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Experts eye psychological effects of pandemic in Azerbaijan

25 August 2021 [12:40] - TODAY.AZ

By Azernews

By Vafa Ismayilova 

The first case of coronavirus (COVID-19) that was registered in China's Wuhan in December 2019 has plagued the world for more than a year. 

At present, there is no sector in the world that can avoid the social, economic, psychological or other effects of the virus. Over this period, social isolation and quarantine regimes led to significant changes in people's daily lives, reduced social activity, which consequently resulted in psychological stress.

The lack of a clear idea of ??when the pandemic will end when people will return to normal life and the presence of many assumptions about it create psychological tension in society. One of the reasons for the current psychological tension is that people are overwhelmed with misinformation. 

Improper management of this process can lead to serious psychological disorders in people and even the deterioration of family relationships. During the pandemic, panic attacks, depression, stress, anxiety, tension, and various phobias are observed in citizens.

Under such circumstances, as experts advise there is a need for the proper regulation of interpersonal relationships in the family or at home, to be more sensitive to each other, especially considering that the fact of the pandemic itself will have an impact on people's moods, thoughts, feelings, and actions.

Therefore, in order to prevent additional tensions, it is necessary to pay attention to interpersonal relationships and try to regulate them. Interpersonal relationships should be built in such a way that they have a positive impact on human health. When this is not done properly, people's health, including mental and psychological health, suffers severely.

Negative impact

Local experts have assessed the negative and positive impact of the pandemic on Azerbaijani society. 

Speaking to the local media about the global problem's impact on human psychology, psychologist Gulnar Orujova said if we compare people's lives before the pandemic with today, we can see that they were more comfortable and free.

In a regime that was not limited to anything, they were free to go out whenever they wanted and to spend time wherever they wanted.

The period of restrictions made citizens more aggressive and impatient. As this period of struggle dragged on, it created distrust and fear of death in everyone. There are people who are consciously afraid of death, and their psychology has been badly affected by the pandemic, and a feeling of serious anxiety has been formed. In general, COVID-19 also increased the fear of losing loved ones.

The people who suffered the most from COVID-19 were the couples preparing for the wedding. That is, the postponement of their wedding was really a psychological blow to them. There were young people who have been waiting for their wedding for more than a year. Those who do not believe in the coronavirus pandemic have also realized the problem's seriousness, Orujova said.

Physical distances, lack of public events, and zero contact with people brought "coldness" to society. As a result, it created certain difficulties in adaptation and socialization, especially in children. 

In an interview with the media, psychologist Azad Isazade said that psychologically, since the beginning of the pandemic, when quarantine, SMS, etc. were new, domestic violence, especially violence against children, depression, and fears have increased all over the world.

The expert stressed that as the pandemic is still underway, those factors continue to exist. He said that today it is difficult to predict what will happen after the pandemic.

"But we still do not know today when the pandemic will end. There are two options for how long it lasts. Either people will adapt to the new conditions and this will no longer be a problem, or it may be chronic," Isazade added.

To maintain a healthy psychological state during the pandemic, Isazade advised that society has to take it as a natural process.

"We need to sit down and think and create new habits and traditions within a small family," he said.

The head of the Azerbaijani Health Ministry's Mental Health Centre, Fuad Ismayilov, said that different groups of the population have different psychological problems.

"For example, relatives of people who have died from COVID-19 often have long-term depression. People with severe COVID-19 may develop post-traumatic stress disorder. "Occupational exhaustion syndrome" can be observed in many doctors and medical staff working in severe conditions of coronavirus hospitals. Anxiety-phobia disorder is more common in people with severe physical illness and the elderly. Symptoms may worsen in people with a mental disorder. People who are unemployed and in quarantine for a long time have an adaptation disorder," he said.

Positive impact

Meanwhile, Ismayilov added that along with its negative repercussions, COVID-19 also had positive effects.

"In principle, much has been written about the negative effects. Therefore, as paradoxical as it may sound, I would like to point out a few positive aspects. First, the value system has changed in many people. In particular, the importance of family and friendships has increased, while the number of behaviors related to ill-considered consumption and instruction has decreased. Second, health and education began to dominate human psychology. Finally, the psychological resources of society and... the number of cases of compliance with hygienic norms increased. If you remember, at first there were a lot of unfounded opinions about COVID-19, and many did not believe in the pandemic at all. Now, practically everyone is an 'expert' in this matter," he said.

Ismayilov noted that the European Action Plan for 2021-2025 had been adopted to prevent the impact of the pandemic on mental health.

How to minimize COVID-related stress

In 2020, experts of the Azerbaijani State Examination Centre issued recommendations on ways to protect psychological health and positive mood in the quarantine regime.

The recommendations provide practical advice on overcoming psychological stress - thought management, achieving a positive physiological regime, maintaining a positive statistical balance in communication and behavior, proper nutrition, purposeful and systematic reception of information, goal setting, etc.

Studies show that people who think that their lives depend on external factors are constantly stressed and insecure. Of course, the impact of external factors on our lives is undeniable.

But the decisive role is determined by our thoughts, our attitude to reality, and our reactions to the situation.

Although the spread of the pandemic is beyond our control, it is up to us to protect ourselves and our families, to seek opportunities for action and development in the new environment.

A person who takes responsibility for his own life in difficult conditions, does not hide behind excuses, goes beyond the comfort zone, adapts quickly to the situation, finds and applies new effective methods of work, constantly learns and develops, has a sense of control over his life. These types of people are always optimistic and have a positive effect on others, the experts said.


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