66 per cent Covid sufferers remembered God to deal with sickness, says PGI examine

Naina Mishra

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 8

The Covid-19 patients found myriad ways to cope with the illness and isolated hospital stay, but the most common method used by patients at PGIMER here to handle the disease was remembering God and following religious disciplines. 

About two-thirds of the patients reported remembering God (66 %) and praying to God (62 %) helped them to a large extent, revealed a PGI study published in the Asian Journal of Psychiatry.

The study sample comprised 50 patients admitted to the PGI here.

The study  has been authored by Dr Swapnajeet Sahoo, Dr Aseem Mehra, Dr Devakshi Dua and Dr Sandeep Grover from the Department of Psychiatry, Dr Vikas Suri and Dr Pankaj Malhotra from Internal Medicine, Dr Lakshmi Narayana Yaddanapudi and Dr GD Puri from the Department of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Unit.

When asked about the coping methods used during the hospital stay to adapt to the situation and negative emotions, 34 per cent respondents said listening to religious discourses was quite helpful in overcoming negative emotional states during their stay in the hospital.

According to the study, people in India usually turn to God at the time of crisis, and possibly externalising the responsibility to a higher power leads to a reduction in anxiety and distress.

The study suggested that clinicians involved in managing people with COVID-19 infection should carefully evaluate the religious beliefs and practices of the patients, and if they find that the person has been successfully using positive religious coping in the past, they should be encouraged to use the same.

When asked about the change in perspective in life after surviving the COVID-19 infection, almost all of the participants reported an increased ‘faith in God’ and about one-fourth reported a decrease in their faith in ‘power of money’.

Battling depression

The PGI finding also suggested that despite being provided psychological support, about two-fifth (38 %) of the people diagnosed with COVID-19 infection screen positive for anxiety disorder or depression close to their discharge.

“This suggests that going through the experience of COVID-19 infection is very stressful, and despite providing psychological support, many patients go on to develop psychological morbidity,” the study concluded.

“There is a need to follow up the patient with COVID-19 infection, even after discharge to evaluate them for ongoing psychiatric morbidity and manage the same adequately,” it added.

Covid blues

  • On hearing the news about the diagnosis of COVID-19, about one-sixth patients felt that they were “going to die”.
  • Upon seeing the healthcare professionals in personal protective equipment, 24 % reported that it felt like they were interacting with aliens, astronauts/space scientists (14 %), or robots (22 %).

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