NEW DELHI — Covid-19 pandemic affected the world in every manner, from mental to physical.

However, constrained lifestyle and limited physical activities during the Covid-19 pandemic have impacted young adults twofold, leading to visible behavioral changes such as a rise in anxiety and depression among them, according to a new study.

“The number of OPD (Outpatient Department) consultations for young adults have doubled for anxiety, depression, gaming addiction and for the inability to concentrate and focus on studies. Schools and college goers are reporting various mental health problems,” states the study by Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, in the capital of India, New Delhi.

The study conducted by the hospital during the pandemic period (2019-2021) revealed that due to constrained lifestyle and limited physical activities, behavioral changes had been observed in young adults two-fold.

Restricted life of young adults within the four walls of their homes followed by remote learning, increased use of the internet, and absence of outdoor activities has impacted the behavioral changes.

Pandemic-induced home isolation and shift in work/study formats are the major factors of the highly reported problems of anxiety, depression, and low concentration, among others.

The students are turning more agitated and often feel helpless, the experts who conducted the study observed.

“Physical activities and exercise stimulate the release of brain chemicals like endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin that play a vital role in regulating an individual’s mood. Release of these chemicals is essential to maintain a good appetite and proper sleeping pattern,” the study states.

Sandeep Vohra, a doctor and a senior consultant of Mental Health and Psychiatry at Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, said, “The pandemic has acted as a major change in the lifestyle of young adults who are both school and college-going students.”

“Staying restricted to indoors impacted their mental health.”

“With an absence of a structured routine, the students are having erratic sleeping patterns and unregulated access to social media.”

“This is further deviating their attention from their studies, and symptoms such as irritability, uneven sleep problems, appetite problems, weight gain, etc., are becoming more common in them,” he said.

Further, Vohra advised parents to engage with their children actively, talk to them and observe all kinds of behavioral changes shown by them.

“The mental health issues of young adults should be addressed at the earliest,” Vohra said.

“Parents and teachers should consult mental health professionals for emotional wellness evaluation or intervention if required.”

Vohra also said that adolescence is an evolving stage of life, any disturbance in terms of both physical and mental health at this stage can hamper the future experiences of life.

(With inputs from ANI)

Edited by Amrita Das and Pallavi Mehra

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