Abstract
EFFECTS OF LOCKDOWN ON PSYCHOLOGICAL HEALTH AND FOOD HABITS OF MEDICAL, DENTAL, PHYSIOTHERAPY AND NURSING COLLEGE STUDENTS OF GUJARAT

*Kaushal S. Patel, Boney J. Lapsiwala, Rohan D. Patel, Alap R. Parmar

ABSTRACT

Currently, all of us are experiencing emotions, thoughts and situations we have never experienced before. It is not that there were no pandemics earlier. Pandemics, particularly plague outbreaks have been known since times immemorial. The Cholera pandemic followed by the flu pandemic were highlights of the nineteenth century. Another cholera epidemic and the “Spanish Flu”, ravaged the world in the early part of the twentieth century. Subsequently, while there have been outbreaks of Asian flu, SARS, MERS, Ebola, etc, the pandemic of COVID-19 is on a completely different scale. It has shaken the entire world and created global panic. As COVID-19 initially creeps in and subsequently spreads at a galloping pace, it has been ravaging country after country.[1] The pandemic has significant and variable psychological impacts in each country, depending on the stage of the pandemic. In India, the first and foremost responses to the pandemic has been fear and a sense of clear and imminent danger. Fears have ranged from those based on facts to unfounded fears based on information/misinformation circulating in the media, particularly social media. At a time when change is the only constant (concerning advisories and precautions, as we move through different stages), then What to do? What not to do? Questions are near-universal and give rise to worry and fear. Each of us responds differently to the barrage of information from global and local sources. This can lead to those who are the “worried well”, those who develop distressful psychological symptoms and maladaptive coping with stress, and those who develop a mental disorder. The fears of contracting the illness are also frequent and range from misinterpreting every fever or cough as a COVID-19 infection, wanting a test done for reassurance even though there are strict guidelines for testing, to hoarding medications despite that are not reqiured. There are also real worries of job losses and economic slowdown during and following the pandemic. The list is endless and leads to a cycle of concern, worry, and distress. On the other extreme are also completely unworried or uncaring, who feel they are invincible and do not need to follow any advisory or precaution. This attitude can also lead to an endangerment to self and others.[2]

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