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Depression and Anxiety During a Pandemic: 9 Common Tips

Anxiety and Depression- Mayflax

Depression and Anxiety During a Pandemic: 9 Common Tips

The pandemic has caused a mental strain on many people around the world. And for those living with anxiety and depression, the impact is severe.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major effect on our lives. Many aspects of everyday life, including mental health, have been affected. The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting our physical, economic, and mental well-being. As a result, many people face struggles that can be frustrating, daunting, and cause adults and children to have strong emotions.

However, social distancing and stay-at-home orders are very challenging, especially for people living with mental illness, COVID-19 exacerbates feelings of depression and anxiety.

Thus, during the Movement Control Order (MCO), with the limited movement, closed borders, and roadblocks, some individuals easily get heightened temperament and irritability at home.

Dr. Robert Leahy an attending psychologist at New York-Presbyterian said: “This is the perfect storm for depression and anxiety,”.

All data and statistics are based on the short article “Prevalence  of  Anxiety, Stress,  Depression  among  Malaysian  Adults during COVID-19 Pandemic Movement Control Order”.

Therefore, the  prevalence  in a score  of Stress  70%  (Mean=2.02), Anxiety  67%  (Mean=1.71) and Depression  42.3% (Mean=2.28). There is a significant prevalence of psychological health problems among adults during adverse events due to the COVID-19 Pandemic Movement Control Order.

In the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic, it’s easy to felt hopeless and despair. But these tips can help to improve your mood and ease your mental health problem.

1. Keep a schedule

Schedule your day with useful things. At the end of the day, check everything and make a list of things to do for the next day, so you can look forward to things.

Furthermore, create a set of goals for the week and month. This is the right time to set short-term and long-term goals.

2. Sleep well

Prioritizing sleep is not always easy when you are in a state of mental health. Stress, Anxiety, and Depression can affect the quality of your sleep.

Therefore, poor sleep can also lead to depression. Fixed your daytime habits and sleep routine can help improve how well you sleep at night and reduce the symptoms of depression.

Finding relaxing activities such as reading, writing a journal, or listening to slow music can cause your brain to slow down before bed.

3. Connect with others

Just because we are isolated does not mean we have to completely isolate ourselves. Make a list of friends to contact whenever you feel bored and lonely. Always stay connected with others !

Set a regular time each day to contact others, and schedule virtual get-togethers on online platforms to talk or share your problem and maybe even play games. Stay in touch with friends, family, and especially the mental health care team if you are diagnosed with anxiety and depression.

4. Find simple sources of joy.

Encourage yourself to do things that will boost your mood throughout the day. Try to listen to uplifting music and dancing around if you can as long as can make you happy all day long.

Alternatively, you can watch funny videos or favorite sitcoms on TV, Instagram, Facebook, or YouTube. Spending time in nature such as walking in the park, or playing with your kids or a pet also can relieve stress.

5. Eat a mood-boosting diet

In times of stress, people always find “comfort foods” such as unhealthy fats, sugar, and refined carbs to release their stress and depression. Therefore, drinks too much caffeine and alcohol also can adversely affect our mood.

Moreover, wholesome foods, fresh food such as salmon, codfish can increase your intake of mood-enhancing nutrients.

6. Stay informed and limit social media usage.

Nowadays, the government always announces information that constantly changes regarding SOP. It is important to stay up-to-date but not to overconsuming sensationalistic news or unreliable social media coverage. This makes your mind full of negative thought and fear.

Limit how often you check the news or social media and limit yourself to reputable sources. Thus, healthcare professionals also recommend not checking the news at least one hour before bedtime.

7. Exercise

Importantly, physical activity is good for mental health. Scientific research has shown that exercise, especially in particular aerobic exercise, can be beneficial for depression and anxiety.

Exercise will release good hormones and lowers your stress hormones. Since covid-19, you cannot go to the gym or fitness studios, try online broadcasts, YouTube workouts, or use the equipment at home to exercise.

Besides that, you can go running or cycling as long as you stay a safe distance away from others who are passing by.

8. Continue treatment or services from mental health professionals

If you are undergoing therapy, taking medication, or both before coronavirus started, make sure to keep up with your treatment regimen. Almost all psychiatrists or mental health professionals are now used online practices like video calls.

Alternatively, you can try an online therapy platform like WhatsApp video, Zoom, Webex, and others.

9. Practice gratefulness and mindfulness

During challenging times, be grateful and mindful can help to cope with anxiety and depression.

“When we take note of the good things in our lives, it bumps up the feel-good hormones of serotonin and dopamine,” said Serani.

As we know, practicing mindfulness meditation is very popular for overcoming depression, anxiety, and stress adds Guttentag.

Also, you can start the practice by taking a few minutes to sit or lying down and try to focus on your breathing. Besides, train your mind to get rid of negative thoughts and feelings to stay away from you.

Counseling and hotlines mental health services in Malaysia

If you are struggling to cope, there are many ways to get help. Contact a healthcare provider if the sign of anxiety, and depression get in the way of your daily activities for many days and also if you are in crisis, immediately get help such as:-

  • Call 999
  • Talian Kasih at 15999
  • Befrienders (main suicide hotlines in Malaysia): 03-7627 2929/ 03-79568145
  • Malaysian Mental Health Association: 03-2780 6803
  • People Psychological Solutions : 017-899 2207
  • HELP University’s Centre for Psychological and Counselling Services (CPCS): 03-2096 1212
  • The Mind Faculty KL: 03-2780 6803
  • HumanKind Community Counselling (victims of physical and sexual abuse): 012-300 5453
  • Soul Mechanics: 010-252 1734 (Gia) / 019-395 9211 (Devi)
  • MentCouch Psychology Centre: 03-2712 9372

Depression and anxiety are soaring and there are many fears that we will face an epidemic of mental health.

COVID-19, make life very difficult for everyone, but they may pose an even bigger challenge for people with depression. Depression is a serious mental health condition that can give a huge impact on people’s lives.

However, depression can be treated. Even in this pandemic, it is important to continue to seek treatment and stick with it until you get cured.

Therefore, there are self tests that you can answer to check whether you have anxiety or depression, if the score tells you are having these mental health issues you need to see the doctors who specialize in psychiatry to diagnosed your disease. We cannot simply just do the test only. These self tests ask some important questions that can help you to know where you are at so you can make a sooner plan for feeling better.

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Raihan Ridzuan

Raihan Ridzuan, Bachelor of Science (Hons) Pharmacology, is Customer Relationship Executive of Mayflax, one of the nation’s leading healthcare and marketing company.

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Improper Inhaler Technique: Affect Asthma Control

Picture of inhaler

Improper Inhaler Technique: Affect Asthma Control

Healthcare professionals can support patients in optimizing their technique by examining the effects of the sub-optimal inhaler.

Inhalers used to treat asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Thus, inhalation techniques play a major role in improving drug adherence.

About 92% people with asthma use their device incorrectly. Improper inhaler have been reported in children and adults, including experienced inhaler users

Moreover, improper inhaler technique can prevent drugs from reaching to lungs. It can be effective if the patient used in correct ways. Good inhalation techniques are very important to maximize the benefits of these drugs.

Hence, the correct technique depends on what type of inhaler. Some inhaler steps differ according to the type  of inhaler.

Besides, healthcare professionals must be proficient in how to use correctly of each inhaler device and need to be aware of common mistakes so they can confidently demonstrate in front of patients.

However, you can purchase the inhaler with doctor’s prescription at any pharmacy, and healthcare professional can buy from any pharmaceutical company such as Mayflax.

Types of Asthma Devices

    Common inhaler are used to deliver asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) medications which are metered dose inhalers (MDIs), dry powder inhalers (DPIs), and soft mist inhalers (SMIs).

Meanwhile, each type of inhaler has advantages and disadvantages. Below,  the various types and technique of inhaler medical device :-

1. Pressurised metered dose inhaler (PMDI)

Description

  • Drug is stored under pressure in the metal canister
  • A fine mist of medication is released upon pressing the canister that can be inhaled into the lungs
  • Works well with a valved holding chamber (VHC) or spacer.

How to use?

  1. First, need to remove cap.
  2. Second, hold inhaler upright and shake well.
  3. Third, breathe out gently and away from inhaler.
  4. Fourth, put mouthpiece between teeth without bite and close lips to form a good seal.
  5. Start to breathe in slowly and deeply. At the same time, press the inhaler device.
  6. Hence, hold breath for 5 to 10 seconds.
  7. While holding breath, remove inhaler from mouth.
  8. Breathe out gently and away from the inhaler.
  9. Repeat dose if needed and replace cap.
  10. Lastly, clean device if necessary after use.
Picture of metered dose inhaler

Available Brand in Malaysia

  • Ventolin® MDI (Salbutamol)
  • Flixotide MDI (Fluticasone)
  • Flutiform® MDI (Fluticasone/Formoterol)
  • Foster®  MDI (Beclometasone/Formoterol)
  • Alvesco® MDI (Ciclesonide)

2. Tuberhaler

Description

  • Dry powder inhaler (DPI)
  • No coordination required
  • Device dispenses a small amount of very fine powder directly into the lungs
  • Comes with a dose indicator

How to use?

  1. First, need to unscrew and remove cover.
  2. Second, check dose counter.
  3. Third,  keep inhaler upright while twisting grip at the base.
  4. Twist around and then back until click is heard.
  5. Then, breathe out gently, and away from the inhaler.
  6. Fourth, put mouthpiece between teeth without bite and close lips to form good seal
  7. Do not cover the air vents.
  8. Breathe in strongly and deeply.
  9. Fifth, hold breath about 5 to 10 seconds.
  10. Hence, remove the device before breathing out fully.
  11. If more than one dose is needed, repeat all steps starting from step 3.
  12. Lastly, replace cover and clean the device if necessary.
PIcture of taking tuberhaler

Available Brand in Malaysia

  • Symbicort® Turbuhaler (Budesonide/Formoterol)
  • Pulmicort® Turbuhaler (Budesonide)
  • Bricanyl® Turbuhaler (Terbutaline)

3. Respimat soft mist inhaler

Description

  • Dispenses fine and easy to inhale droplets directly deep into the lungs.
  • Requires very less effort during inhalation
  • Comes with a dose indicator

 How to use?

  1. Hold inhaler upright with the cap closed.
  2. Then, turn base in direction of arrows on label until it clicks. Half a turn.
  3. Open the cap until it snaps fully open.
  4. Breathe out gently, and away from inhaler.
  5. Moreover, put mouthpiece in mouth and close lips to form a good seal.
  6. After that, start to breathe in slowly and deeply through mouth;
  7. And at the same time, press down on the dose button.
  8. Continue to breathe in slowly and deeply.
  9. Hold breath for 5 to 10 seconds.
  10. While holding breath, remove inhaler from mouth.
  11. Breathe out gently, away from mouthpiece.
  12. Close cover to click shut.
  13.  If you need two doses, repeat from step 1 to get the full dose.
Picture of taking Respimat soft mist inhaler

Available Brand in Malaysia

  • Spriva Respimat® (Tiotropium)

4. Accuhaler

Description

  • Dry powder inhaler (DPI)
  • No coordination required
  • Device dispenses a small amount of very fine powder directly into the lungs
  • Comes with a dose indicator

How to use?

  1. Check dose counter.
  2. Open cover using thumb grip.
  3. Load dose.
  4. Keep device horizontal or upright while sliding lever until it clicks and do not shake.
  5. Then, breathe out gently but not into device.
  6. Put mouthpiece in mouth, without biting and close lips to form a good seal. 
  7. Breathe in quickly and deeply.
  8. After that, hold breath for a count of ten.
  9. While holding breath, remove inhaler from mouth.
  10. Slowly breathe out.
  11. If more than one dose is needed, repeat all steps starting from step 3.
  12. Close cover to click shut.
  13. Clean device if necessary after use.
Picture of Accuhaler

Available Brand in Malaysia

  • Seretide® Accuhaler (Salmeterol/Fluticasone)

5. Ellipta

Description

  • Medication is stored under pressure in the metal canister
  • A fine mist of medication is released upon pressing the canister that can be inhaled into the lungs
  • Works well with a valved holding chamber (VHC) or spacer.

How to use?

  1. First, check dose counter and do not shake.
  2. Second, slide cover down until click is heard.
  3. Third, breathe out away from inhaler.
  4. Fourth, put mouthpiece in mouth and close lips to form a good seal;
  5. And do not block air vent with fingers.
  6. Then, breathe in steadily and deeply.
  7. Fifth, hold breath about 5 to 10 seconds.
  8. While holding breath, remove inhaler from mouth.
  9. After that, breathe out gently, and away from inhaler.
  10. Slide the cover upwards as far as it will go, to cover the mouthpiece.
  11. Lastly, rinse your mouth with water and spit it out for a steroid-containing inhaler.

Available Brand in Malaysia

  • Ventolin® MDI (Salbutamol)
  • Flixotide MDI (Fluticasone)
  • Flutiform® MDI (Fluticasone/Formoterol)
  • Foster®  MDI (Beclometasone/Formoterol)
  • Alvesco® MDI (Ciclesonide)
Picture of taking ellipta

Common Errors with Inhaler Technique

  • Not breathing with the proper way.
  • Breathing in too early and too late when pressing the inhaler canister.
  • Forget to shake the inhaler before use.
  • Not waiting for the next puff. Some inhalers, need to wait at least 30 to 60 seconds before taking the next puff.
  • Hence, not breathing out before using the inhaler and does not have  a tight lip seal.
  • Not lifting your chin slightly before breathing in. 
  • Furthermore, not holding your breath after taking the inhaler;
  • As well as, not using a spacer when needed.

Guidance of How To Use Your Asthma Devices?

This video shown how to use different types of inhalers. 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Raihan Ridzuan

Raihan Ridzuan, Bachelor of Science (Hons) Pharmacology, is Customer Relationship Executive of Mayflax, one of the nation’s leading healthcare and marketing company.

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