Almost Half of Coronavirus Sufferers Report Depression

Summary: Almost 50% of people diagnosed with coronavirus report symptoms of depression following their diagnosis.

Source: Anglia Ruskin University

Almost half of people testing positive for coronavirus have reported symptoms of depression, according to a new study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

Researchers from Bangladesh, the United States and Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) in the UK carried out a cross-sectional survey of more than 1,000 Bangladeshi adult coronavirus patients over the course of one month.

A total of 48% of respondents were categorized as having moderate to severe depression, with a higher prevalence in those with persistent symptoms, low family income and poor health status.

This shows a depressed looking man
Almost half of people testing positive for coronavirus have reported symptoms of depression. Image is in the public domain

A fifth of those surveyed reported having persistent COVID-19 symptoms, the most common of these being diarrhea and fatigue. Around a quarter of patients had attempted to self-medicate their symptoms with over-the-counter medicines, rather than contact health services.

Co-author Professor Shahina Pardhan, Director of Anglia Ruskin University’s Vision and Eye Research Institute, said: “Our study found a high number of respondents suffering depression alongside their COVID-19 symptoms, particularly those who were more vulnerable. We know that the World Health Organisation has reported that mental health services across the world have been disrupted by the pandemic, and this study shows the pressing need for these services among those testing positive for the virus.”

About this COVID-19 and depression research news

Source: Anglia Ruskin University
Contact: Press Office – Anglia Ruskin University
Image: The image is in the public domain

Original Research: Open access.
Treatment, Persistent Symptoms, and Depression in People Infected with COVID-19 in Bangladesh” by Md. Saiful Islam et al. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health


Treatment, Persistent Symptoms, and Depression in People Infected with COVID-19 in Bangladesh

Background: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has affected people’s lives globally. While important research has been conducted, much remains to be known. In Bangladesh, initial treatment (self-administered, hospitalized), persistent COVID-19 symptoms (“long COVID-19”), and whether COVID-19 leads to changes in mental state, such as depressive symptoms, of people are not known. This study aimed to examine treatment, persistent symptoms, and depression in people who had been infected with COVID-19 in Bangladesh. 

Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted on 1002 individuals infected with COVID-19 (60% male; mean age = 34.7 ± 13.9; age range = 18–81 years), with data taken over a one-month period (11 September 2020 to 13 October 2020). A self-reported online questionnaire was used to collect data on socio-demographics, lifestyle, COVID-19 symptoms (during and beyond COVID-19), medication (over-the-counter or doctor-prescribed), and depression (assessed using the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9)). 

Results: Twenty-four percent of participants self-medicated with over-the-counter medicine when they were first diagnosed with COVID-19. Self-medication was higher among female vs. male respondents (29.6% vs. 20.2%, respectively, p = 0.002). A minority (20%) reported that they experienced persistent COVID-like symptoms after recovering from COVID-19. The most reported persistent symptoms were diarrhea (12.7%) and fatigue (11.5%). Forty-eight percent of participants were categorized as having moderate to severe depression. Based on multivariate regression analysis, depression during COVID-19 was positively associated with lower family income, poor health status, sleep disturbance, lack of physical activity, hypertension, asthma/respiratory problems, fear of COVID-19 re-infection, and persistent COVID-19 symptoms. 

Conclusions: The findings suggest a need for appropriate interventions for COVID-19 patients to promote physical and mental wellbeing.

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