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Lecture at AGU Sheds Light on Close Connection Between Covid-19 and Psychological Health

The Arabian Gulf University (AGU) recently hosted a lecture on the impacts of the novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic on psychological health.

Delivered by Psychiatry Department Head at AGU Dr Mariwan Husni, the lecture was titled "The Psychological Effects of Covid-19 after an Immune Cure" and it discussed the recent discovery of the existence of a two-way relation between psychological health and the pandemic.

In the lecture, which was attended by more than 230 physicians, Dr Husni explained that studies conducted on more than 62,000 Covid-19 patients in America have proven that people who were diagnosed with a psychological illness in the immediate year before their infection with Covid-19 are more likely to contract the virus.

He also clarified that patients' psychological illness complicates after their infection with the virus, while on the other hand, people diagnosed with Covid-19 are more vulnerable to psychological illness during and after contracting the virus.

"Cases of anxiety, depression and even dementia increase after infection with Covid-19, compared to influenza and infection of the respiratory system," Dr Husni told the attendees before reviewing with them the mechanism of the body's immune response and how the cytokine storm occurs.

Dr Husni also presented some of the cases that are reviewed by psychiatric clinics at King Hamad University Hospital (KHUH), providing some recommendations on how to deal with the pandemic and prevent it, such as regular eating, sleeping, and exercise, reducing psychological pressures and maintaining social relations using electronic means.

Explaining further, he said: "The rapid and massive spread of Covid-19 leads to psychological stress, the most important of which is anxiety and depression. People live in tension about things around them and it leads to uncertainty about the future. Anxiety about the possibility of disease or injury to family members and loved ones around them leads to a state of permanent tension and anxiety, and may lead to great psychological stress associated with the behaviour that must be followed in these cases."

By the end of the lecture, Dr Husni stressed on the importance of accepting the current situation through realising the infection and recovery rates, searching for reliable information sources, staying in constant contact with family and friends, keeping away from negative people and thoughts and refraining from intensively following the news, which would cause a state of tension and severe nervous pressure, especially with the spread of fake news.