Psychological distress long COVID-19 | News – HSPH News

by | Sep 7, 2022 | COVID-19

For immediate release: September 7, 2022
Boston, MA – Psychological distress, including depression, anxiety, worry, perceived stress, and loneliness, before COVID-19 infection was associated with an increased risk of long COVID, according to researchers at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The increased risk was independent of smoking, asthma, and other health behaviors or physical health conditions.
“We were surprised by how strongly psychological distress before a COVID-19 infection was associated with an increased risk of long COVID,” said Siwen Wang, a researcher in the Department of Nutrition at Harvard Chan School who led the study. “Distress was more strongly associated with developing long COVID than physical health risk factors such as obesity, asthma, and hypertension.”
The study was published online in JAMA Psychiatry on September 7, 2022.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, about 20% of American adults who have had COVID-19 have developed long COVID, which is defined as experiencing COVID-19-related symptoms, such as fatigue, brain fog, or respiratory, heart, neurological, or digestive symptoms, for longer than four weeks after infection. Severe COVID-19 illness increases the risk of long COVID, although people with milder COVID-19 cases can also develop long COVID. Symptoms, which can be debilitating, could last months or years, and little is known about which traits are linked to developing long COVID.
Mental health is known to affect the outcomes of some diseases. Depression and other mental illnesses have been associated with greater risk of more severe COVID-19 including the risk of hospitalization, which is a risk factor for long COVID. In other acute respiratory tract infections, such as influenza or common cold, mental health conditions are associated with greater severity and longer duration of symptoms. Previous studies have also suggested that distress is associated with chronic symptoms following Lyme dis …

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