck with someone that you wish to avoid and this situation makes you more stressed. In both these scenarios, it is best that you initiate a video call for a face to face conversation with someone reliable, immediately.
Step 2: Seek Help immediately
Seek help from the most accessible mental health professional immediately.
You can get yourself admitted under a trauma specialist or referred to a crisis house i.e. a temporary accommodation for you if your residence is part of the psychological trauma and a hospital may aggravate insecurities that trigger your trauma.
If you are confused about your options, the NHS Mental Health Services has two dedicated phone lines for you.
The 111 helpline is for non-life threatening urgent care, including:
1. People with existing mental health problems.
2. People who are experiencing mental illness for the first time.
3. Cases of non-lethal self-harm.
4. People who have voiced an intention to harm themselves.
5. People who are suffering physical, emotional and sexual abuse and domestic violence.
The 199 helpline is for mental health emergencies that can be life–threatening. These include:
1. Lethal Self Harm.
2. Intended or attempted suicide.
If you are concerned about the mental well-being of people with learning difficulties, minors, vulnerable adults, the NHS suggests that you call social services.
Another option is the Crisis Resolution and Home Treatment Services (CRHT), especially if the psychological trauma causes a mental breakdown or the patient has recently recovered from psychiatric treatment and risks a major breakdown. CRHT works with the community and local teams of mental health professionals to resolve the situation.
Step 3: Seek Expert Help
The immediate help may not be the expert help that you need. Think of the immediate help as initial treatment at an emergency ward to minimize the damage, after which, you must seek the therapy that helps you recover. Psychological Trauma is a niche specialisation and not every psychologist is qualified and experienced enough to treat you.
A trauma therapist can help you identify deep-rooted stimulants to your hyper-arousal and apply his clinical experience along with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Neuroplasticity to rehabilitate your brain.
Indeed, talking is a critical part of the therapy but only a Trauma Specialist knows how to utilize your disclosures for treating you.
Step 4: Complete Your Treatment
The nationwide lockdown may have traumatized you, but it gives you the time to complete your treatment. Many patients get so much relief with their diagnosis that they presume they have been cured.
If you are remembering traumatic episodes unrelated to the lockdown, you will agree that trauma can resurface after years, maybe even decades. Your brain has a tremendous capacity to cope with things that it understands, but the burdens of life will eventually make it unmanageable. Why cope, when you have a cure at your disposal?
Allow your doctor to decide your course of treatment and make sure that you complete it.
Step 5: Take Care of Your Mental Health
Ask your doctor for suggestions, research about psychologically healthy routines and practices and try to practice some of the 14 suggestions of Public Health England to take care of your mind during this crisis. Physical Health and mental health can fuel each other to recover quickly.