Social support system and staying busy will boost psychological immunity: Dr Om Prakash

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Dr Om Prakash


Since the beginning of the pandemic, all the experts across the globe have continuously asked people to boost the immune system to be able to fight this deadly and infectious virus. But nobody ever talked about boosting or enhancing the psychological immune system.

While many have survived the ill effects of the pandemic, but its impact on the mind is something that lingers on. However, experts believe that humans possess something called the psychological immune system, which gives the ability to people to make the best out of worst situations. It is what gives strength to people to cope with losses, traumatic experiences, injuries, and misery.To know more in detail about the same, Drug Today Medical Times (DTMT)’s Misbah Ali exclusively talked to Dr. Om Prakash, Professor of Psychiatry, Institute of Human Behaviour & Allied Sciences (IHBAS), Delhi.

On asking how to boost the psychological immune system, Dr. Prakash stressed the importance of the support system and keeping oneself busy.

“I believe that the support system plays a very important part in this. Asking someone to keep up the morale during the lockdown is practically not effective. If the person in the lockdown tries to build up the social support system like with any neighbor, any family member, or with any long distant relative then definitely the psychological immune system will be strengthened because living in isolation and continuously thinking about the memories will make a person distressed. And the condition of those already facing any psychological disorder will worsen,” Dr. Prakash said.

“During the lockdown, it was hard for few people to stay busy while at home. Engaging in some work was a second issue. Not all can identify how to engage in an activity while at home. I met so many people and observed that the situation has become much grave. One should identify a hobby that is possible to do at home that like gardening, cooking reading, etc. that boosts your psychological immunity,” he added.

While talking about the impact of COVID-19 on mental health of people, Dr. Prakash said the impact of both waves was different on mental health of the people.

“During the first wave, people were more distressed about social factors like employment. We witnessed that anxiety and depression were more prominent during that time. Alcohol withdrawal was also prominent due to shortage in supplies,” Dr. Prakash said.

“In the second wave situation was complex, people were more worried about healthcare infrastructure. They were more worried about their physical health, thinking about whether they will survive or not, which affected the entire family. So the second wave was more complicated. People are still recovering from the second wave,” he further added.

Talking about the phobia related to the virus, he said that one can never overcome the COVID phobia.

“It is easy to say but it is hard to implement in practicality because at the end of the day everyone has a family who they care about more than their own lives,” he added.


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