The COVID-19 pandemic has not only affected the physical health of millions of Americans, but it’s also taken a toll on the country’s mental health.
In a new study from Intermountain Healthcare, researchers found that depression remained common during the pandemic and worsened for some patients leading to increased visits to the emergency department for the treatment of anxiety and chest pain.
They found that nearly 40% of patients studied reported new or continuing symptoms of depression during the first year of the pandemic.
They say the study of 4,633 patients is further evidence of the pandemic’s negative impact on people’s mental health and physical well-being has been significant.
In the study, researchers examined 4,633 Intermountain Healthcare patients who completed a depression screening before and during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Patients were separated into two groups: those with no depression/no longer depressed, and those who remained depressed/became depressed.
The team found that among depressed patients, depression screening scores were higher during the pandemic than before it. Depression was also linked to increased emergency department visits for anxiety.
They found that the odds of visiting an emergency room for anxiety was 2.8 greater for people with depression than those without, and 1.8 greater for anxiety with chest pains compared to non-depressed patients.
The team said it is important to identify people with depression because “we know that it’s a strong risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
If people are becoming more depressed because of the pandemic, in a few years, doctors could see a higher incidence of heart disease.
If you care about depression, please read studies about newer drugs for depression may increase death risk and findings of decrease in exercise strongly linked to higher depression risk.
For more information about depression and your health, please see recent studies about this depression drug could also prevent heart disease and results showing that anxiety, depression linked to this common bowel disease.
The study was presented at the American Heart Association’s virtual 2021 Scientific Session. One author of the study is Heidi T. May, Ph.D.
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