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Significant mental health impact of Long-COVID, according to new study

A summary of research published in the European Respiratory Journal

Last Update 05/05/2021

People experiencing symptoms of Long-COVID may also be at risk of mental health symptoms, according to a new study. Long-COVID is the name given to the ongoing symptoms some people experience after having COVID-19.

 

What did the study look at?

The study looked at the mental health symptoms of adults who had left hospital after a stay with COVID-19.  They used questionnaires to look at people’s symptoms and what factors might contribute to any reported mental health symptoms.

760 people completed the questionnaire 65 days after they left hospital. The questionnaire asked what physical and mental symptoms they were experiencing. The study also looked at the amount of time people had stayed in intensive care, emergency departments or on a ward.

What do the results show?

Out of 760 people, 357 (47%) reported physical and mental symptoms. 105 (13%) showed signs of depression and 80 (10%) showed signs of post-traumatic stress disorder. People who experienced mental health symptoms were more likely to also experience ongoing physical symptoms of breathlessness, muscle pain, loss of appetite and confusion. Mental health symptoms were also more common in people who reported more physical symptoms at the time they were admitted to hospital.

Why is this important?

The findings of this study show a significant mental health burden in people who have been in hospital for COVID-19. Currently, people reporting symptoms of Long-COVID are being referred to rehabilitation clinics to manage their symptoms. The authors suggest that at this stage, people should be asked to complete a mental health questionnaire to look at whether they also need support with this aspect of their recovery.

Read the original research paper


Title: The high mental health burden of “Long COVID” and its association with on-going physical and respiratory symptoms in all adults discharged from hospital

https://erj.ersjournals.com/content/early/2021/02/11/13993003.04364-2020#T1

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