COVID-19: Minimizing Long-Term Effects


ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Post traumatic stress disorder can occur after a shocking or dangerous event directly impacts you. During this kind of event, you think yours’, or someone else’s life is in danger. About eight percent of the population will have PTSD at some point in their lives, and around eight million adults have PTSD during any given year. But now with the COVID pandemic, will these numbers increase dramatically?

Research shows people quarantined for longer than ten days show significantly higher post-traumatic stress symptoms than those isolated for a shorter period of time. Being stuck at home, what can we do to keep our families mentally healthy?

“You have to project strength and confidence for your child,” explains Oksana Hagerty, PhD, a developmental psychologist at Beacon College.

Keep young children stimulated with puzzles or brain games. With your older children, encourage them not to give up on long-term plans, such as applying for college or keeping up with their hobbies.

“When people are depressed, they tend to exit the contexts and activities that are usually healthy,” shared Hagerty.

Experts believe self-care is key. Eat well, stay active, and prioritize sleep. If constant COVID updates have consumed you, step away from the news reports. These can be the most damaging, inflicting fear and panic that could directly affect your mental health long-term.

“We will be fine, just don’t allow these to change your life forever,” said Hagerty.

If you do need professional help, there are multiple ways you can seek therapy. Companies like Talkspace or BetterHelp offer online therapy options, or search for a therapist in your local area at

Contributors to this news report include: Gabriela Battistiol, Writer; and Roque Correa, Editor.


REPORT #2752

BACKGROUND: One in five American adults experience a mental health issue, and one in 25 Americans live with a serious mental illness, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depression. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, and accounts for the loss of more than 41,000 lives each year. The World Health Organization’s (WHO) work focuses on improving the mental health of individuals and society at large with the promotion of mental well-being, the prevention of mental disorders, the protection of human rights and the care of people affected by mental disorders. About half of mental disorders begin before the age of 14. And, people with severe mental disorders can die 10 to 20 years earlier than those with no mental disorder.

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COVID AND MENTAL HEALTH:  Self-care strategies are good for mental and physical health during the coronavirus and can help you take charge of your life. It’s important to stick to your normal schedule and go to bed and get up at the same time each day. Regular physical activity and exercise can help reduce anxiety and improve mood. Choose a well-balanced diet, avoid loading up on junk food, and limit caffeine as it can aggravate stress and anxiety. Because COVID-19 affects the lungs, it is wise to avoid tobacco, alcohol and drugs. Turn off electronic devices for some time each day, including 30 minutes before bedtime. Finally, set aside time for yourself. Many people benefit from practices such as deep breathing, tai chi, yoga, or meditation. Some self-care mental strategies are limiting your exposure to news and social media. Instead, look for reliable sources such as the CDC and WHO. Enjoy hobbies that you can do at home or begin a new project. Choose to focus on the positive things in life and start each day by listing things you are thankful for. Finally, set reasonable goals each day and outline steps you can take to reach those goals.


TREATMENT DEVELOPMENT: Clinical trials are planned or underway to test drugs that are already approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for other illnesses to see if one or more can impact COVID-19. Antiviral drugs don’t kill a virus but limit the production of new viruses in host cells, possibly shortening the illness. One antiviral drug, called Remdesivir, was initially developed for activity against the Ebola virus and is being examined to see whether it has a role in treating COVID-19. Tocilizumab and sarilumab are drugs used to treat autoimmune illnesses such as rheumatoid arthritis. These drugs are under study in COVID-19 patients to see if the use of such medications may improve the intense immune reaction experienced by some to the virus in later phases of illness. Chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine are compounds used for decades to prevent malaria and treat some autoimmune disorders such as lupus. There is currently no human clinical trial evidence that these drugs are effective for COVID-19. However, some clinicians are using them based on actions against the new coronavirus in test tube studies. The Johns Hopkins team, led by Arturo Casadevall, MD, MS, PhD, an expert in molecular microbiology and immunology and infectious diseases, is collecting antibodies from the blood serum (plasma) of people who have recovered from COVID-19 to see if it could protect those not yet infected.


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Darryl E. Owens, Director of Communications / (352) 638-9789

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