COVID-19 linked to PTSD, study shows

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Illness, grief, job loss, social isolation, uncertainty, and other pandemic-driven stressors have contributed to an increase in psychological distress on an unusually wide scale.

In a new study from Yale, researchers reviewed the prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the general public.

They found 36 studies assessing PTSD symptoms in the general population, and the occurrence of these symptoms ranged from 5% to 55% of those being studied, averaging 26% across the studies.

The American Psychiatric Association defines PTSD as a disorder in which someone experiences “intense, disturbing thoughts and feelings” for long periods following a traumatic event.

These findings have led the authors to question whether the pandemic can be considered as a single entity when it can affect people in so many different ways over such a long period of time, depending on their jobs, exposure to the disease, preexisting stressors and psychopathology, and many other factors.

And, as important, whether other existing classifications adequately address the health needs of individuals who experience stress not as a single event but as an enduring experience with varying levels of severity or shock.

The researchers suggest that the next research step should be to ensure that PTSD criteria are met when evaluating PTSD or consider another, alternative way of classifying perceived stress that is related to a long, ongoing adverse experience.

In addition, they suggest researchers should gather data on preexisting mental health disorders and prior exposure to traumatic events to better determine the source of more recent symptoms.

If you care about COVID, please read studies about when is it OK to take a rapid antigen test,

and how COVID-19 harms the brain.

For more information about Covid, please see recent studies about health problem linked to lower COVID-19 infection risk, and results showing that BMI number linked to risks of death and ICU stay in COVID-19.

The study is published in the journal Chronic Stress. One author of the study is Dr. Mathilde Husky.

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