A review of forty different studies reveals the negative consequences of the pandemic COVID-19 on the mental health of patients, health staff and the population in general.
Researchers from the University of Copenhagen and the mental health Centre of Copenhagen, in Denmark, have reviewed 43 articles of scientists who had worked on the subject.
“It is known from the previous SARS epidemic in 2002-2003, also known as avian influenza, that mental health has been affected in patients who have survived the disease and among the health professionals treating the sick. Our recently published article is systematically to review the current knowledge about the symptoms among health professionals and their patients. The same symptoms seem to reproduce with the pandemic COVID-19”, said professor Michael Eriksen Benros of the Department of immunology and microbiology at the University of Copenhagen and the mental health Centre of Copenhagen.
Post-traumatic Stress disorder
The 20 studies that have focused on the mental health of health professionals have revealed higher levels of anxiety and depression as well as mental stress and a poor quality of sleep.
In the 19 studies that analysed the mental health of the population, the pandemic COVID-19 also seems to have a negative impact.
Only two studies to date have focused on the mental symptoms in patients of the COVID-19. They show that 96 % of critically ill patients hospitalized showed symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, and a higher risk of developing depression.
Work to do
“More and better studies are needed, but the results are still relevant. The many reports of degradation of the sense of taste and smell during an infection to the COVID-19 may indicate an effect on the nervous system. Therefore, it is essential that the mental symptoms may be detected during and after the disease. A contributing factor could be that the infection has affected the brain and caused symptoms, either directly or by the induced immune response,” says Dr. Benros.
The authors of the journal issue, however, of the reserves, because the studies on which they are based are of variable quality. Also, it is not clear if the results of a study asian may be applicable elsewhere in the world.
“We need more high quality studies before we draw final conclusions on the links between mental health and the COVID-19. However, our results indicate that the COVID-19 can have an impact on the brain of those who suffer from it and that the pandemic has collateral effects on the mental health of the nursing staff and the population,” explains one of the authors, Nina Vindegaard Sørensen, Department of immunology and microbiology, University of Copenhagen.