There are some patients who have been experiencing psychosis way before the coronavirus hit; we’re talking months to years. Their current psychosis is nothing new to their family; they remember them exhibiting paranoia, delusions, bizarre behavior, disappearances and odd behavior from a very long time ago. But ever since the coronavirus hit, some of these patients have become extremely delusional.
One delusion that some of these patients hold is believing that they or their significant other has the cure for the coronavirus. No matter how much you gently challenge their delusions, they will look at you straight in the eye and tell you that you are the one who is insane, when all they want to do is go on the news and reveal their cure. But when you stare back at them with no good answer, they start to become agitated and claim that you are suicidal by not believing them!
It’s very intriguing how ill the human mind can get. Can you imagine becoming so delusional that you believe you have the cure for the coronavirus? Any question that you throw back at these patients such as, “What’s the proof? What’s the cure? Can you show or tell me about it?” and they refuse to engage in the conversation, firing back with a response such as, “I will not negotiate with you. I have to get on television to reveal the cure.”
What’s worse is that some of these patients are convinced that the coronavirus not only spreads through the air, but also through food and water; in other words, they believe all food and water is currently contaminated. Unfortunately, some of them start to refuse to eat and drink, destabilizing their electrolytes and putting a heavy strain on their bodies. What makes these patients very challenging is that what was originally a psychiatric issue has now also manifested itself into a medical issue.
And what’s even more psychiatrically challenging is that these patients do not believe that they have a mental illness; on the contrary, they believe that we are the ones who are “crazy” for not allowing them to reveal their cure for COVID-19. You think you have it bad because you are socially distanced at home? Imagine being psychotic and delusional like these patients!
The coronavirus has definitely worsened the mental health of many psychiatric patients. Some of these patients were previously stabilized on medications and have now decompensated, while some were psychotic prior to COVID-19 but have now become even more psychotic to the point of becoming psychiatrically admitted into an inpatient unit. This goes to show you how environmental events can easily affect the mental health of psychiatric patients.
How are you handling the coronavirus pandemic?
Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)