Cases of Covid-19 phobia and mental issues on the rise says Laois GP

Lynda Kiernan

Reporter:

Lynda Kiernan

Cases of Covid-19 phobia and mental issues on the rise says Laois GP

Covid-19 phobia cases on the rise says Laois GP

A Laois GP with a busy practice in Mountmellick has reported seeing rising numbers of patients who are experiencing mental health issues related to fears of Covid-19 including what he termed Covid Phobia.

Dr Vivek Mahadev from Glenard Clinic said that the phobia is a “horrible” thing that is becoming more common in his patients.

“I am seeing Covid Phobia, it is a horrible thing. Social isolation leads to different issues.

“More mental health issues are coming up. Out of 30 patients I might see in a day, there might have been one with psychological issues. Now it is at least six. We need support, physical support for this,” he said.

He said multiple issues related to the pandemic are causing worries in patients.

These include financial worries, the social isolation, parents worrying for children going back to school, and fear of what the winter will bring, particularly for elderly patients.

“For parents the return to school is a big worry. It is the unknown of tomorrow. People over 70 are all saying to me 'what will happen in winter?'. These are the people that would usually get sick in winter.

“We are all worried. When I saw the 200 new cases last Saturday I got a big shock myself. That is a huge rise,” Dr Vivek said.

There are positives to the current restrictions that Laois, Offaly and Kildare are placed under, the GP has found.

“The numbers getting tested have gone up. In the week prior to the restrictions, I would have referred maybe one a day. Now that is eight to 10 a day. These are suspected Covid cases.

“People are more aware of it now. That has had a positive impact from a medical point of view.

“They are taking the necessary precautions. Everybody is masking up.

“Laois 's positive cases are low but awareness is high which we need.

“We were getting just a bit lacksadaisy,” Dr Vivek said.

He has the following advice for anyone feeling overwhelmed by Covid.

“Stay calm. Focus on the present. No-one can predict the future. Do not spread rumours on social media. Try to find a hobby which is doable, like walking or gardening. Eat sensibly.

“Even minimum exercise will produce endorphins which is a happiness booster. And get prompt help from medical professionals if you have any concerns,” the Mountmellick GP advised.