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How to deal with depression after COVID-19 diagnosis

How to deal with depression after COVID-19 diagnosis

The pandemic has created a mental health crisis. The need for therapy sessions has increased dramatically. And as more people receive a diagnosis for the first time, it evokes a sense of defeat that psychologists note in specific groups who get COVID.

dr. Andrea Taylor, a psychologist at UT Physicians and McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston, works with COVID patients.

She said she usually sees anxiety and frustration after diagnosis, but for some people it can actually lead to depression or a feeling of defeat. If that feeling lasts for more than two weeks, it could be a sign of clinical depression that needs intervention.

“Depressed mood, very interested in things. It also affects things like appetite, sleep, decision-making, motivation, all those things that can affect our functioning,” explains Taylor.

Those seemingly more at risk are the elderly population and, she said, pregnant women.

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Taylor said people who have lived in isolation or have gone to great lengths not to get COVID and still get sick may feel particularly depressed when they test positive.

Lindsey Brann of Missouri City is married to a KPRC 2 employee and she was pregnant when she was diagnosed with COVID. She said it was depressing because she felt isolated and worried about her baby’s future.

“My job as a mom is to protect my baby and I felt like I couldn’t protect my baby because I was exposed to something I did everything I could to try not to be exposed,” explains Brann.

Taylor’s advice if you do get sick is to take care of your mental health by focusing on what you can control: taking medicine for symptoms, eating right, and staying hydrated are just a few examples.

“Focus on coping instead of focusing on ‘it didn’t work.’ I think that’s one way to keep people on track,” Taylor said.

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If you’re having suicidal thoughts, Taylor recommends calling the crisis hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or texting 741-741.

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