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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.

Exp Ther Med ; 22(4): 1162, 2021 Oct.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1377025


Since its outbreak, in December, 2019, in the Chinese city of Wuhan, coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has evolved into an ongoing global pandemic. Due to the novel antigenic properties of this virus, the world population could not develop immunity effectively and this led to the subsequent spread of COVID-19. This caused an unprecedented emergency situation with significant negative effects on health and well-being both on an individual and societal level. Apart from health, economic and social consequences, the impact of this pandemic on mental health is increasingly being reported in the scientific literature. The present review aimed to provide a comprehensive discussion of the possible neurological and neuropsychiatric manifestations of SARS-CoV-2, together with the related underlying molecular pathways. In addition, the present review focused on populations which are at a higher risk of developing psychiatric disturbances due to the COVID-19 pandemic and discussed possible routes of clinical management and therapeutics to minimize the burden associated with psychiatric disorders. Moreover, research findings exploring the prevalence of COVID-19-related post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms across vulnerable groups, including children, adolescents and COVID-19 survivors are presented, with particular emphasis on those with severe disease who required hospitalization and/or intensive care unit admission. Based on the available literature, the identification of potential determinants associated with PTSD across the different populations is underlined. Lessons learnt from the pandemics across the globe together with the ongoing research on COVID-19 and its impact on mental health, highlight the utmost importance for evidence-based, proactive and targeted interventions in high-risk groups aiming to mitigate the risks and manage vulnerabilities.

Exp Ther Med ; 21(3): 244, 2021 Mar.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1073518


As one year is approaching since the beginning of the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, it is important to acknowledge the detrimental effect that it is having on mental health at the individual, societal and public health levels. The current review presents the direct and indirect psychological impact of COVID-19 on the general public, as well as on vulnerable groups, including the elderly, the young, healthcare professionals, people with pre-existing mental health issues, those infected by COVID-19, homeless people and refugees. Important findings are discussed in the present review, including the social stigma in older people associated with portraying COVID-19 as the disease of the elderly, and the limited psychological impact of COVID-19 in the severely mentally ill, alongside the response of the mental healthcare systems globally to this unparalleled public health crisis. The important lessons to be learnt so far can help formulate individual mental health recommendations, as well as improved intervention and prevention public health strategies.

Exp Ther Med ; 19(6): 3451-3453, 2020 Jun.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-87404


In light of the unprecedented public health crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is highly important to acknowledge the psychological impact of this mounting threat on healthcare professionals. Previous experience from smaller scale epidemics and emerging literature around COVID-19 show that the unparalleled amount of stress that healthcare workers are dealing with, is associated with increased psychological morbidities. We have depicted the psychological burden that the COVID-19 pandemic has posed on healthcare professionals in Greece and have reviewed the literature around the effect of previous epidemics on frontline healthcare staff. Moreover, we discuss potential triggers and the need for measures to minimise the psychological pressure on those at the frontline against this biothreat.