Half of COVID Survivors Struggle With Depression

TUESDAY, March 16, 2021 (HealthDay News) – To the lingering damage of COVID-19 infection, add this side effect: New research shows more than half of people with COVID-19 report depression.

Of more than 3,900 people investigated for COVID-19 between May 2020 and January 2021, 52% suffered from symptoms of major depression, the researchers found.

“People with COVID-19 can experience depressive symptoms for several months after their initial illness,” said lead researcher Dr. Roy Perlis. He is Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and Associate Research Leader in the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston.

The combination of chronic stress during the pandemic and disruption of people’s social networks is already a recipe for depression and anxiety, Perlis said.

“This observation reinforces the importance of understanding whether this is an effect of COVID-19 itself, or just the stress of dealing with the pandemic plus acute illness,” Perlis added.

Researchers also found that people with depression were more likely to be young, male, and have severe COVID-19.

Previous studies had found a link between depression and loss of smell and taste in patients with COVID-19, but Perlis and his colleagues did not find this relationship.

Rather, they found a link between headaches during COVID-19 and a higher risk of depression. However, it’s possible that people with depression were more likely to say they had headaches when they were sick, the study authors noted.

The study could not prove the cause and effect. It is possible that those who said they suffered from depression had their symptoms before they had COVID-19, or that they were slower to recover from depression after being ill, or that they were at greater risk. of COVID-19 in the first place, the researchers pointed out. .

“Depression is a very treatable disease. Since the rates of depression are currently so high, it is especially important to make sure that people can access care, ”noted Perlis.

“In the same way that our government and public health leaders work to encourage people to get vaccinated, we must encourage people to seek treatment if they have symptoms of depression,” he said. he declares.

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Jothi Venkat

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