Patients with psychiatric distress more likely to develop long COVID-19, study finds

Patients experiencing depression, anxiety and stress were more likely to experience long COVID-19 conditions and to develop symptoms that interfere with daily life, a study published Sept. 7 in JAMA Psychiatry found.

Led by researchers from the Boston-based Harvard T.H. Chan School of public health, the study analyzed questionnaires asking about symptoms of emotional distress  from 3,193 participants who had never been diagnosed with COVID-19 before the study. 

The participants were then sent follow-up questionnaires about if they were diagnosed with COVID-19 either weekly or monthly until Aug 2020, after which they were polled quarterly until Nov. 3, 2021.

Out of the patients who reported a COVID-19 diagnosis over the course of the study, patients who reported higher levels of stress, anxiety, depression and loneliness at the beginning of the survey period were approximately 1.5 percent more likely to self-report  long COVID-19 conditions and greater impairment of their daily life by the time the study concluded. 

The researchers concluded that the presence of psychological distress pre-infection may put a patient at a higher risk of experiencing long COVID-19 conditions.

  

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