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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 112-114

The Austrian Perspective on the COVID-19 Outbreak through a Social Psychiatric Lens

1 Kuratorium Psychosozialer Dienste, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria
2 Clinical Division of Social Psychiatry, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria

Correspondence Address:
Prof. Johannes Wancata
Clinical Division of Social Psychiatry, Medical University of Vienna, Währinger Gürtel 18-20, 1090, Vienna
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/WSP.WSP_31_20

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In Austria, rather drastic measures such as travel restrictions and shutdown were implemented earlier than in other countries to contain the coronavirus from spreading. Due to this fact, the curve of new COVID-19 cases flattened successfully. After only 7 weeks, Austria started to gradually reduce restrictions step by step. While the overall number of psychiatric hospital admissions was lower than usual, the number of severe cases among inpatients increased. In the general population, an increase of alcohol consumption and substance abuse was observed. For some weeks, there was a shortage of protective clothing for medical staff and of lithium medication. Frequently, psychiatric treatment changed from personal meetings with patients to tele- or videophone appointments. To separate people with psychiatric illness and COVID-19, some services were dedicated exclusively to this group, whereas other psychiatric services treated only those without COVID-19. Overall, psychiatric services were able to deliver treatment undisrupted throughout the whole shutdown.

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