07 May Even Mild COVID-19 Carries Increased Risk of Depression, Anxiety and PTSD
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
João Mauricio Castaldelli-Maia, MD, PhD (he/him)
NIDA INVEST Drug Abuse Research Fellow
Policy and Health Initiatives on Opioids and Other Substances (PHIOS)
Department of Epidemiology
Mailman School of Public Health
New York, NY 10032
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: It remains unclear whether COVID-19 is associated with psychiatric symptoms during or after the acute illness phase. Being affected by the disease exposes the individual to an uncertain prognosis and a state of quarantine. These factors can predispose individuals to the development of mental symptoms during or after the acute phase of the disease. There is a need for prospective studies assessing psychiatric symptoms in COVID-19 patients in the post-infection period.
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?
Response: Exposure to increased levels of COVID-19 symptomatology may be associated with depressive, anxiety and post-traumatic stress symptoms after the acute phase of the disease, independently of previous psychiatric diagnosis. Sensitivity analyses supported those findings for all the outcomes, and were adjusted for possible confounders that could increase the vulnerability of psychiatric symptoms.
To date, this study is the largest to concomitantly evaluate depressive, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress symptoms in patients who had mild COVID-19 disease. This is important because the vast majority of COVID-19 patients are classified as mild cases, facing long periods of at-home isolation.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: Exposure to increased levels of COVID-19 symptomatology may be associated with clinically significant levels of depressive, anxiety and post-traumatic stress symptoms after the acute phase of the disease, independently of previous psychiatric diagnosis.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: These patients should be monitored for the development of psychiatric symptoms after COVID-19 treatment discharge. Early mental health intervention such as psychotherapy and supportive groups could play an important role in preventing incident mental health problems in these people. It is probable that the increased prevalence of psychiatric symptoms post-COVID-19 is due to the social and psychological context of the disease. However, further studies should investigate the possible neurobiological mechanisms linking COVID-19 and mental health conditions.
MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Response: The city health department of São Caetano do Sul (Secretaria Municipal de Saúde da Prefeitura de São Caetano do Sul) funded the establishment and implementation of the COVID-19 platform. The protected time for the contribution of Dr. Castaldelli-Maia towards the research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) of the National Institutes of Health under the NIDA INVEST Drug Abuse Research Fellowship. NIDA had no role in the study design, collection, analysis or interpretation of the data, writing the manuscript, or the decision to submit the paper for publication.
Ismael F, Bizario JCS, Battagin T, Zaramella B, Leal FE, Torales J, Ventriglio A, Marziali ME, Martins SS, Castaldelli-Maia JM. Post-infection depressive, anxiety and post-traumatic stress symptoms: A prospective cohort study in patients with mild COVID-19. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2021 Apr 30;111:110341. doi: 10.1016/j.pnpbp.2021.110341. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33940097; PMCID: PMC8086265.
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