At a time when over 1.3 billion Indians have been asked to stay indoors, people who are claustrophobic or suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) are finding it difficult to obey the 'Lakshmana Rekha Prime Minister Narendra Modi has drawn in from of all homes.
According to health experts, such people should first unplug themselves from the news around new coronavirus (COVID-19) and divert their minds towards constructive thoughts and engage in indoor games.
"People with OCD and those who are claustrophobic need to try and avoid reading or seeing too much negative news. Instead, they can opt for completing the work pending for some time which is a constructive channelization of the energy," said Dr Sameer Malhotra, Director, Department of Mental Health and Behavioural Sciences, Max Super Speciality Hospital, Saket.
"If under treatment, do not stop the medications at this juncture, and if the symptoms are significant, psychiatric intervention may also be required," Malhotra told IANS.
Indians are currently living with 21-day nationwide lockdown, which started from Tuesday midnight.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), OCD is the sixth most disabling psychiatric disorder in the world.
Dr Samir Parikh, Psychiatrist and the Director of the Department of Mental Health and Behavioural Sciences, Fortis Healthcare said that in the face of a pandemic, if you have claustrophobia, OCD or any other form of phobia or anxiety, it is important to ensure that you continue to follow your treatment regimen.
"Stay connected to your doctors, take your medications regularly and also ensure that you continue to take regular therapy sessions through teleconsultations,' Parikh emphasized.
Family too would play a very pertinent role in providing support and being understanding of the challenge being face by the individual.
"Concurrently, it is important to ensure that one engages in maintaining a work-life balance, take care of certain lifestyle-related elements such as the sleep-wake cycle and also engage in activities of interest during this period," Parikh noted.
Malhotra said that it is time to rationalize negative thoughts into positive and meaningful thoughts.
"Discuss general topics, try and engage in healthy conversations at home. It is also the best time to bond with family members," he added.