4 possible sources of post-traumatic stress in relation to COVID-19

The global crisis triggered by the coronavirus pandemic has consequences on several levels, and one of the most important is the psychological level.

The impact of this new pathogen on patients, on the economy, and on the way we socialize and move has important implications that mental health professionals are already adjusting to.

In this sense, one of the psychopathological phenomena to take into account is post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. In this article we will see how PTSD is linked to the coronavirus crisis and how, in a lockdown situation, online therapy is an effective tool.

    What is post-traumatic stress disorder?

    What in psychology and psychiatry is called post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental disorder that some people develop after experiencing traumatic situations, as the name suggests. These are usually events that generated a significant aversive emotional shock, Which leaves psychological consequences.

    Its symptoms are mainly of the anxious type, related to stress, and related to episodes of dissociation, and remain reproduced again and again in the perception and behavior of the person, as sequelae of the traumatic event experienced, which in some cases it even happened. A few years ago. Additionally, PTSD often appears alongside other psychological disorders, including depressive and anxiety disorders, as well as addictions.

    Some of the characteristic symptoms of PTSD are flashbacks (Relive the experience that produced the trauma in the form of intrusive images that arise in consciousness and undergo a strong emotional reaction), nightmares, tendency to irritability or outbursts of anger, guilt for this happened, catastrophic thoughts about what will happen in the future, and so on.

    Elements of the COVID-19 crisis that may generate PTSD

    It is clear that the coronavirus is not, by itself, capable of causing an impairment such as post-traumatic stress disorder. However, the context of crisis triggered by this pandemic may make that during these months more people than usual develop this psychopathology.

    Some of the aspects of the coronavirus pandemic that could cause an increase in PTSD cases could be as follows.

    1. Traumatic events due to the death of relatives

    Usually, the death of a loved one does not cause traumaBut grieving processes that eventually resolve themselves over time. However, if death occurs under very adverse or painful circumstances, some parents may develop PTSD. In the case of the coronavirus pandemic, it is not uncommon for these circumstances to occur, due to the collapse of many health systems, the inability to see the patient, etc.

      2. Traumatic events due to chronic disease

      Health complications facilitated by coronavirus infection can trigger other illnesses the physical sequelae remain. For example, in the case of vascular disease.

      3. Financial and labor crises

      Due to the economic crisis resulting from the pandemic and forced imprisonment, many people see how overnight, they lost their jobs or saw their source of income drastically reduced. Many times, even among people who already enjoyed job stability and had formed the hope of having their life purposeful over the next decades.

      4. Crisis of coexistence favored by confinement and the state of alert

      Faced with a very complex situation, serious family quarrels can arise because it is necessary to always be in the same home. In cases of domestic violence, there is more exposure to danger.

      Online psychotherapy to cope with this reality

      As we have seen, during the VOCID-19 crisis several factors coincide which, when combined, can compromise the mental health of many people: on the one hand the health problem of the coronavirus, on the other hand the need to comply with the confinement, and on the other to the economic and labor crisis derived from the previous one.

      Although many people hardly feel affected by this situation, many they are brought to the limit by this cocktail of stressful elementsAnd in some cases, it goes so far as to bring out the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

      In front of this situation, online therapy is positioned as a very valuable tool and sometimes essential to provide professional support to those who need it.

      This format of treatment is based on the use of electronic devices that are already in most Spanish homes, and has proven to have an effectiveness comparable to that of psychotherapy face to face with the psychologist, in addition to offer several advantages. .: saving time, more discretion so as not to have to leave the house, possibility of speaking as a patient in an environment that you know and in which you feel safe, etc.

      Online therapy allows patients to go through a process of desensitization to stimuli that trigger ‘flashbacks’, it allows you to change the beliefs that fuel the disorder, Among others. It’s not just a dialogue with the psychologist – it’s about practicing habits and dealing with your emotions.

      Are you interested in online therapy during childbirth?

      If you’ve considered seeing a professional who can treat you through online therapy, I invite you to contact me. I am a clinical psychologist, caring for patients with anxiety and stress disorders as well as other emotional and behavioral problems for over 25 years; I have also been offering online video call therapy for years. To see my contact details, you can access this page.

      Bibliographical references:

      • Bisson, J .; and. at. (2019). The International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies: New guidelines for the prevention and treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder: methodology and developmental process. Traumatic Stress Journal. 32 (4): pages 475 to 483.
      • Cano, A. (2002). The nature of stress. IV International Congress of the Spanish Society for the Study of Anxiety and Stress. Madrid: SEA.
      • Gillies, D .; Taylor, F .; Gray, C .; O’Brien, L .; D’Abrew, N. (2012). Psychological therapies for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder in children and adolescents. The Cochrane Systematic Review Database. 12: CD006726.
      • Hüther, G. (2012). Biology of fear. Stress and feelings. Barcelona: editorial platform.
      • Waltman, SH; Shearer, D .; Moore, BA (2018). Management of post-traumatic nightmares: review of pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments since 2013. Current psychiatric reports. 20 (12): 108.

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