Schizophrenia patients face challenges during Covid-19


People living with mental health challenges such as schizophrenia are at a high risk of catching the Coronavirus. The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) says People with this disorder are isolated from family members and support systems and this can badly affect schizophrenia patients even more.

It is more difficult for them and they are feeling overwhelmed by the overconsumption of bad news as they keep abreast of health developments.

Schizophrenia is a long-term mental disorder of a type involving a breakdown in the relation between thought, emotion, and behavior, leading to faulty perception, inappropriate actions and feelings, withdrawal from reality and personal relationships into fantasy and delusion, and a sense of mental fragmentation.

However, the Schizophrenia symptoms can be raised during periods of isolation, like time spent during the lockdown, away from colleagues, family, friends, and support systems. Although schizophrenia affects the brain, SADAG said that it can also have physical, financial, and psychological challenges.

But this is not always easy, especially for those living with mental health challenges. As the realization of the pandemic’s effects became more evident, moods and attitudes changed, which has reduced the motivation to keep active. Especially as there is no longer a structure or routine.

A survey by SADAG has indicated that 46% of respondents experienced financial stress during the lockdown in April this year. This can be attributed to the increase in job losses during the lockdown. For people living with schizophrenia, this can be even more devastating as they need access to financial resources to purchase their treatment, to manage their symptoms.

The same SADAG survey has also indicated that 55% of respondents grappled with anxiety and panic during the lockdown, while 6% abused substances.

Abuse of substances directly impacts the effectiveness of schizophrenia treatment, which can lead to worsening symptoms.

For more information on the disease, the community can contact Annie Hodes or call +27 11 887 6591.