“Our analysis focuses on potential mental health risks associated with hospital-acquired coronavirus infection and how psychiatric illness could worsen the prognosis or prevent people from returning to normal life after recovery,” said Dr.
Jonathan Rogers, one of the authors of the study.
Researchers from University College London and King’s College London showed that people who were treated in hospital for SARS CoV-2 infection have an increased risk of psychiatric problems after recovery.
The results were recently presented in the renowned journal “The Lancet Psychiatry”.
Severe COVID-19 infections with hospitalization in an intensive care unit and mechanical ventilation could increase the risk of serious psychiatric complications.
This is the result of a recent meta-analysis by an English research team.
Severe COVID-19 cases often cause delirium
Severe COVID-19 courses increase the risk of psychiatric problems
The analysis showed that one in four people admitted to hospital with COVID-19 suffered from delirium during the course of the disease.
This state of mental confusion, which is mainly characterized by disturbances of consciousness and thinking, is a known problem that can increase the risk of death or prolong hospital stays.
Studies of the similar viruses SARS-1 and MERS have already shown that long-term psychiatric effects can occur after the illness, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), chronic fatigue, depression and anxiety.
The researchers suggest that this may also apply to COVID-19.
Severe SARS-CoV-2 infections affect the psyche
“Most people with COVID-19 will not develop mental health problems, even those with severe cases requiring hospitalization, but given the large number of people who fall ill, the global impact on mental health could be significant,” Dr.
Rates of depression and anxiety were also high.
About 15 percent of people with severe illness developed an anxiety disorder or depression after infection.
More than 15 percent of those affected experienced symptoms such as chronic fatigue, mood swings, sleep disorders or concentration and memory problems.
The study took into account the results of a total of 65 studies and seven peer-reviewed preprints.
It found that almost one in three people admitted to hospital with SARS or MERS developed post-traumatic stress disorder within three years of their illness, especially if there were persistent physical health problems.
The research also identified some of the risk factors associated with poorer mental health outcomes.
Particularly concerned patients had an increased risk of psychiatric consequences.
In contrast, good physical recovery was associated with better long-term mental health.
“We need more research on how to prevent mental health problems in the long term,” Dr.
Edward Chesney from the study team.
One possibility could be to reduce social isolation by allowing people to communicate with their families via video telephony.
During their stay in hospital, many COVID-19 patients with severe courses of disease experienced delirium with symptoms such as confusion, agitation and loss of consciousness.
SARS and MERS also had these symptoms and were a first indication of possible psychiatric long-term effects.