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1.
Int Rev Psychiatry ; 34(7-8): 797-808, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2187164

ABSTRACT

The potentially traumatic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in subjects with pre-existing mental disorders is still unclear, especially regarding its long-term consequences. The aim of this study was to prospectively assess post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and post-traumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) in patients with mental disorders, during the 3rd wave of the infection (T0, March-April 2021) while strict containment measures were applied in Italy, and after 3 months (T1, June-July 2021), with reduced restrictive measures. A total sample of 527 subjects, with different DSM-5 diagnoses, was consecutively enrolled at nine Italian psychiatric outpatient services. Assessments at T0 included: the Trauma and Loss Spectrum-Self Report (TALS-SR), the Impact of Event Scale-Revised (IES-R) and the Work and Social Adjustment Scale (WSAS). These two latter were repeated at T1. Results showed that at T0, 43.6% of the sample reported symptoms of PTSD, with females (p = .004), younger subjects (p = .011), unemployed/students (p = .011), and living with their parental families (p = .017), resulting more affected. Differences in PTSD rates emerged across diagnostic groups ranging from 10% in patients with psychoses up to 59% in those with feeding and eating disorders. An improvement at T1 emerged in all diagnostic groups for the IES-R scores, while WSAS scores improved only in subjects with mood disorders. In conclusions, subjects with mental disorders presented relevant rates of PTSD and PTSS at 1-year into the pandemic. Further long-term studies are needed to follow-up the course of pandemic traumatic burden especially in patients with severe mental disorders.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Feeding and Eating Disorders , Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic , Female , Humans , Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic/psychology , COVID-19/epidemiology , Pandemics , Italy/epidemiology
2.
Ann Gen Psychiatry ; 21(1): 44, 2022 Nov 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2117506

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Use of social media (SM) has exponentially grown particularly among youths in the past two years, due to COVID-19-related changing lifestyles. Based on the Italian COvid Mental hEalth Trial (COMET), we investigated the association between SM use and depressive symptoms among Italian young adults (aged 18-24). METHODS: The COMET is a nationwide multi-center cross-sectional study that investigated socio-demographic data, social networking addiction (BSNAS), depression, anxiety, and stress (DASS-21), as well as impulsiveness (BIS-15) and aggressiveness (AQ) in a large sample of youngsters, in order to assess the association between BSNAS and DASS-21 indices. Mediation analyses were performed to evaluate the role of impulsiveness and aggressive personality traits in the association between SM use (SMU) and depression. RESULTS: 75.8% of the sample (n = 491) had a problematic SMU. SMU was reduced by high AQ and high DASS-21 scores (F = 42.338, p < 0.001, R2 = 0.207). Mediation analyses showed that SMU negatively predicted depressive symptomatology with the interaction mediated by AQ total (ß = - 0.1075), physical (ß = - 0.207) and anger (ß = - 0.0582), BIS-15 total (ß = - 0.0272) and attentional (ß = - 0.0302). High depressive levels were predicted by high AQ scores, low SMU levels, low verbal and physical AQ, and low attentional BIS-15 (F = 30.322, p < 0.001, R2 = 0.273). Depressive symptomatology negatively predicted SMU with their interaction mediated by AQ total (ß = - 0.1640), verbal (ß = 0.0436) and anger (ß = - 0.0807), BIS-15 total (ß = - 0.0448) and attentional (ß = - 0.0409). CONCLUSIONS: SMU during the early phases of the COVID-19 pandemic could have a beneficial role in buffering negative consequences linked to social isolation due to quarantine measures, despite this association being mediated by specific personality traits.

3.
J Pers Med ; 12(11)2022 Oct 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2090241

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic has represented a new form of traumatic event, affecting the general population worldwide and causing severe disruption of daily routine. A new urgent concern is related to the burden associated with COVID-19 symptoms that persist beyond the onset of infection, the so-called long-COVID syndrome. The present paper aims to: (1) describe the most frequent psychiatric symptoms reported by patients affected by long-COVID syndrome; (2) evaluate methodological discrepancies among the available studies; (3) inform clinicians and policy-makers on the possible strategies to be promoted in order to manage the psychiatric consequences of long-COVID syndrome. Twenty-one papers have been included in the present review, mostly with a cross-sectional or cohort design. Significant heterogeneity of long-COVID syndrome definitions was found. The presence of psychiatric symptoms was evaluated with very different assessment tools. The most common psychiatric symptoms of the long-COVID syndrome included fatigue, cognitive disturbances/impairment, depression, and anxiety symptoms. The rate of fatigue varied from 93.2-82.3% to 11.5%, cognitive impairment/cognitive dysfunction from 61.4% to 23.5% and depressive-anxiety symptoms from 23.5%to 9.5%.

5.
J Psychiatr Res ; 152: 242-249, 2022 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1895260

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The mental health of the Italian population declined at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, nationwide population prevalence estimates may not effectively reproduce the heterogeneity in distress responses to the pandemic. In particular, contextual determinants specific to COVID-19 pandemic need to be considered. We thus aimed to explore the association between local COVID-19 mortality rates and mental health response among the general population. METHODS: We capitalised on data (N = 17,628) from a large, cross-sectional, national survey, the COMET study, run between March and May 2020. While psychological distress was measured by General Health Questionnaire-12 (GHQ-12), the Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale-21 Items (DASS-21) was used to assess relevant domains. In addition, a Covid-19 mortality ratio was built to compare single regional mortality rates to the national estimate and official statistics were used to control for other area-level determinants. RESULTS: Adjusted ordered regression analyses showed an association between mortality ratio and moderate (OR = 1.10, 95%CI 1.03-1.18) and severe (OR = 1.11, 95%CI 1.03-1.21) DASS-21 anxiety levels. No effects of mortality ratio on GHQ-12 scores and DASS-21 depression and stress levels, uniformly high across the country, were estimated. CONCLUSIONS: Although we could not find any association between regional COVID-19 mortality ratio and depression or psychological distress, anxiety levels were significantly increased among subjects from areas with the highest mortality rates. Local mortality rate seems a meaningful driver for anxiety among the general population. Considering the potentially long-lasting scenario, local public health authorities should provide neighbouring communities with preventive interventions reducing psychological isolation and anxiety levels.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Psychological Distress , Anxiety/epidemiology , Anxiety/psychology , Cross-Sectional Studies , Depression/epidemiology , Depression/psychology , Disease Outbreaks , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Stress, Psychological/epidemiology , Stress, Psychological/psychology , Surveys and Questionnaires
6.
Front Psychiatry ; 13: 868286, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1809603

ABSTRACT

Human coronaviruses have neuroinvasive and neurotropic abilities that might explain psychiatric outcomes in affected patients. We hypothesized that delirium might be the sole clinical manifestation or even the prodrome of a psychiatric episode consistent with the mental history of a few infected patients with a preexisting diagnosed cognitive impairment. We examined three patients with preexisting mild cognitive impairment and delirium at admission for suspected SARS-CoV-2 infection. We diagnosed delirium using DSM-5 and Confusion Assessment Method (CAM) and measured consciousness level by the Glasgow Coma Scale. All the patients had no history of fever, respiratory complications, anosmia or ageusia, meningitis, and negative cerebrospinal fluid analysis for SARS-CoV-2. Our first patient had no psychiatric history, the second reported only a depressive episode, and the third had a history of bipolar disorder dated back to 40 years before. In the first patient, delirium resolved 2 days following the admission. The other two patients recovered in 4 and 14 days, and delirium appeared as the prodrome of a new psychiatric episode resembling past events. Clinicians should monitor the possibility that SARS-CoV-2 presence in the brain might clinically manifest in the form of delirium and acute psychiatric sequelae, even without other systemic symptoms. Psychiatric history and preexisting mild cognitive impairment are to be considered as predisposing factors for COVID-19 sequelae in delirium patients.

7.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 19(3)2022 Jan 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1667143

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 pandemic and its related containment measures have been associated with increased levels of stress, anxiety and depression in the general population. While the use of digital media has been greatly promoted by national governments and international authorities to maintain social contacts and healthy lifestyle behaviors, its increased access may also bear the risk of inappropriate or excessive use of internet-related resources. The present study, part of the COVID Mental hEalth Trial (COMET) study, aims at investigating the possible relationship between social isolation, the use of digital resources and the development of their problematic use. A cross sectional survey was carried out to explore the prevalence of internet addiction, excessive use of social media, problematic video gaming and binge watching, during Italian phase II (May-June 2020) and III (June-September 2020) of the pandemic in 1385 individuals (62.5% female, mean age 32.5 ± 12.9) mainly living in Central Italy (52.4%). Data were stratified according to phase II/III and three groups of Italian regions (northern, central and southern). Compared to the larger COMET study, most participants exhibited significant higher levels of severe-to-extremely-severe depressive symptoms (46.3% vs. 12.4%; p < 0.01) and extremely severe anxiety symptoms (77.8% vs. 7.5%; p < 0.01). We also observed a rise in problematic internet use and excessive gaming over time. Mediation analyses revealed that COVID-19-related general psychopathology, stress, anxiety, depression and social isolation play a significant role in the emergence of problematic internet use, social media addiction and problematic video gaming. Professional gamers and younger subjects emerged as sub-populations particularly at risk of developing digital addictions. If confirmed in larger and more homogenous samples, our findings may help in shedding light on possible preventive and treatment strategies for digital addictions.


Subject(s)
Behavior, Addictive , COVID-19 , Video Games , Adult , Behavior, Addictive/epidemiology , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Humans , Internet , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Social Isolation , Young Adult
8.
Front Psychiatry ; 12: 788139, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1597717

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the mental and physical health of the general population at any age, but it is expected to have a protracted and severe consequences for younger populations. The pandemic has had several consequences on mental health including anger and irritability, depressive symptoms and somatic complaints, insomnia, lack of motivation, and loneliness. In particular, loneliness and its related negative feelings are thought to be particularly pronounced during young adulthood because of the many social changes that young people deal with during this period of life. Therefore, it is essential to evaluate the type of impact of the pandemic on the mental health of young people and their levels of loneliness experienced during the first phase of the lockdown. Based on the largest Italian study on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health of general population, in this paper we aim to: (1) describe the levels of loneliness in a national sample of Italian young adults aged 18-34 years, during the first wave of lockdown in 2020; (2) evaluate the clinical and socio-demographic differences in young adults reporting low vs. high levels of loneliness; (3) assess the role of clinical symptomatology, coping strategies, levels of resilience, and duration of lockdown as possible predictors of loneliness. The final sample consists of 8,584 people, mainly female (72.6%), single, with a mean age of 26.4 (±4.4) years. The mean score at the UCLA was 47.5 (±13.6), with 27% (N = 2,311) of respondents exceeding the cut-off for high levels of loneliness. High levels of loneliness were predicted by the presence of avoidant coping strategies, such as self-distraction (Beta coefficient, B = 0.369, 95% Confidence Interval, CI = 0.328-0.411), venting (B = 0.245, 95% CI = 0.197-0.293), denial (B = 0.110, 95% CI = 0.061-0.159), and emotional disengagement (B = 0.133, 95% CI = 0.080-0.185). Weeks of exposure to the pandemic were significantly associated with worsening of loneliness (p < 0.000). There is currently considerable interest in trying to reduce loneliness, both within the context of COVID-19 and more generally. Our results highlight that young people are at a higher risk of developing loneliness and suggest that more interventions and practical guidelines are needed.

9.
Medicina (Kaunas) ; 57(11)2021 Nov 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1512491

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 neuroinvasive and neurotropic abilities may underlie delirium onset and neuropsychiatric outcomes. Only a limited number of studies have addressed the potential effect of SARS-CoV-2 infection on mental health so far. Most studies mainly reported the acute onset of mixed neuropsychiatric conditions in patients infected with SARS-CoV-2, characterized by agitated behavior, altered level of consciousness, and disorganized thinking, regardless of psychological or socioeconomic triggering factors. The present narrative review aims to analyze and discuss the mechanisms underlying the neuroinvasive/neurotropic properties of SARS-CoV-2 and the subsequent mental complications. Delirium appeared as a clinical manifestation of SARS-CoV-2 brain infection in some patients, without systemic or multiple organ failure symptoms. A small number of studies demonstrated that neuropsychiatric symptoms associated with COVID-19, initially presenting as a confused state, may subsequently evolve in a way that is consistent with the patients' neuropsychiatric history. A literature analysis on this topic prevalently showed case reports and case series of patients presenting delirium or delirium-like symptoms as the main outburst of COVID-19, plus a cognitive impairment, from mild to severe, which pre-existed or was demonstrated during the acute phase or after infection. Dementia appeared as one of the most frequent predisposing factors to SARS-CoV-2 infection complicated with delirium. Instead, contrasting data emerged on the potential link between COVID-19 and delirium in patients with cognitive impairment and without a neuropsychiatric history. Therefore, clinicians should contemplate the possibility that COVID-19 appears as delirium followed by a psychiatric exacerbation, even without other systemic symptoms. In addition, cognitive impairment might act as a predisposing factor for COVID-19 in patients with delirium.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Cognitive Dysfunction , Delirium , Causality , Cognitive Dysfunction/etiology , Delirium/etiology , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
10.
Brain Sci ; 11(11)2021 Oct 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1488488

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic represents an unprecedented public health emergency, with consequences at the political, social, and economic levels. Mental health services have been called to play a key role in facing the impact of the pandemic on the mental health of the general population. In the period March-May 2020, an online survey was implemented as part of the Covid Mental Health Trial (COMET), a multicentric collaborative study carried out in Italy, one of the Western countries most severely hit by the pandemic. The present study aims to investigate the use of mental health resources during the first wave of the pandemic. The final sample consisted of 20,712 participants, mainly females (N = 14,712, 71%) with a mean age of 40.4 ± 14.3 years. Access to mental health services was reported in 7.7% of cases. Among those referred to mental health services, in 93.9% of cases (N = 1503 subjects) a psychological assessment was requested and in 15.7% of cases (N = 252) a psychiatric consultation. People reporting higher levels of perceived loneliness (OR 1.079, 95% CI 1.056-1.101, p < 0.001), practicing smart-working (OR 1.122, 95% CI 0.980-1.285, p = 0.095), using avoidant (OR 1.586, 95% CI 1.458-1.725, p < 0.001) and approach (OR 1.215, 95% CI 1.138-1.299, p < 0.001) coping strategies more frequently accessed mental health services. On the other hand, having higher levels of perceived social support (OR 0.833, 95% CI 0.795-0.873, p < 0.001) was associated with a reduced probability to access mental health services. The COVID-19 pandemic represents a new threat to the mental health and well-being of the general population, therefore specific strategies should be implemented to promote access to mental healthcare during the pandemic and afterwards.

11.
Brain Sci ; 11(9)2021 Sep 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1430781

ABSTRACT

The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health are now well documented, however, few studies have been focused on the role of coping strategies and resilience in counterbalancing these detrimental effects. Data are derived from the COvid Mental hEalth Trial (COMET), a national multicentric trial carried out in the Italian general population. The final sample consisted of 20,720 participants, 53.1% (n = 11,000) of the sample reported low levels of resilience. Adaptive coping strategies and resilience levels did not have any significant protective impact on the levels of depressive, anxiety, and stress symptoms. Only self-distraction was a risk factor for poor mental health (Beta Coefficient, B = 0.1, 95% Confidence Interval, CI: 0.003 to 0.267 for stress symptoms; B = 0.2; 95% CI: 0.077 to 0.324 for anxiety symptoms and B = 0.2, 95% CI: 0.105 to 0.382 for depressive symptoms). High levels of resilience were predicted by adaptive coping strategies, such as acceptance (B = 1.8, CI 95% = 1.4-2.7). Exposure to the different weeks of lockdown, being infected by COVID-19, and being a healthcare professional did not influence the levels of resilience. Our findings should be carefully considered, since the low levels of resilience may represent the missing link between the pandemic and the current increase in mental health problems.

12.
J Affect Disord ; 296: 59-66, 2022 01 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1415506

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Severe psychological and psychosocial consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic are expected, especially for people already vulnerable to biological or psychosocial stressors, including those with mental health problems. The study aimed to investigate factors associated with the loss of jobs and unemployment during the COVID-19 pandemic. In particular, we investigated whether mental illness was associated with a higher risk of losing one's job because of the COVID-19 pandemic. METHODS: Nineteen thousand four hundred ninety-six adults living in Italy were administered an online protocol including a sociodemographic checklist and questionnaires investigating suicide ideation and risk, mental health status and general distress (stress, anxiety, and depression), resilience, and perceived support. RESULTS: One thousand two hundred seventy-four reported having lost their job because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and 5.4% of the sample reported a mental illness (mostly a depressive disorder). Unemployment was independently associated with mental illness, poor mental health, and depression. Mental illness was associated with the risk of losing one's job because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but not at the multivariate analyses. Those who lost their job because of the COVID-19 pandemic (compared to others) reported worse mental health and depression. LIMITATIONS: The presence of mental illness was self-reported by respondents and the administered measures were self-reported questionnaires affected by social desirability and other response bias. CONCLUSIONS: The COVID-19 pandemic and social isolation measures and lockdown used to contain its spread among the Italian population were associated with occupational insecurity, especially among the more vulnerable social categories.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Mental Disorders , Adult , Anxiety , Communicable Disease Control , Depression , Humans , Italy/epidemiology , Mental Disorders/epidemiology , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Unemployment
13.
Eur Psychiatry ; 63(1): e87, 2020 09 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-801277

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is an unprecedented traumatic event influencing the healthcare, economic, and social welfare systems worldwide. In order to slow the infection rates, lockdown has been implemented almost everywhere. Italy, one of the countries most severely affected, entered the "lockdown" on March 8, 2020. METHODS: The COvid Mental hEalth Trial (COMET) network includes 10 Italian university sites and the National Institute of Health. The whole study has three different phases. The first phase includes an online survey conducted between March and May 2020 in the Italian population. Recruitment took place through email invitation letters, social media, mailing lists of universities, national medical associations, and associations of stakeholders (e.g., associations of users/carers). In order to evaluate the impact of lockdown on depressive, anxiety and stress symptoms, multivariate linear regression models were performed, weighted for the propensity score. RESULTS: The final sample consisted of 20,720 participants. Among them, 12.4% of respondents (N = 2,555) reported severe or extremely severe levels of depressive symptoms, 17.6% (N = 3,627) of anxiety symptoms and 41.6% (N = 8,619) reported to feel at least moderately stressed by the situation at the DASS-21.According to the multivariate regression models, the depressive, anxiety and stress symptoms significantly worsened from the week April 9-15 to the week April 30 to May 4 (p < 0.0001). Moreover, female respondents and people with pre-existing mental health problems were at higher risk of developing severe depression and anxiety symptoms (p < 0.0001). CONCLUSIONS: Although physical isolation and lockdown represent essential public health measures for containing the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, they are a serious threat for mental health and well-being of the general population. As an integral part of COVID-19 response, mental health needs should be addressed.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/psychology , Health Surveys , Mental Health/statistics & numerical data , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/psychology , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Anxiety/epidemiology , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , Female , Humans , Italy/epidemiology , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Stress, Psychological/epidemiology , Universities , Young Adult
14.
Front Psychiatry ; 11: 533, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-615571

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic and its related containment measures-mainly physical distancing and isolation-are having detrimental consequences on the mental health of the general population worldwide. In particular, frustration, loneliness, and worries about the future are common reactions and represent well-known risk factors for several mental disorders, including anxiety, affective, and post-traumatic stress disorders. The vast majority of available studies have been conducted in China, where the pandemic started. Italy has been severely hit by the pandemic, and the socio-cultural context is completely different from Eastern countries. Therefore, there is the need for methodologically rigorous studies aiming to evaluate the impact of COVID-19 and quarantine measures on the mental health of the Italian population. In fact, our results will help us to develop appropriate interventions for managing the psychosocial consequences of pandemic. The "COVID-IT-mental health trial" is a no-profit, not-funded, national, multicentric, cross-sectional population-based trial which has the following aims: a) to evaluate the impact of COVID-19 pandemic and its containment measures on mental health of the Italian population; b) to identify the main areas to be targeted by supportive long-term interventions for the different categories of people exposed to the pandemic. Data will be collected through a web-platform using validated assessment tools. Participants will be subdivided into four groups: a) Group 1-COVID-19 quarantine group. This group includes the general population which are quarantined but not isolated, i.e., those not directly exposed to contagion nor in contact with COVID-19+ individuals; b) Group 2-COVID-19+ group, which includes isolated people directly/indirectly exposed to the virus; c) Group 3-COVID-19 healthcare staff group, which includes first- and second-line healthcare professionals; d) Group 4-COVID-19 mental health, which includes users of mental health services and all those who had already been diagnosed with a mental disorder. Mental health services worldwide are not prepared yet to manage the short- and long-term consequences of the pandemic. It is necessary to have a clear picture of the impact that this new stressor will have on mental health and well-being in order to develop and disseminate appropriate interventions for the general population and for the other at-risk groups.

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