Mental post-Covid syndrome is affecting more and more people in Hungary. This is because the virus does not only have physical after effects: for most, it is accompanied by depression or anxiety. According to foreign surveys, after recovery from Covid-19 the frequency of depression increases fourfold, while the frequency of anxiety threefold. Furthermore, more people committed suicided as well in 2020 than in 2019, so mental health is something especially important when considering recovery from the virus.
In order to cope with the mental post-Covid syndrome, Nyírő Gyula National Institute of Psychiatry and Addiction opened a separate outpatient clinic for patients.
When patients experience strange, frightening symptoms (numbness, sensory disturbances, muscle problems, breathing difficulties), the first thing that comes to their mind is that the deadly disease is still lurking in them and they are not yet over the infection”
explained Szabolcs Kéri, the psychiatric director of Nyírő Gyula Hospital.
The specialist said that 30 percent of those who had been infected are affected by mental health problems, with more than 130 patients visiting the outpatient clinic in the past two weeks- a very high number.
János Harmatta, honorary president of the Hungarian Psychiatric Society, told RTL that the mental strain experienced during the epidemic is very similar to a war situation. According to him, the most difficult part will come only after the restrictions are lifted for the patients, as repressed psychological problems that have been endured until then will emerge when they can be released. Then it may be necessary to expand the care capacity of psychiatrists and even apply new methods of therapy.
In addition, Gergely Gulyás, the Prime Minister’s chief of staff, also revealed to Telex that the number of suicides in Hungary has increased by 5 percent in 2020 compared to 2019. According to the minister, this is unfortunately understandable due to people constantly being in their homes and not being able to socialize. In 2019, a total of 1,550 suicides occurred in Hungary, 107 less than in 2018, and 214 less than in 2017.
Mental health problems should be taken seriously especially under the pandemic, as mentally unstable people are only able to receive help in the online space from their therapist instead of face-to-face interaction. Anxiety and depression can be common due to job loss, restrictions, regulations, and uncertainty. According to toxicologist Gábor Zacher, the number of drug and alcohol users also increased due to restrictions, as people do not have the chance to go out after 8 p.m.
Nyírő Gyula Hospital has launched a fresh Facebok Page for the Department of Psychotherapy, where the most recent updates and contacts can be followed regarding the work of the hospital. Also, if anyone is suffering from mental health problems, do not hesitate to contact someone and ask for help. The Facebook page is there for anyone who would like to request mental aid from professionals.
Featured photo by Zoltán Balogh/MTI