UT Southwestern Medical Center

Depression, anxiety may be side effects as nation grapples with COVID-19

15-Apr-2020 5:10 PM EDT, by UT Southwestern Medical Center

Newswise — DALLAS – April 15, 2020 – Millions of Americans are being impacted by the psychological fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic aftermath, and large numbers may experience emotional distress and be at increased risk of developing psychiatric disorders such as depression and anxiety, according to a new article published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine

The Perspective articleco-authored by Carol North, M.D., a UT Southwestern crisis psychiatrist who has studied survivors of disasters including the 9/11 terrorist attacks and Hurricane Katrina, calls on already stretched health care providers to monitor the psychosocial needs of their patients as well as themselves and fellow health care workers during this time.

"Almost everyone may experience some distress – some more than others,” says North, a member of UT Southwestern’s Peter O’Donnell Jr. Brain Institute who wrote the article with first author Betty Pfefferbaum, M.D., a psychiatrist at the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine. While conditions arising from a naturally occurring pandemic do not meet the criteria for trauma required to diagnose post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression and anxiety may result from this pandemic, according to the article, and some people may even become suicidal.​

Shortages of resources needed to treat patients, uncertain prognoses, and public health measures such as shelter-in-place orders – along with the resulting financial upheaval – are among the “major stressors that undoubtedly will contribute to widespread emotional distress and increased risk for psychiatric illness associated with COVID-19,” the article says.

Certain groups will be more highly affected, according to the paper. That includes people who contract the disease, those at heightened risk including the elderly and people living with underlying health conditions, and those with preexisting psychiatric or substance abuse problems.

Health care providers are also especially vulnerable to emotional distress during the pandemic, the paper continues, given their risk of exposure amid shortages of personal protective equipment, long work hours, and involvement in the “emotionally and ethically fraught” need to allocate scarce resources when treating patients.

A recent review of the effects on quarantined people and health care providers in earlier disease outbreaks found stress, depression, insomnia, fear, anger, and boredom, among other problems, the article says.

While not directly comparable, many who went through other catastrophic events such as 9/11 or 1995’s Oklahoma City bombings developed depression as well as PTSD, says North. After 9/11, 26 percent of the attack’s survivors developed a new episode of major depression, according to an earlier study she co-authored. But COVID-19 is new territory, she emphasizes. “We haven’t studied depression in pandemics.”

The pandemic is creating a multilayered disaster, North says.

“There is the fear of being exposed and getting sick and dying, as well as loss of the lives of friends and relatives. Then there are secondary effects – lost paychecks and the economic woes. Rates of suicide go up in populations when economic times get bad. People get stressed more in general when times are bad,” she says.

First responders and health care professionals should be trained to evaluate the psychosocial issues surrounding COVID-19, the report says, and health care systems need to pay attention to the stress level of their workers and alter assignments and schedules if needed.

Health care workers should ask patients about COVID-19-related stress factors, such as an infected family member and any depression or anxiety, and also check for vulnerabilities like a preexisting psychological condition. While some patients will need a referral for mental health care, others may benefit simply from support to improve their ability to cope.

Providers can offer suggestions for stress management. Because parents often underestimate their children’s distress, they should be encouraged to have open discussions to address their children’s reactions and concerns, the report adds. 

People in quarantine or sheltering at home should try to reach out to loved ones electronically, North says. “People are now communicating more with loved ones and friends than they did before this crisis. For example, I did a Zoom meeting with my siblings recently for the first time. It was very nice.”

Maintaining a schedule helps as well, she says: “Get up. Have breakfast. Get dressed.”

And avoid following the COVID-19 news if that adds to stress, North says.

“Most people are resilient. Most people don’t develop psychiatric illness after even horrible things, and most people who develop psychiatric illness can recover,” she says. “After 9/11, only a third of the people directly exposed developed PTSD (35 percent in her study).”

North holds the Nancy and Ray L. Hunt Chair in Crisis Psychiatry.

About UT Southwestern Medical Center

UT Southwestern, one of the premier academic medical centers in the nation, integrates pioneering biomedical research with exceptional clinical care and education. The institution’s faculty has received six Nobel Prizes, and includes 22 members of the National Academy of Sciences, 17 members of the National Academy of Medicine, and 14 Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigators. The full-time faculty of more than 2,500 is responsible for groundbreaking medical advances and is committed to translating science-driven research quickly to new clinical treatments. UT Southwestern physicians provide care in about 80 specialties to more than 105,000 hospitalized patients, nearly 370,000 emergency room cases, and oversee approximately 3 million outpatient visits a year.

SEE ORIGINAL STUDY




Filters close

Showing results

110 of 1992
Newswise: Invention by a Finnish start-up speeds up coronavirus testing
Released: 29-May-2020 6:25 AM EDT
Invention by a Finnish start-up speeds up coronavirus testing
Aalto University

An Aalto University spinoff company has come up with a way to use existing lab microscopes in a completely new and much more effective way with their innovation of nanocoated glass. While this is very relevant to covid19 research, it holds great promise for many other viruses and diseases

Newswise: Tourism: what’s our new normal?
Released: 29-May-2020 6:20 AM EDT
Tourism: what’s our new normal?
University of South Australia

After months of lockdown, it’s no surprise that people are itching to get out and about. But with ongoing debates about how and when to open Australia’s state and territory borders, it’s hard to know what to expect.

Newswise: Calibrated approach to AI and deep learning models could more reliably diagnose and treat disease
Released: 29-May-2020 6:05 AM EDT
Calibrated approach to AI and deep learning models could more reliably diagnose and treat disease
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

In a recent preprint (available through Cornell University’s open access website arXiv), a team led by a Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory computer scientist proposes a novel deep learning approach aimed at improving the reliability of classifier models designed for predicting disease types from diagnostic images, with an additional goal of enabling interpretability by a medical expert without sacrificing accuracy. The approach uses a concept called confidence calibration, which systematically adjusts the model’s predictions to match the human expert’s expectations in the real world.

Newswise: Researchers Develop Experimental Rapid COVID-19 Test Using Innovative Nanoparticle Technique
Released: 28-May-2020 6:35 PM EDT
Researchers Develop Experimental Rapid COVID-19 Test Using Innovative Nanoparticle Technique
University of Maryland Medical Center

Scientists from the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) developed an experimental diagnostic test for COVID-19 that can visually detect the presence of the virus in 10 minutes. It uses a simple assay containing plasmonic gold nanoparticles to detect a color change when the virus is present. The test does not require the use of any advanced laboratory techniques, such as those commonly used to amplify DNA, for analysis. The authors published their work last week in the American Chemical Society’s nanotechnology journal ACS Nano.

Released: 28-May-2020 6:05 PM EDT
Tackling airborne transmission of COVID-19 indoors
University of Surrey

Preventing airborne transmission of Covid-19 should be the next front of the battle against the virus, argue experts from the University of Surrey.

access_time Embargo lifts in 2 days
Embargo will expire: 1-Jun-2020 11:00 AM EDT Released to reporters: 28-May-2020 5:40 PM EDT

A reporter's PressPass is required to access this story until the embargo expires on 1-Jun-2020 11:00 AM EDT The Newswise PressPass gives verified journalists access to embargoed stories. Please log in to complete a presspass application. If you have not yet registered, please Register. When you fill out the registration form, please identify yourself as a reporter in order to advance to the presspass application form.

Released: 28-May-2020 5:10 PM EDT
Mental health outcomes among health care workers during COVID-19 pandemic in Italy
JAMA - Journal of the American Medical Association

Symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety and insomnia among health care workers in Italy during the COVID-19 pandemic are reported in this observational study.

Newswise: fimmu-11-01208-g001.jpg
Released: 28-May-2020 4:45 PM EDT
Genetics May Explain High COVID-19 Mortality in Italy, Inform Global Pandemic Response
Sbarro Health Research Organization (SHRO)

On March 11th 2020 the World Health Organization declared Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) a pandemic.

Released: 28-May-2020 3:55 PM EDT
Finding working capital is key to small businesses efforts as reopening accelerates
RAND Corporation

As small businesses reopen after a lengthy pandemic shutdown, one key challenge will be finding working capital to replenish inventories and pay employees until revenue returns to normal, according to a new RAND Corporation perspective based on interviews with a select group of small business owners.

Newswise: Leading Mindfully: COVID-19 and the Big Human Pivot, Part 3
Released: 28-May-2020 3:15 PM EDT
Leading Mindfully: COVID-19 and the Big Human Pivot, Part 3
University of Virginia Darden School of Business

If the COVID-19 crisis triggered health, economic, social and psychological changes that mean we will be living and working through destabilizing moments now and for the foreseeable future, then all the more reason now to adopt and practice essential skills of Leading Mindfully. How should we start thinking in new ways that better represent reality?


Showing results

110 of 1992

close
0.90783