New Delhi: According to experts patients who got infected with mild to medium cases of Covid and successfully recovered are now suffering from what is being called the Long Covid Syndrome, according to experts people who suffered from long COVID is coming up with psychological and psychiatric problems. “The Acute COVID patients have had some psychological and psychiatric symptoms, but what is now more relevant is the Long Covid or Post Covid psychological and psychiatric symptoms. This may be due to direct effects of the virus on the brain, it also affects on the psyche and mind, social effects and economic impact altogether,” said Dr Nimesh Desai, former Director, of IHBAS.
As such care for long or post covid syndromes should be many medical specialities including psychiatry, he added.
Vikas Gaur, Head of the Psychiatry Department at Amrita Hospital, Faridabad explained that after physically recovering from Covid, from the third week onwards, many patients have reported mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and sleep disorders.
These are new cases due to the neuro-psychiatric manifestation of Long Covid. Most such cases reported today are from females, or from patients who had physical comorbidities or a history of mental disorders in the past, he added.
As per experts, a significant proportion of patients in India who survived acute Covid-19 in the last three years are now suffering from some type of mental disorder, with depression and anxiety being the most common.
Dr Vikas Gaur said,
In my recent research among people from the general population who suffered from Covid in the last two to three years, about 50 per cent of them are now suffering from mental symptoms of some kind such as depression or anxiety. About 26 per cent of people who were ill with Covid are now suffering from sleep disorders and an equal number from anger-related issues. Interestingly, there is also a substantial rise in the onset of new cases of psychosis, a trend not seen earlier.
People who suffered from Covid-19 are now seeking medical help for cognitive problems related to memory and concentration, which was not seen in the pre-Covid times, said experts.
Dr Vikas Gaur said,
Elderly people above the age of 60 years are especially affected. About 50% of them are now reporting symptoms of significant anxiety, compared to only 2-3% before the pandemic.
“As reported by the WHO in 2022 there has been a 25 per cent surge in cases of Depressive Disorder and Anxiety Disorders. Patients continue to seek intervention for these and other conditions”, said Dr Kamna Chibber, Fortis Hospital, Gurugram.
In 2019, one in every eight people, or 970 million people around the world, were living with a mental disorder, with anxiety and depressive disorders the most common, according to WHO. In 2020, the number of people living with anxiety and depressive disorders rose significantly because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Most people with mental disorders do not have access to effective care.
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