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Coronavirus: Think positive to reduce anxiety, say doctors in UAE

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Positive thoughts are a powerful tool to reduce stress and its impact on the mind and body even as Covid-19 pandemic undermines people’s mental health, said Dr Hadir Abdelrahman, specialist physician, Behavioural Sciences Pavilion, Sheikh Khalifa Medical City.

“Over the past few months, an atmosphere of heightened anxiety has been created for each one of us. We have been seeing a rise in anxiety, depression and sleeping disorders with the increase in social isolation, confinement measures, along with economic strains and disruptions of the work life balance. People with pre-existing mental health conditions have been adversely affected,” he told Khaleej Times.

“During this time, mental wellbeing is of utmost importance. Maximise healthy social connections while preserving physical distance with family and friends to build resilience.

“Among the few things we can do to keep our minds and bodies healthy and safe are to maintain a good lifestyle good nutrition and keeping a regular sleep-wake cycle,” Dr Hadir said.

Wide-ranging care

Dr Nahida Ahmed, consultant psychiatrist and chair of Behavioural Health Council for Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (Seha), said a wide-range of options, both in private and public sectors, are available to treat mental illnesses – a disorder that changes a person’s mood, thinking or behaviour.

“Some milder forms of mental illnesses can be best addressed with just psychotherapy while the more moderate to severe range need medication interventions, and those acutely sick may need hospitalisation,” Dr Nahida said.

“There are day centres available for the chronically ill patients where they get rehabilitation facilities. We have home psychiatric visits for the more serious bed-bound or disabled patients, where the teams provide care to these patients in the comfort of their homes.”

Seha runs two major mental health hospitals: Behavioural Science Pavilion at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City and Behavioural Science Institute at Al Ain Hospital.

“We also have primary care clinics, where active screening for depression and anxiety is undertaken by doctors, to facilitate early detection and intervention for mental health disorders,” Dr Nahida added.

Any person needing assistance with issues of mental health can reach out to Seha on 80050.

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