An observational study was conducted by the Fondazione Policlinico Universitario Agostino Gemelli IRCCS (Rome, Italy) to determine whether those who experienced severe COVID-19 infection developed posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
There were 381 participants who participated in the study ranging in age from 18 to 89, which ran from April 2020 to October 2020. Approximately 80% of the patients were hospitalized due to the severity of their COVD-19 symptoms. , who all recovered from their infection within 30-120 days. The average number of days spent in the hospital by the participants was 18.41 days. Both medical and psychiatric assessments were completed for each individual who participated in the study after recovery from COVID-19 infection.
Trained psychiatrists were able to diagnose participants in accordance with criteria related to PTSD and other psychological disorders. More than 30% of individuals were found to experience PTSD after COVID-19 infection, which may be attributed in part to experiencing a traumatic event. In addition, other diseases as generalized anxiety disorders and periods of sadness observed in participants.
One of the factors that is often associated with PTSD is biological sexuality, because women are more likely to experience the disease than men. Of the 381 participants, almost half (43.6%) were women. Those with a history of mental health issues, such as anxiety and sadness, are also more likely to be experienced with PTSD. Persistent symptoms even after recovery from the virus may be another factor that increases the risk of experiencing PTSD after COVID-19 infection.
It should be noted that very few participants were involved in this study. In addition, no control group was included in the study examining patients admitted to the emergency room for cases unrelated to COVID-19. After recovery, this control group without COVID-19 infection can be monitored to determine if they have experienced PTSD or other related illnesses. This would allow better connections to be made between PTSD infection and COVID-19, while considering the potential side effects that are only present in the emergency room during a pandemic.
This study is important for many reasons. First, the results demonstrate the importance of understanding the long-term effects of COVID-19 infection. Even if an individual can recover physically from COVID-19, there is a possibility that other diseases such as PTSD may develop from the trauma involved. Risk factors such as biological sexuality and a history of mental health issues should also be considered when providing follow-up care for patients receiving from COVID-19.
Janiri D, Carfì A, Kotzalidis GD, et al. Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Patients After Severe COVID-19 Infection. JAMA Psychiatry. Posted online February 18, 2021. doi: 10.1001 / jamapsychiatry.2021.0109
Photo by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay