Some patients experience post-traumatic stress disorder after severe Covid-19

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  • Survivors of severe Covid-19 have a 32% chance of developing PTSD
  • Women are more likely to experience PTSD after surviving severe Covid-19
  • Experiencing more Covid-19 symptoms increases patients' likelihood of experiencing PTSD

A new study found a 32% prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in patients who recovered from severe Covid-19.

The research published in JAMA Network states that these findings are in line with the prevalence of PTSD among survivors of previous coronavirus outbreaks and other types of collective traumatic events.

Comprehensive psychiatric assessment

The researchers assessed 381 patients who were diagnosed with Covid-19 and recovered from the virus. These patients were referred to a post-recovery health check at the Fondazione Policlinico Universitario Agostino Gemelli IRCCS in Italy.

Patients underwent a comprehensive interdisciplinary medical and psychiatric assessment, which included data on demographic, clinical, psychopathological, and Covid-19 characteristics. Psychiatrists examined the patients to determine who was suffering from PTSD.

Assessments were carried out from 21 April to 15 October 2020. Of the 381 patients, 43.6% were women. The average age of the patients was 55,26 years. Just over 81.% of the participants were hospitalised for an average of 18.41 days.  

A history of psychiatric disorders

Just over 30% of the participants were diagnosed with PTSD. About 17% were found to have depressive episodes, while 27 presented with generalised anxiety disorder. 

PTSD was found to be higher in women who reported a history of psychiatric disorders.

The more Covid-19 symptoms a patient experienced, the higher their chances of experiencing PTSD. “In the PTSD group, we also found more persistent medical symptoms, often reported by patients after recovery from severe Covid-19,” the authors wrote.

The authors noted that more research is needed as the present study was limited to a single facility. 

READ| Loss of sense of smell and taste may last up to 5 months after Covid-19, new study finds

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