Covid-19: elevated risks of a psychiatric disorder in recovered sick, a study says

Published by Alexandre G. · Published on 13 November 2020 at 15h03 · Updated on 14 November 2020 at 11h18
Since the first lockdown measures have been instated over 9 months ago, most of the world's population has to change their habits. Anxiety, sleep disorder, altered well-being, the psychological impacts of confinement have scientists worried and start to become a reality for thousands of French people. Like lockdown, the virus is also likely to lead to psychiatric disorders in recovered sick, a study says.

As a new lockdown has been instated in France while a second Covid-19-epidemic wave is spreading, is there a link between symptoms of the infection and infected people's psychological state? In a study released this Friday November 13, 2020 by The Lancet Psychiatry, searchers from the Oxford University have been working on crossreferenced data from 62,000 American patients infected by Covid, said to have recovered. Or, they no longer show physical symptoms of the disease.

And for good reason: we already knew the virus could lead to respiratory disorders and affect one's physical health; now, we know Covid-19 can also impact one's psychological state. As a matter of fact, scientists notice that psychiatric disorders such as anxiety, insomnia, depression, or post-traumatic stress often occur in patients within 90 days following infection. Severe disorders that even occur in non-hospitalized patients or patients who never had psychiatric histories. By comparing results with other diseases such as the influenza or physical fractures, risks affecting mental health are doubled.

Of course, Covid-19 is undoubtedly not the only factor responsible for the onset disorders. Even though scientists suggest Covid-19 could be a determining factor, it is hard to settle for this sole assessment to draw a general conclusion. The lockdown context, the many rules to comply with, the mandatory social distancing taking us away from one another, or even the consequences of the economical crisis: these surprising results could be explained with many other factors.

Despite having us move around a lot, confinement has us thinking. A bit too much if we believe many French. This is at least what shows the Coconel survey carried out on an Ifop panel of a thousand people in France from March 31 to April 2, 2020 by a consortium of scientist from the UMR Vitrome de Marseille, the Clinical investigation center Cochin Pasteur in Paris, and the School of high studies in public health in Rennes released by Le Figaro. If we believe the results of this research centers, three adults in 4 are said to suffer from sleep disorders and over a third of them show psychological distress signs.

And it is specifically the comparison with data from 2017 that worries searchers. According to them, the data collected at the beginning of the confinement on March 12th and those recorded in 2017 from the same group, “clear degradation of the mental health during confinement” is noticed. Nothing surprising, but even more worrisome when we know that “many patients renounce to consult a doctor because of the confinement”. A too big swerve piled up with a lack of care that would directly lead to more “serious psychiatric pathologies” as well as a “bounce of demands of care at the end of confinement”. Nothing very reassuring…

Results of the study also show that young people and people looking for a job or with “financial issues” are those who suffer the most from the confinement. Over 70% of them “stand out on higher levels that other categories of the population” the study says. And the risk of post-traumatic stress is close. Indeed, searchers are worried about the long-term consequences of the health crisis on French’s psychological state. Including 37% of French surveyed who “present psychological distress signs”, we understand the current confinement hides an even more important threat: a big-sized psychological impact on the population over time. Once again, the study shows that young people men are more likely. According to scientists, men from 18 to 25 years old, the gab with the 2017 data is of 25%.

Psychological state inequality in generations related to the inequality of wealth. This is the other data given by the summary: 55% of the people surveyed with a low income are said to be in psychological distress, against 22% for the wealthiest. Same inequality with the study from 2017 that showed a “clear degradation”. And doctors are formal: the longer the situation lasts, the higher the risk to have many mental pathologies.

Practical information

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