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Exp Ther Med ; 24(5): 705, 2022 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2099951


The ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has had a widespread impact on individuals' mental health through indirect psychological and social mechanisms, related to factors such as fear of infection or death, social isolation, lack of social support and financial instability. The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection has also been associated with the development or recurrence of neuropsychiatric symptoms, both during the acute phase, as well as during the post-acute 'long-COVID' phase. In addition to the COVID-19 survivors with a mental health history that are at a high risk of experiencing a range of neuropsychiatric symptoms following resolution of acute COVID-19, there is accumulating evidence that a diagnosis of COVID-19 may also be associated with new-onset neuropsychiatric morbidity among survivors without pre-existing mental health disorders. In particular, studies investigating the incidence of post-acute neuropsychiatric sequelae, based mostly on retrospective cohort study designs and data from national health registries, have reported the development of new-onset manifestations, including depression, anxiety, psychotic symptoms, sleep disturbances and fatigue. Nevertheless, when COVID-19 survivors were compared with SARS-CoV-2-negative controls and especially survivors of other disorders (such as influenza), the findings regarding the risk of incident neuropsychiatric manifestations varied among studies. While there is evidence of an association between SARS-CoV-2 infection and the subsequent occurrence of new-onset neuropsychiatric symptoms, especially among patients with increased disease severity, further research using methodological approaches less susceptible to confounding bias is required to establish causal relationships.

Exp Ther Med ; 23(5): 363, 2022 May.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1780105


There is accumulating evidence in the literature indicating that a number of patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) may experience a range of neuropsychiatric symptoms, persisting or even presenting following the resolution of acute COVID-19. Among the neuropsychiatric manifestations more frequently associated with 'long COVID' are depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, sleep disturbances, fatigue and cognitive deficits, that can potentially be debilitating and negatively affect patients' wellbeing, albeit in the majority of cases symptoms tend to improve over time. Despite variations in results obtained from studies using different methodological approaches to define 'long COVID' syndrome, the most widely accepted factors associated with a higher risk of developing neuropsychiatric manifestations include the severity of foregoing COVID-19, the female sex, the presence of comorbidities, a history of mental health disease and an elevation in the levels of inflammatory markers, albeit further research is required to establish causal associations. To date, the pathophysiological mechanisms implicated in neuropsychiatric manifestations of 'long COVID' remain only partially elucidated, while the role of the indirect effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, such as social isolation and uncertainty concerning social, financial and health recovery post-COVID, have also been highlighted. Given the alarming effects of 'long-COVID', interdisciplinary cooperation for the early identification of patients who are at a high risk of persistent neuropsychiatric presentations, beyond COVID-19 recovery, is crucial to ensure that appropriate integrated physical and mental health support is provided, with the aim of mitigating the risks of long-term disability at a societal and individual level.