Tackling Stress & Anxiety During the Lockdown of COVID-19 through homeopathy


Source of image:  http://freepik.com 

Authors
Dr. R.Valavan, BHMS, MD (Hom), MBA
Dr. Nitesh Sharma, BHMS, CDO, CSG, CCD
Homoeopathic Practitioners
Indirapuram, Ghaziabad.

Almost the whole world is suffering from pandemic known as COVID-19 by one or the other way, irrespective of economic, technologic, weapon, political advantages they have. From the ever increasing cases of the COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdown, it’s understandable that many might begin to feel increasing stress. If we look at the statistics,total confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide are close to 20 lakhs and death cases are 1.25 lakhs as on 16th April 2020. Ever increasing death toll, lack of proven line of treatment,isolated at home, lack of social life and financial crisis lead us to develop various social, psychological and emotional trauma. There are several homoeopathic medicines which are known to increase the immunity of individual and bring down the anxiety and stress. In this article, detail about the different factors of anxiety and fear along with its general and homoeopathic management are discussed.

What are coronavirus and COVID-19?

Common cold can be caused by several viruses. Among them Rhinovirus, Coronavirus, RSV and para-influenza are the most common. The coronavirus is the cause of about 20% of colds especially in the winter and early spring.[1],[2]Coronavirus is broadly of 7 types. Most of the coronaviruses are not life threatening but current one has high mortality rate. This new strain of coronavirus is officially named as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Disease caused by SARS-CoV-2 is named in the abbreviated from COVID-19 (COronaVIrusDisease - 2019).Other severe diseases causes by other coronaviruses include Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS)[3] and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)[4].

What are the signs and symptoms of COVID-19?

Symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to common cold like fever, tirednessand dry cough. Bodyaches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea may also present in some individuals.2 In 80% of cases patient recovers from the disease without any treatment,just like other common colds.Data analysis done by researchersshows that COVID-19 affects older persons and persons with medical conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, lung disease, cancer or diabetes with serious illness more often than others.

Causes of stress and anxiety due to COVID-19

Coronavirus spreads from person to person by the droplets from the nose or mouth of the infected person coming out when he coughs, sneezes, or exhales. That is why one meter distance between two people is necessary. It can spread if the droplets land on objects and surfaces around the person. Other people then catch COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. Hence to avoid such contact spread government has taken a bold step to lockdown the whole country.On the other hand,some people may have impact on psychology due to self-isolation, lack of social life, too much use of electronic devices, etc.Impact of the infection is rapidly changing and can be confusing, overwhelming and scary. Dealing with high risk family member or patients, a roller coaster economy, adjustment of unfamiliar situation can pile up the stress and can negatively impact the mind and body.Below are 6 important factors affecting psychologicallyduring COVID-19.

1. Stress and anxiety due to lack of social life

Human beings are the social animal. This social distancing come with own risks. This isolation and loneliness can increase the depression and anxiety even impact the physical health. Psychologist Samantha Brooks, PhD, at Kings College London, and colleagues in their research found the negative psychological impact of the quarantine such as post-traumatic stress, confusion of mind and anger.[5] 

2. Stress due to financial problem

Due to lockdown many people become jobless especially who were relying on daily wages. People are in fear and anxiety of losing jobs. Unemployment rate has always been on higher side in India in recent times. The urban unemployment rate was 7.16% in January 2020 which rose by 30.9% in March 2020 due to COVID-19 according to data released by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE).[6] 

3. Fear of lack of daily usage products

Many people are doing panic purchasing due to fear of non-availability of the daily usage product in the market/shops. Unnecessarily they are storing the material in their house which is leading to high demand and high price rate and burden to poor people. 

4. Fear of near and dear one getting infected

People are in constant fear of being infected due lack of awareness and constant increase in the infection data.This virus becomes a pandemic in very short span of time which has created the panic condition among the people. As we have discussed above that COVID-19 shows severe symptoms in people suffering from diabetes, hypertension, or any medical conditions and older people. India is home to over 60 million adults with diabetes[7], 32.5% are suffering from hypertension[8], 1.31 billion people are suffering from asthma[9]. This data can be the matter of concern.

5. Role of media in anxiety and distress

It is vital to be aware and informed but obsessively checking the data can lead to fear anxiety and depression. Undisrupted news of COVID 19 on news channels and unauthenticated news from social media are working as a fuel in this panic situation. As per the study media of any kind can undermine mental health.[10] 

6.    No treatment in main stream medicine

As we are aware there is no line of treatment in main stream medicine or any vaccine is available. This is creating chaos in the society. Hence even common flu causes much fear in the patients.

Impact of stress and anxiety on mind and body

Reaction of stress, anxiety and depression can appear in a variety of physical, psychological, emotional and behavioral symptomsof an individual.Individual may feel headaches, neck tension,gastrointestinal problems, lack of sleep, fatigue feeling, lack of appetite, etc. Emotionally and psychologically it can appear as negative vision of things or daily events, discouragement, insecurity, sadness, anger, etc. Difficulty in concentration, irritability, increase use of tobacco, alcohol can be the behavioral symptom.

Some important tips to manage the stress and anxiety in COVID-19     
  • Getting enough sleep is very important during times like this.
  •  Minimize the news watching time to half an hour. Minimize the social media activity and be active in spending time with family members.
  • Time can be utilized to listening music, dancing, exercising, reading or any hobby that makes individual satisfies.
  • Doat least 1 hour exercise for the better digestion and to boost the immunity.
  • Social media can be a powerful tool if used wisely people may connect to their loved ones.
  • Make it a priority to stay in touch with friends and family. If you tend to withdraw when depressed or anxious, think about scheduling regular phone, chat, or Skype dates to counteract that tendency.
  • Sunshine and fresh air helps the individual to take out from the depression and low mood.
Association between anxiety, stress and weak immunity

There are several studies supporting that stress and anxiety are interlinked. The relation between psychological and physiological features of disease and progression through psychoneuroimmunology is reported.It is found that chronic stress and depression probably impair the immune response and contribute to the development and progression of disease.[11]In the report relationship between anxiety disorders and a wide range of physical disorders was examined. Multiple logistic regression analysis is used to find the relationship between pastyear anxiety disorder diagnosis and pastyear chronic physical disorder. Anxiety disorders were positively found associated with physical disorders.[12] Homoeopathic master Dr. Kent quoted referring an incidence of epidemic “Man is protected from sickness in two ways, by Homoeopathy and by use.The physician and the nurse who go into the district of yellow fever or typhoid or diphtheria or smallpox, who keep busy, who have, in the highest sense of the word, the true love of the use, who have gone into the work as mediums of mercy, will be largely protected just simply from their love of the work, from their delight in it.They have no fear. Fear is an overwhelming cause of sickness; those who fall prey to fear are likely to become sick, but those who, face disease with no fear are likely to remain well; they do sometimes fall sick, it is true, but I believe it is because they begin to have fear in the work.”[13].

Probable role of homoeopathy in the management of COVID-19 and related stress [14],[15],[16]

Homoeopathic remedies have been used as prophylactic to prevent the epidemic since centuries.Tracing the history it was Hahnemann who first applied the genus epidemicus in 1799 during a scarlet fever epidemic he treated in the German town Königslutter. It is an interesting story that how Dr. Hahnemann had accidentally discovered the genus epidemicus. A few members of large family with scarlet fever approached Dr. Hahnemann for treatment. He noticed that a child already under the doses Belladonna for other problem did not develop symptoms of scarlet fever. That was the moment he discovered Belladonna as a prophylactic for the entire family which he administered to all of them. Hahnemann concluded that a remedy that rapidly cures at the onset of an illness would be the best preventative.[17]

Homoeopathy was successfully applied during the epidemic of Spanish flu in 1918-19, where around 20 million people died globally. Mortality rate in homoeopathic treated population was 1-2%, whereas it was 30-60% in people treated by conventional physicians.[18],[19]Chikungunya, dengue fever, acute encephalitis/japanese encephalitis, cholera and dengue were also successfully managed with homoeopathy.[20]

Recenlty Ministry of AYUSH, Government of India has published the recommendation of Expert Committee constituted by CCRH for the using of Arsenicum album 30CH as Genus epidemicus for prevention.[21],[22],[23] Following that, many governments and autonomous bodies under different governments have used this as prophylactic.[24],[25]Apart from that, many other stalwarts have suggested possible role of other drugs in the current situation[26],[27],[28]A group of homoeopaths from Italy have published an observational study of confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients.[29] None of the patients was required hospitalization.

There are several concepts of homoeopathic prescription. One among them is psychosomatic concept. Prescription is based on analyzing the symptoms of mind and body. Below we are elaborating the indications of few homoeopathic remedies that can help to boost the immunity against infections and also to manage stress during the lockdown.

Proposed homoeopathic remedies for COVID-19 symptoms and the stress thereof

Arsenicum album
Thin, watery, excoriating discharge. Nose feels stopped up. Sneezing without relief.coryza; worse in open air; better indoors. Burning and bleeding. Unable to lie down; fears suffocation. Air-passages constricted. Difficult respiration after midnight. Cough dry better by warm drink. Great anguish and restlessness. Changes place continually. Fears, of death, of being left alone. Profound weakness with restlessness. Thinks it useless to take medicine. Suicidal. Hallucinations of smell and sight. Despair drives him from place to place.

Allium cepa
Coryza, with acrid nasal discharge and laryngeal symptoms, eye secretion bland; Sneezing, especially when entering a warm room. Copious, watery and extremely acrid discharge.Hacking cough on inspiring cold air.Tickling in larynx. Sensation as if larynx is split or torn. Oppressed breathing from pressure in middle of chest. Very melancholy and often very anxious, with catarrh, dulness of intellect.

Argentum nitricum
Coryza, with chilliness, lachrymation, and headache.Raw, rough and sore in throat.Sensation of a splinter in throat on swallowing.Suffocative cough, as if from a hair in throat. Dyspnoea. Chest feels as if a bar were around it. Fearful and nervous; impulse to jump out of window. Melancholic; apprehensive of serious disease.Impulsive; wants to do things in a hurry. Peculiar mental impulses. Fears and anxieties and hidden irrational motives for actions.

Aconite napellus
State of fear, anxiety due to disease; anguish of mind and body. Physical and mental restlessness, fright, is the most characteristic manifestation of Aconite. Acute, sudden, and violent invasion, with fever.Pain at root of nose.Coryza much sneezing; throbbing in nostrils.Mucous membrane dry, nose stopped up; dry or with but scanty watery coryza.Hoarse, dry, croupy cough; loud, labored breathing.Cough, dry, short, hacking; worse at night and after midnight.

Belladonna
Coryza; mucus mixed with blood. Throat dry, as if glazed; angry-looking congestion; red, worse on right side. Tonsils enlarged; throat feels constricted; difficult deglutition; worse, liquids. Dryness in nose, fauces, larynx, and trachea.Tickling, short, dry cough; worse at night.Barking cough, whooping cough, with pain in stomach before attack, with expectoration of blood.Stitches in chest when coughing. Larynx very painful; feels as if a foreign body were in it, with cough. Melancholy, with grief, hypochondriacal humour, moral dejection, and discouragement. Melancholy, with grief, hypochondriacal humour, moral dejection, and discouragement.Nervous anxiety, restlessness, desire to escape.

Bryonia alba
Bursting, splitting headache with coryza, as if everything would be pressed out.Coryza with shooting and aching in the forehead. Swelling of tip of nose, feels as if it would ulcerate when touched. Dryness of mouth, tongue, and throat, with excessive thirst. Cough, dry, at night; must sit up; worse after eating or drinking, with vomiting, with stitches in chest, and expectoration of rust-colored sputa. Frequent desire to take a long breath; must expand lungs. Difficult, quick respiration; worse every movement; caused by stitches in chest. Anxiety and inquietude, with fear of the future. Exceedingly irritable and inclined to be angry. Restlessness, with fear of the future; fear of death, which he thinks is near.

Calcarea carbonica
Catarrhal symptoms with hunger; coryza alternates with colic.Stoppage of nose, also with fetid, yellow discharge. Swelling of tonsils and submaxillary glands; stitches on swallowing. Tickling cough troublesome at night, dry and free expectoration in morning.Extreme dyspnoea.Painless hoarseness; worse in the morning.Expectoration only during the day; thick, yellow, sour mucus.Chest very sensitive to touch, percussion, or pressure. Anxiety and anguish, excited by fancies, or frightful stories, also with shuddering and dread during the twilight, or at night. Excessive anguish, with palpitations of the heart, ebullition of the blood, and shocks in the epigastrium.

Camphora
It is suitable in some acute complaints attended with nervous excitement, even to frenzy, with spasms and convulsions and finally exhaustion. In the mental state, there is anxiety and extreme fear; fear of persons, of strange spheres, of the dark; the dark is filled with imaginary specters; he dare not get out of bed in the dark; everything that moves is a specter and the inanimate things of the room become alive and terrify him.Nose stopped; sneezing. Fluent coryza on sudden change of weather.Cold and pinched.Persistent epistaxis, especially with goose-flesh state of skin.Præcordial distress.Suffocative dyspnœa.Asthma.Violent, dry, hacking cough.Palpitation.Breath cold.Suspended respiration. Anxiety with fretfulness. Great anguish and discouragement. Afraid of his own thoughts. Dulness of the senses. Loss of consciousness. Confusion of ideas; delirium.

Carbo vegetabilis
Coryza with cough, especially in moist, warm weather.Ineffectual efforts to sneeze.Cough with itching in larynx; spasmodic with gagging and vomiting of mucus.Whooping cough, especially in beginning.Hoarseness of voice; worse, evenings, talking; evening oppression of breathing, sore and raw chest. Wheezing and rattling of mucus in chest. Cough, with burning in chest; worse in evening, in open air, after eating and talking.Persons who have never fully recovered from the effects of some previous illness.  Inquietude and anxiety, esp. in the evening (4-6 p.m.). Fear of spectres, esp. at night. Timidity, irresolution, and embarrassment in society. Despair with lachrymose humour, and discouragement, with desire for death, and tendency to suicide.

Dulcamara
Dry coryza. Complete stoppage of nose.Thick, yellow mucus, bloody crusts. Profuse coryza. Wants nose kept warm, least cold air stops the nose. Headache relieved by conversation. Cough worse cold, wet weather, with free expectoration, tickling in larynx. Cough, hoarse, spasmodic.Whooping-cough, with excessive secretion of mucus. Winter coughs, dry, teasing. Asthma with dyspnœa.Loose, rattling cough; worse wet weather.Must cough a long time to expel phlegm. Cough after physical exertion. Impatient desire for different things, which are rejected as soon as they are obtained. Inclination to scold, without being angry.

Hepar sulphur
Sneezes every time he goes into a cold, dry wind, with running from nose, later, thick, offensive discharge. Cough troublesome when walking. Dry, hoarse cough. Cough excited whenever any part of the body gets cold or uncovered, or from eating anything cold. Croup with loose, rattling cough; worse in morning.Choking cough. Rattling, croaking cough; suffocative attacks; has to rise up and bend head backwards. Anxious, wheezing, moist breathing, asthma worse in dry cold air; better in damp.The slightest cause irritates him. Anguish in the evening and night, with thoughts of suicide.

Kali carbonica
Nose stuffs up in warm room. Thick, fluent, yellow discharge.Post-nasal dropping. Anxiety felt in stomach. Hoarseness and loss of voice.Dry, hard cough about 3 am, with stitching pains and dryness of pharynx. Cough with relaxed uvula. Expectoration scanty and tenacious, but increasing in morning and after eating. Anxious apprehension and inquietude, esp. about the health, with fear of not being cured.Shrieks about imaginary appearances.

Mercurius solubilis
Much sneezing.Sneezing in sunshine. Nostrils raw, ulcerated; nasal bones swollen.  Coryza; acrid discharge, but too thick to run down the lip; worse, warm room.Pain and swelling of nasal bones, and caries, with greenish fetid ulceration.Coryza, with sneezing; sore, raw, smarting sensation; worse, damp weather; profuse, fluent. Cough, with yellow muco-purulent expectoration. Stitches from lower lobe of right lung to back. Complaints increase with the sweat and rest; all associated with a great deal of weariness, prostration, and trembling. Great anguish, restlessness (is constantly changing from place to place), and agitation, with fear of losing the reason, or with excessive internal torment, principally in evening, or in bed at night, as if conscious of having committed some crime.Great indifference to everything. Home-sickness with nightly anxiety and perspiration.

Phosphorus
Great lowness of spirits. Dread of death when alone. insanity, with an exaggerated idea of one's own importance. Nose red, swollen, and painful to touch.Coryza; with inflammation (soreness) of throat and dullness and confusion of head; fluent and dry alternating.Frequent sneezing.Obstruction of nose, espesially in morning. Nervous coughs provoked by strong odors, entrance of a stranger; worse in the presence of strangers; worse lying upon left side; in cold room. Pneumonia, with oppression; worse, lying on left side.Tightness across chest; great weight on chest. Affections of the mind in general; amativeness; dizziness of the mind. Fear: in evening; of darkness; of spectres; of things creeping out of corners. Becomes easily vexed and angry, which makes him exceedingly vehement, from which he suffers afterwards.

Mother tinctures to boost the immunity

Echinacea angustifolia
It is a remarkable remedy used as a corrector of blood dyscrasia. For acute auto-infection.Research establishes it as immune stimulant against both virus and bacteria, is antifungal, anti-inflammatory, detoxifying, wound healing drug.

Ginseng
It is an adaptogenic tonic; helps the body to adapt to stress, fatigue, cold, mental or emotional problems. Recent research indicates it as immunostimulant, for improving resistance to infections. It also improves liver functions.It is also used in paralytic weakness, hiccough, skin symptoms, itching, pimples on neck and chest.

Propolis
The drug comes from Mexican origin with the old established value to improve vital functions. Traditionally used for various disorders, the drug has attracted modern medical research teams who have established that it has antibacterial properties.

Thuja occidentalis
A drug of choice where the condition is attributed to infection with discharge of puss. It has antibacterial activity and also overcomes the side effects of vaccinations.

References


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