One of the most important aspects for understanding the global pandemic crisis caused by the coronavirus is the fact that although the people most affected by the health (non-economic) consequences of this global pandemic are relatively few, they are not. not evenly distributed. in the whole population.
In fact, we know that COVID-19 is much more prevalent in people with chronic health conditions and in the very old. But beyond this first group of people vulnerable to viruses, there is another who, without being normally injured to the point of fear for his life, also suffers a lot during these months: health professionals, mainly doctors and nursing staff.
In this article we will see to what extent during the coronavirus crisis, psychology services for health care providers are essential both for themselves at the individual level and for society as a whole, given the precarious conditions in which they often have to work (for more political questions related to their profession).
Psychological therapy for health workers is fundamental in the face of the pandemic
If anything is clear in the world of psychology, it is that, contrary to what thinkers like René Descartes argued, there is no radical separation between mind and body, for the better and for the better. the evil.
One of the implications of this is that the physical wear and tear produced by the daily tasks, if they are difficult, they are also able to exhaust us mentally. Add to this the fact that the work itself includes tasks in which there is often a heavy emotional load, the resulting combination can be very difficult to manage in the medium to long term.
In the case of the work of health professionals, unfortunately, these two conditions are met these days: there is a lot of work, a lot of complicated decisions in which there is an obligation to adopt ethical positions, and you are also in contact with people. suffering, and some of them end up dying.
Of course, professionals in this sector are better able to cope with these complicated situations than the average population, thanks to a mixture of training for many years of learning, on the one hand, and a screening process that It is very difficult to succeed if you have a poor handling of anxiety and the urge to struggle. However, everything has a limit, and no matter how much nowadays one tends to praise the essential work of doctors and nurses, this cannot serve as a moral alibi for assuming that they must be able to solve everything on their own- same. . This is where psychotherapy comes in.
Top 5 Benefits of Psychotherapy for Doctors and Nurses
These are the main reasons why psychological services applied to health care are essential during the COVID-19 crisis. In most cases, it is possible to take advantage of it through face-to-face therapy and also online psychological assistance by video call.
1. It allows you to treat anxiety disorders
Anxiety disorders are among the most common psychological disorders in the general population and their incidence is higher among health professionals. Psychological therapy can be overcome effectively, whether it is phobias, generalized anxiety, panic disorder or others.
2. Helps manage guilt and bad moods
After going through a situation of health collapse, it became necessary to apply triage methodologies to determine which patients have the priority to be managed, often assuming a high risk of death for those who have to wait.
Having these experiences regularly can lead to situations of guilt., Which sometimes include anxious memories produced by the frustration or anger of patients or their families.
Psychotherapy allows you to work on those memories related to problematic beliefs about yourself; processes such as cognitive restructuring applied in psychotherapy are effective in stopping feeling bad. In the same way, it also prevents and treats symptoms associated with clinical depression and associated disorders.
3. It helps treat cases of post-traumatic stress
Exposure to unexpected deaths can lead to the development of post-traumatic stress disorder, especially if these losses occur under very difficult circumstances. In therapy, it helps prevent the onset of post-traumatic stress disorder from consolidating, and it also treats those who are already showing all the symptoms of this disorder. associated with flashbacks and sleep problems.
4. Helps prevent and treat OCD
Obsessive-compulsive disorder is based on mental thoughts or images that appear in consciousness over and over again, intrusively, Triggering of an intense anxiety reaction that the person feels the need to relieve immediately by performing certain “rituals”: compulsions.
One of its more common variations is OCD based on the ritual of washing hands. Faced with the distressing idea that their hands are contaminated, those who develop OCD have serious difficulty not washing themselves immediately, which can even cause skin damage over days.
Of course, one of the hallmarks of OCD is that, as a disorder, it consists of patterns of behavior that are irrational and harmful to the person and / or their environment; in the coronavirus crisis, it is normal to wash your hands a lot, but this habit can create a fertile ground for some people to start growing an excessive tendency to constantly put your hands under the tap.
Psychological intervention helps prevent the first symptoms of OCD from leading to consolidation of the disorder and helps overcome the problem in cases where OCD has already developed; this is why desensitization techniques are often used, widely used to treat anxiety problems.
5. He can solve family or couple problems
Problems at work can translate into problems at home, either because of the tendency to irritability and bad moods caused by fatigue, or because of a lack of dedication to anything other than thinking about the job. job. In this sense, it should be remembered that psychological intervention takes many forms, two of which are couples therapy and family therapy.
Are you a healthcare professional looking for psychological therapy?
Fr Majadahonda psychologists we offer full psychological assistance both in person at our center in Majadahonda and through online therapy, the latter at a lower cost. In addition, the first session is free and we offer special benefits (on request) to healthcare professionals. To see more information about our center or access our contact details, visit this page.
- Miller, L. (2009). Doctors, their mental health and their ability to work. Occupational medicine, 59 (1): pages 53-55.
- Kim, MS, et. at. (2018). Mental Disorders in Healthcare Workers: National Health Insurance Data 2014. Annals of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 30:31.
- Ruitenburg, MM; Frings-Dresen, MHW and Sluiter, JK (2012). The prevalence of common mental disorders among hospital physicians and their association with self-reported work capacity: a cross-sectional study. BMC Health Services Research, 12, no. art. 292.
- Drill bits, RJ (2005). Overcome secondary stress in medical and nursing practice. Oxford: Oxford University Press.