The nationwide three-week lockdown announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday incited panic among the citizens but experts feel that there might be behavioural changes in the people.
Speaking to IANS, Dr Nimesh G Desai, Psychiatrist & Director, Institute of Human Behaviour & Allied Sciences (IHBAS) in Delhi said: "This is an abnormal situation which has never been before. Therefore, some abnormal behaviour of people has to be considered as normal. People will certainly show signs of emotional distress, anxiety and social isolation, but do we have choice? Others need to understand and should not react to their abnormal behaviour. Most vulnerable will be children, elderly people and people already having mental ailments. They may show restlessness. To lessen its impact, this is the time to follow one's creative urge. Reason and logic have to take a back seat only one thing has to be followed- be in your homes and stay safe."
He also said that had such situation arose a decade ago, it would have been even more difficult but thanks to social media and the Internet that people can spend their time easily by watching films and reading e-books. Of course the time is challenging.
Dr. Roma Kumar, Senior Consultant and Clinical Psychologist at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital told IANS: "The most common emotional and behavioural reaction at this time will be anxiety and panic about worst possible outcomes. People may feel like worrying, shocked and sleepless about complete uncertain future. They may go through prolonged boredom and loneliness. They may develop hypochondriacal fear regarding cough, sore throat and fever and hoard PPE and other survival items, even in the long run."
She said: "Primary prevention and early intervention can help everyone. We need to practice mental wellness. It's time for self love, self expression, building self esteem, accepting, trusting and forgiving oneself, and self empowerment."
She advised people to express their feelings. "People may also suffer in their relationships. This may lead to emotional manipulation in some cases. Build a community and engage with them, your friends, partners or whoever is there for you, Talk to them. Use the power of internet and connectivity," said Kumar.
(Sfoorti Mishra can be contacted on [email protected])