Severe Covid-19 can increase the risk of long-term adverse mental health effects, such as anxiety, depression and poor sleep quality, suggests a study published Monday in the journal The Lancet Public Health.
Developed by experts from six countries – Iceland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Estonia and the UK – the peer-reviewed research is progressing with an association between severe cases of covid-19 and mental health 16 months after the infection caused by disease. coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.
“Overall, most mental health symptoms among those recovering from Covid-19 decreased two months after diagnosis, but patients who were bedridden for seven or more days were more likely to have depression and anxiety. during the 16-month study period,” the findings state. .
This survey indicates that “mental health effects are not the same for all patients with Covid-19 and that time spent in bed is a key factor in determining the severity of mental health impacts,” said Unnur Anna Valdimarsdóttir, one of the authors of the study.
According to the professor of epidemiology at the University of Iceland, increased clinical monitoring of mental health in “people with severe acute illness from covid-19, as well as follow-up studies beyond the first year after infections, are essential to ensure prompt care for”.
To determine the long-term impacts on mental health, researchers analyzed the prevalence of symptoms of depression, anxiety, distress and poor sleep quality related to covid-19 in approximately 250,000 people in the six countries with and without diagnosis of infection. .
Over the 16 months of the study, patients who were bedridden for seven or more days were found to be between 50% and 60% more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety compared to those never infected during the study. analyzed period.
“The higher frequency of depression and anxiety in patients with covid-19 who spent seven or more days in bed may be due to a combination of concerns about long-term health effects, as well as the persistence of ‘long covid’ symptoms beyond illness, which limit social contact and can lead to feelings of helplessness,” said researcher Ingibjörg Magnúsdóttir, from the University of Iceland.
According to the now published results, people diagnosed with covid-19, but who did not need to be bedridden, were less prone to symptoms of depression and anxiety than those who were never infected.
The authors state that one explanation for this is that the return to normal life, after recovering from a mild infection, was a “relief for these people, while those who were not infected were worried about the risk of ‘infection and overwhelmed by social isolation’. .
Covid-19 has caused at least 6,011,769 deaths worldwide since the start of the pandemic, according to the latest report from Agence France-Presse.
The disease is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, detected at the end of 2019 in Wuhan, a city in central China.
The rapidly spreading and mutating Ómicron variant has become globally dominant since it was first detected in November in South Africa.