A new report published November in the Lancet found that those who have had COVID-19 are likely to develop anxiety, depression, insomnia, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) within 90 days of recovery. The lack of contact with family members and loved ones during quarantine and hospital stays can produce psychological instability. Reports of PTSD symptoms have been noted in patients discharged from the hospital after recovering from the virus.
Researchers reported that 32.2% of COVID-19 patients developed PTSD, 14.9% developed depression, and 14.8% developed anxiety. Additionally, people who recovered from COVID-19 can experience post-intensive-care syndrome, which includes cognitive, psychological, and neurological symptoms. Researchers have also reported significantly higher risks of dementia for those who have had COVID.
People who have not had the virus are also experiencing mental health issues due to prolonged social isolation and lockdowns, economic instability, and uncertainty around when the crisis will end. The report outlines increased symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress due to the disruption of life, fear of contracting the virus, fear of economic disruption and exacerbation of health inequities. People report phobic anxiety, panic buying, binge-watching television and the associated mood disturbances, sleep disturbances and impairment in self-regulation as consequences of the stress related to the pandemic.
Additionally, the report describes the effects on the mental health of frontline workers who experience negative consequences from extended stress exposure and fear of infecting themselves and loved ones.
Researchers suggest that the pandemic presents an opportunity to improve the scale and cost-effectiveness of different mental health interventions. This includes rethinking conventional approaches to systems planning and greater inclusion of individuals, care-givers and representatives of populations who experience health disparities.