Pre-existing psychological distress may be a long-term COVID risk factor

October 5, 2022

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Wang has not reported any relevant financial disclosures. See research for relevant financial disclosures of all other authors.

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High levels of distress, such as anxiety, worry and depression, before SARS-CoV-2 infection may be risk factors for developing post-COVID-19 symptoms, a recent study published . J.Also psychiatry found.

according to Seven Wang Medical Doctor, Harvard University’s Department of Nutrition researchers and colleagues said, “Persistent emotional distress can lead to activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal system and subsequent immune dysregulation.”

Data source: Wang S, et al. JAMA Psychiatry2022;doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2022.2640.

“Other common symptoms of distress, such as increased loneliness and perceived stress during the pandemic, are associated with chronic illness and premature death,” they write. 19 conditions.

Post-COVID-19 symptoms, also called long-term COVID, can last for weeks or months after infection. A CDC survey conducted in June found that about 19% of Americans who reported that they had COVID-19 in the past experienced symptoms of her COVID-19 that lasted longer.

In the current study, Wang and colleagues examined data from 54,960 participants from three ongoing longitudinal studies that began in April 2020. The participant completed baseline and at least one of his follow-up questionnaires. Among them, 6% reported that he had tested positive for COVID-19 over his 19 months. The final analysis included his 3,193 participants who completed all required questionnaires and tested positive for COVID-19.

The median age of participants was 55.3 years. 96.4% were female. 96.8% were Caucasian. 49% were active healthcare workers.

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Overall, 43.9% (n = 1,403) of participants reported experiencing long-term COVID-consistent symptoms, and 86.9% (n = 1,219) had symptoms lasting longer than two months, according to Wang and colleagues. is reporting.

All types of distress the researchers measured were associated with an increased risk of COVID symptoms over time.

  • chance of depression (RR = 1.39; 95% CI, 1.19-1.63);
  • possibly anxious (RR = 1.47; 95% CI, 1.27-1.7);
  • Very worried about COVID-19 (RR = 1.43; 95% CI, 1.22-1.68);
  • perceived stress (RR = 1.5; 95% CI, 1.21-1.86); and
  • Sometimes or mostly lonely (RR = 1.35; 95% CI, 1.11-1.65).

Participants with more types of distress had a higher risk of prolonged COVID symptoms (RR = 1.54; 95% CI, 1.28 to 1.86). The most common long-term COVID symptoms included fatigue, smell or taste problems, shortness of breath, confusion, and memory problems.

The authors reported that emotional distress not only affected post-infectious symptoms, but also amplified their presence. All conditions, except persistent cough and problems with taste or smell, were ‘more common’ compared to participants who did not, by type of distress.

“Depressive symptoms, anxiety symptoms, anxiety symptoms, and perceived stress at baseline were consistently associated with a 25% to 51% increased risk of having symptoms that sometimes interfered with activity.” Wang and colleagues write.

The researchers noted some study limitations, such as the participants being predominantly Caucasian, female, and health care workers. Her positive COVID-19 test is self-reported. Potential bias due to data not missing at random.

Wang and colleagues concluded that their findings need to be followed up with further studies evaluating whether stress reduction may help treat or prevent long-term COVID symptoms. They also noted that identifying and treating biological pathways linking long-lasting COVID and distress “could benefit individuals with post-COVID-19 conditions or other chronic post-infectious syndromes.” There is,” he pointed out.

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