Anxiety in healthcare workers in the COVID-19 crisis.
A summary of the symptoms of anxiety that can arise among healthcare professionals.
The coronavirus pandemic not only poses a risk from the point of view of physical illness. It has also raised the risk of developing psychological health problems as well, both because of the implications of exposure to COVID-19 and because of its impact on people's finances and lifestyles.
However, one of the most important aspects of this COVID-19 crisis is that it does not affect everyone equally. One of the groups most affected by the virus and its disease is healthcare professionals, who have been exposed to a very complicated work situation, marked by stress and anxiety, for several weeks in a row.
That is precisely what we are going to talk about in this article, about the psychological disorders related to anxiety in physicians, nurses and healthcare professions in general. in general.
How does anxiety arise?
First of all, let us look at the nature of the anxiety developed by many healthcare personnel during the coronavirus crisis, in order to understand what the problem is. To do this, we must be able to distinguish between anxiety as a psychological disorder and anxiety as a psychological coping mechanism..
Although the thought of anxiety may bring to mind all the discomfort it tends to generate, the truth is that anxiety is not in itself negative. In fact, the fact that it is present in most animals already gives us a clue that it is very useful.
The reason for this is that when we are anxious, we usually adopt a greater predisposition to make ourselves safe and to avoid unnecessary damage and problems. For example, during these days anxiety is part of what has led millions of people to adopt measures of social distancing and prevention of contagions.
However, there are cases in which anxiety becomes so extreme that it becomes an added problem in itself, something we must learn to manage in order to avoid.We must learn to manage it through conscious efforts. And when this is combined with the need to attend to responsibilities as important as those of the healthcare personnel in a hospital, the mixture can generate a high level of psychological wear and tear.
Manifestations of anxiety in healthcare personnel in the COVID-19 crisis
The healthcare personnel who have been involved in looking after the well-being of patients and treating them in the best possible way during the COVID-19 crisis crisis found themselves, almost overnight, faced with the need to give the maximum of their work capacity, even in the absence of sufficient material resources.even without sufficient material resources.
To a certain extent, the anxiety is justified by the work situation, but in certain cases this level of emotional disturbance remains for practically the whole day with high levels of intensity, threatening not to disappear even in the face of a drop in the number of cases of contagion. It is true that this is not only a psychological problem, given that their working conditions are very hard, but we cannot deny either that the way in which we learn to manage our emotions plays an important role in our work environment..
But how do anxiety problems manifest themselves in healthcare workers in times of the coronavirus? Let's see a summary of its symptoms.
1. Irritability and a propensity to anger
Many healthcare professionals experience anxiety as something that exhausts their patience; not because they consciously believe that there is reason to be angry with their environment, but because of the emotional fatigue of constantly having to deal with urgent problems of great importance to patients. As a result, it is relatively common for them to be relatively relatively common for them to be frustrated and more prone to have arguments or outbursts of anger even in the or outbursts of anger even in the domestic sphere, with all the problems that this entails.
2. Rumination and feelings of guilt
When you work day to day with people who are totally or almost totally dependent on your work, it is easier to end up with feelings of guilt. Thoughts about what could have been done and what was not done.These are characteristics of a phenomenon known as psychological rumination, which is typical of anxiety problems.
Basically, the person who experiences psychological rumination has problems to "stop thinking about" an idea that causes discomfort or whose contents are disturbing in some way.
3. Problems in the processing of future episodic thought.
It seems that people suffering from generalized anxiety have problems in managing psychological processes based on future episodic thinking, i.e., predictions about what will happen.
In particular, these imagination-based mental representations are less vivid than in other people, and are biased toward pessimism. are biased toward pessimism. In this way, it is easier to believe that nothing will change for the better, which contributes to the person not trying to address their problems in those aspects that are under their control.
4. Sleeping problems
Sleep disturbances are very common among anxiety sufferers.. This is very noticeable in the case of health personnel, because the lack of rest makes them work worse, exposing them even more to problems.
5. Emotional fatigue
As a result of all the above, the emotional fatigue developed by healthcare professionals is mixed with the physical fatigue of their work. is mixed with the physical fatigue of working under pressure..
(Updated at Mar 28 / 2023)