A team of Peruvian researchers analyzed the mental health of patients from COVID-19 of the first wave after their hospital discharge in Lima and found that a large number of them presented some symptoms related to anxiety, depression or post-traumatic stress.
“The survivors of COVID-19 showed a ”the authors conclude.
The research, which was carried out with patients treated at the Guillermo Almenara Hospital of EsSalud, considered those who received validated interviews three months after they left the hospital, on average.
The objective of the interview, which was carried out by telephone, was to evaluate the presence of depressive symptoms, anxiety symptoms, somatic symptoms and symptoms of the disorder.
Of the total patient,; 31.1%, anxiety; 35.2%, somatic symptoms; and 29.5%, PTSD.
According to Dr. Jeff Huarcaya, principal investigator of the study published in the International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, it was known since before the pandemic that, mainly if the person faces a disease that puts their life at serious risk. This situation is comparable to the traumatic events that people go through in disasters, accidents or in war zones.
“Recent international data also document that hospitalization in this context of the pandemic represents a traumatic event for different reasons, one of the main ones being isolation: Many patients told us in consultation ‘doctor, I went to the hospital and did not know if I was going to live’. Other patients you told us that they did not want to talk to other patients because they died around. All of this represents a very traumatic, very severe event, and the consequences are noticeable upon discharge. Patients are more irritable, with insomnia, afraid to even talk about these events and with persistent very distressing memories of these days when they were hospitalized ”, the researcher refers.
The study also found factors that were associated with an increased likelihood that some people hospitalized for COVID-19 would have certain clinically relevant mental symptoms. Among these related variables are that the patient has persistent symptoms of COVID-19, loss of a family member due to COVID-19 and previous psychiatric diagnosis or treatment.
Therefore, the researchers consider that their “Findings help identify patients who are vulnerable and require psychiatric care.”
“Part of the fear they may have had during hospitalization was because, in addition to what they saw or heard, almost everyone had had a family member who had been infected by COVID-19, , and even almost a third of all those who had been hospitalized, had a relative who had passed away [por covid]. So that also contributed a lot with respect to fear and traumatic events that could have happened during the hospitalization ”, Christoper Alarcón, a professor at the Southern Scientific University and one of the signatories of the study, explains.
The authors assure that it is important to carry out studies that follow up the people who survived the second wave, with which it could be known if there are differences between the patients of both stages. In addition, they indicate, it is important
“Anyone could ask why research mental health if [el evento] it already happened. This is very important because mental health sequelae can be present for up to 10 years after these traumatic events. This has been seen in past epidemics, such as H1N1 or coronaviruses in Canada years ago: patients who were isolated or who were in the ICU, they still had these mental health problems that had a huge impact on their quality of life and their health in general ”, Dr. Jeff Huarcaya, from the San Ignacio de Loyola University ends.
Researchers Jessica Barreto, Lucia Aire, Angela Podestá, Mónica Caqui, Rosa Guija-Igreda and Claudia Castillo also participated in the investigation. All of them from the Department of Psychiatry of the Guillermo Almenara Irigoyen National Hospital. Barreto also belongs to the San Fernando Faculty of Medicine, Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos.
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