ST. Louis — People Recovering from COVID-19 — Even Mild Cases — According to a large, comprehensive study published Thursday, they develop a variety of mental disorders, including anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and cognitive impairment. The risk is significantly higher. It has seen millions of health records during the year.
“I knew that the mental health of people in the United States was generally affected by a pandemic, but I didn’t know what happened to people especially infected with COVID-19. They really made it worse. Did you let me? ” Dr. Zyard AlaryHead of Research and Development at VA St. Louis Healthcare System and Clinical Epidemiologist at the University of Washington.
Al-Aly led the investigation. Published in the BMJ Medical Journal on Thursday..
Al-Aly’s team used VA’s powerful electronic health record system for research. They identified more than 150,000 VA patients infected with COVID-19 between March 2020 and January 2021 and followed them for one year.
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Researchers have found that the group was not infected with COVID-19, but more than 5 million people who experienced the same pandemic conditions such as blockages, interruptions in school education and day care, loneliness, unemployment, and loss of friends and family. Compared to the “modern cohort” of patients in. They also compared this group to a “historic cohort” of more than 5 million patients before the pandemic.
“People infected with COVID-19 were at much higher risk of various mental health problems,” Alary said.
Most were not hospitalized for COVID-19, but recovered from a mild infection at home.
For example, this study found an increased risk of anxiety disorders by 35%, a risk of depressive disorders by 39%, a risk of stress-related conditions by 38%, and a risk of sleep disorders by 41%. The risk of opioid use increased by 76% and the risk of cognitive decline increased by 80%.
Al-Aly stated that patient numbers, range of mental illness, and duration of study are the most comprehensive studies on the subject to date.
“Nothing like this has ever been published,” he said.
The average age of the subjects surveyed was 61 years, with 90% being male. However, Al-Aly said the number of people surveyed was so large that there were enough women and women of all ages to reach the same conclusion.
One of the most worrisome findings was an increase in opioid prescriptions and abuse among those who had COVID-19, Al-Aly said. Shortly before the pandemic began, he said the United States has been declining deaths from overdose after years of attention to opioid prescribing methods.
“What we are seeing is almost a reversal of this trend,” Alary said. “This needs attention now, reducing the chances of a more serious problem in the future and another opioid epidemic.”
Increased depression and suicidal ideation should also reduce stigma in seeking mental health care and encourage efforts to connect people to care, he said.
“We need to give them the treatment they need, and this won’t be a much bigger crisis,” Alary said. “Due to the huge COVID in the United States, the numbers here really represent millions of people.”
In October, the World Health Organization called this “State after COVID-19.. This usually occurs about 3 months after COVID-19 infection, lasts at least 2 months, and cannot be explained by another diagnosis. Common symptoms are fatigue, shortness of breath, and cognitive dysfunction, but they can also include a variety of problems, including headaches, joint pain, gastrointestinal problems, and skin rashes.
Studies on the frequency of COVID after infection have shown varying results from less than 5% to nearly 60%.
Al-Aly led Another large study Released in April 2021, VA health records showed that survivors of COVID-19 had an almost 60% increased risk of death 6 months after infection compared to uninfected VA patients. I found out.
Many hospital and physician systems, including the University of Washington School of Medicine, have opened long COVID clinics to provide specific care for these patients.
University of Washington staff COVID-19 Post-Clinic Care and Recovery There are two in Cleeve Core.
The clinic opened in October 2020 and has seen about 950 patients so far, according to its director, Dr. Maureen Lions.
Impact on children
On Tuesday, US Congressman Cori Bush, D-St.Louis joins U.S. Congressman Pramira Jayapal from Washington to represent 17 other people Send a letter to the Federal Health AgencyAsk them to address the lack of surveillance and funding for the treatment of long COVIDs for children and adolescents.
“As the long-term effects of COVID-19 continue to harm children, we have taken prompt action from the Department of Health and Human Services to improve the health care system to support and monitor children. I ask you to take it, “the member wrote in a letter. “The permanent impact of COVID-19 on potentially millions of children will have unpredictable consequences unless policymakers intervene immediately.”
A Some research so far In children, long COVIDs are rare, indicating that symptoms usually resolve within a month.
Dr. Rachel Oscheln, an infectious disease expert at the University of Washington at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, said long COVID symptoms Chronic fatigue syndromeA condition that has occurred for a long time after a bout of various infectious diseases. Autoimmune reactions such as rashes and joint pain can also occur after illness.
“Therefore, this long COVID may be the same, especially because it affects children, but at this point it’s not entirely clear,” Oscheln said.
Al-Aly said that COVID-19 is “as clear as the sun” that it is more than just a respiratory virus.
“It’s a systemic virus that can cause heart and kidney problems, and in some people, diabetes,” he said. “And this report shows that it can cause long-term neuropsychiatric symptoms.”
He wants to raise awareness of the complexity of long COVIDs between physicians and the healthcare system.
“We are absolutely not ready. We are not talking enough about it. We are not doing enough,” Alary said. “At some point, COVID-19 will become endemic. This will be a history of all of us leaving pandemic scars and scars …. we are building the ability to deal with it. Do we understand what we need to do? Is there a long COVID cure? This is all, no, no, no, no, no. “
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