The coronavirus pandemic is straining not just countries' economies but also nearly everyone's mental health. As expected, COVID-19 patients who received treatment for the infection and have recovered from it are suffering from several psychiatric conditions a month later.
Psychiatric Problems Common in Coronavirus Survivors
According to a report by The Guardian, experts from San Raffaele hospital in Milan, Italy, observed 402 patients who had been treated for the viral infection caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
The paper raises concerns about the psychological effect of the coronavirus pandemic.
Using self-assessment questionnaires and clinical interviews, experts found that 55% of the recovered patients suffer from some mental health disorder, with anxiety in 42% of cases, making it the most prevalent psychiatric disorder among COVID-19 survivors.
Additionally, 40% of the recovered patients have insomnia, 31% from depression, 28% from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and finally, 20% of cases showing obsessive-compulsive (OC) symptoms.
More Findings by Milan Experts
Researchers observed a total of 265 men and 137 women, and it turns out that females, who are less likely to die than men due to COVID-19, have been found more than males psychologically.
Furthermore, those who did not have past psychological problems appear to suffer more than those with mental health problems in the past.
Even outpatients also showed symptoms of stress and trauma as increased anxiety is common among them, along with sleep disturbances.
The paper has been published in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity on Monday, August 3.
"Considering the alarming impact of COVID-19 infection on mental health, the current insights on inflammation in psychiatry, and the present observation of worse inflammation leading to worse depression, we recommend to assess psychopathology of COVID-19 survivors and to deepen research on inflammatory biomarkers, in order to diagnose and treat emergent psychiatric conditions," the researchers wrote.
The team was led by Dr. Mario Gennaro Mazza, who said that their study's results were consistent with past epidemiological studies.
For example, their study mirrored that of a previous study concerning SARS patients during the outbreak, where psychological problems increased between 10% and 35% during the patients' post-illness stage.
What Caused These Issues?
So, what exactly is the cause of these psychiatric disorders?
The researchers believe it could be caused by the body's immune response to the virus, but the social isolation and other psychological stressors such as the concern of infecting others as well as the stigma surrounding the illness itself could have caused these mental health disorders.
Based on the study, the duration of their isolation and hospitalization inversely correlates with psychiatric symptoms.
Experts have already warned that the next pandemic after COVID-19 could be mental health disorders, especially as even those who were not infected have felt anxiety, depression, and sleep disturbances due to the current events.
Stressors such as isolation, losing their jobs, and fearing that they would be infected or might already have the virus without their knowledge could be the cause of these mental issues.
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Written by: Nhx Tingson