Benhamou AND Piedra (2020) The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major effect on our lives. Many of us are facing challenges that can be stressful, overwhelming, and cause strong emotions in adults and children. Public health actions, such as social distancing, are necessary to reduce the spread of COVID-19, but they can make us feel isolated and lonely and can increase stress and anxiety. Learning to cope with stress in a healthy way will make you, the people you care about, and those around you become more resilient.
Changes in appetite, energy, desires, and interests
Difficulty concentrating and making decisions
Difficulty sleeping or nightmares
Physical reactions, such as headaches, body pains, stomach problems, and skin rashes
Worsening of chronic health problems
Worsening of mental health conditions
Increased use of tobacco, alcohol, and other substances
Pfefferbaum and North (2020) Fear, worry, and stress are normal responses to perceived or real threats, and at times when we are faced with uncertainty or the unknown. So it is normal and understandable that people are experiencing fear in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Added to the fear of contracting the virus in a pandemic such as COVID-19 are the significant changes to our daily lives as our movements are restricted in support of efforts to contain and slow down the spread of the virus. Faced with new realities of working from home, temporary unemployment, home-schooling of children, and lack of physical contact with other family members, friends and colleagues, it is important that we look after our mental, as well as our physical, health. WHO, together with partners, is providing guidance and advice during the COVID-19 pandemic for health workers, managers of health facilities, people who are looking after children, older adults, people in isolation and members of the public more generally, to help us look after our mental health.
Miller (2020) CBT tells us that excessive attempts to control are associated with thoughts such as “I am vulnerable,” and assumptions that “If I don’t overprepare, then I will fall victim.” When we think this way, we feel fear and irritability. When thoughts, emotions and behaviors are aligned in this way, a repetitive cycle begins based on the belief “There is danger and whatever I do is inadequate.” This is the underlying explanation for why trying to gain control only leads individuals to feel less in control.How do you give up control and how does giving up control help you to feel better? CBT uses a scientific approach to answer these questions. First, question yourself about what sounds reasonable and is founded in scientific evidence. For instance, “Does it make sense and is there evidence to support the effectiveness of recommendations such as social distancing, hand washing, and keeping your hands away from your face?” Alternatively, “Does it make sense and is there evidence to suggest that repeatedly scrubbing your hands for more than 20 seconds will reduce the likelihood of contracting the virus?” Most people conclude that the first question is answered affirmatively and that the second question is not. Listening to public health officials and saying, “I have done everything that is reasonably possible” is a step that illustrates that one is shifting the focus from listening to fear-related thoughts such as “I am in danger” to more realistic thoughts such as “I have followed the recommendations of the scientists who know more about the virus that I do.” The next step can be a difficult one. Unfortunately, doing everything that we possibly can do does not give us absolute control over the virus, or even our immediate surroundings. Even on a good day, we as individuals don’t control the world. Whether it’s good things that happen to us on a daily basis or a global pandemic, we don’t sit in the driver’s seat. In spite of the actions we take, we don’t control much about our surroundings. This step is accepting at a deep level that we don’t have control. In situations when we don’t get what we want, or worse, that we get what we don’t want, we may feel hurt and angry.If we give up control, where does that leave us? Well, most of us are left at home isolated from people we know and deprived of activities we like. This is a perfect time to reflect on things we truly value and what is important to us. This is a very individual matter. People may value being productive, providing for their families, spirituality, relationships, activities, the arts, sports, or something else. Which of these that we as individuals value is not the important thing, although we may reassess what we think is important at a time like this.
Miller (2020) When we have identified what we value and what is important to us, we are uniquely empowered to pursue those things. CBT tells us that acting according to our values will help us feel better and improve our self-efficacy. We have empowered ourselves to act on those things we have determined are most important to us. By doing so, we give ourselves control. Control— the thing we have wanted all along— is now ours. As we move along this path, it is essential that we keep in mind what we value. What we do and how we do it will be meaningful and have purpose for us when we remind ourselves that we are pursuing our own aspirations. We can use CBT to reduce our fears, conquer overwhelmed feelings, change our thinking and act in meaningful ways.
At the start of 2020, originating from Wuhan city, coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) started to spread throughout China.1 The World Health Organization has declared this to be a pandemic.2 Both healthcare workers and the general public have been experiencing psychological problems, including anxiety, depression, and stress, as a result of the rapidly increasing numbers of confirmed cases and deaths.3 Isolation strategies are used throughout the world to limit the spread of the virus. While these strategies are essential in protecting lives, isolation might add to the stress and is highly likely to lead to emotional health problems.4 It is difficult to predict the long-term physical and mental health consequences of COVID-19. However, an economic crisis is highly likely to follow that might worsen the mental and emotional health problems across the nations.5. There is a need to develop and test evidence-based interventions that can help build resilient communities to help people cope with the current situation, deal with physical health issues as well as the personal trauma, and most importantly to prevent future emotional and mental health problems. Such intervention should also be low cost, easy to deliver in a variety of formats at a public health scale. We believe Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) is the ideal interventional tool to build resilience.
This study examined the effectiveness of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) in relieving patients' psychological distress during the COVID-19 epidemic.