In patients with COVID-19 during the acute period may develop confusion and delirium, and in the long term — depression, anxiety disorders and PTSD, the study by British researchers published in the Lancet.
“Previous flu pandemics have been associated with long-term neurological consequences, so it is possible that other viral infections on a large scale can cause permanent disease of the psyche. <…> Our aim was to study two previous epidemics of coronaviruses, SARS and MERS, to identify possible psychiatric and neuropsychological implications for the current pandemic. We also examined early data about COVID-19,” write the authors of the study.
The researchers analyzed 72 studies on the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome, known as SARS, middle East respiratory syndrome and novel coronavirus infection COVID-19.
A systematic review showed that during the acute period of the disease common symptoms in patients with SARS and MERS included confusion (36 out of 129 patients) depressed mood (42 of 129), anxiety (46 of 129), impaired memory (44 of 129) and insomnia (54 of 129). After discharge from the hospital, patients frequently noted depression, insomnia, anxiety, irritability, memory impairment, fatigue, and sleep disturbances. A meta-analysis of studies found that the stage after an illness, the frequency of PTSD was 32.2 percent, depression and 14.9, anxiety disorders was 14.8.
Data for patients with severe COVID-19 talking about the development of delirium, or mental disorders, accompanied by dizziness, disorders of attention, perception, thinking and emotions. For example, one study showed that confusion occurred in 26 of 40 (65%) patients of the intensive care unit, and the excited state in 40 of the 58 (69 percent). In another study, confusion was observed in 17 of 82 (21 percent) of terminally ill.
“If the infection is SARS-CoV-2 is similar to infection with SARS-CoV or MERS-CoV, most patients should recover without mental illness. SARS-CoV-2 can cause delirium in a significant proportion of patients in the acute stage. Physicians should be aware of the possibility of developing depression, anxiety, fatigue, post-traumatic stress disorder and more rare neuropsychiatric syndromes in the long term,” conclude the study authors.
The authors noted that the number of such studies on patients with COVID-19 limited so a more detailed description of possible mental disorders while it is impossible.
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