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Post-traumatic stress disorder often follows serious COVID-19

Italian doctors who interviewed COVID-19 survivors up to four months after their diagnosis found nearly one in three had post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Their study included 381 adult survivors, roughly 80% of whom had been hospitalized.

Aside from PTSD, seen in 30% of study participants, other psychiatric issues included depressive episodes (diagnosed in 17%) and generalized anxiety disorders (7%), according to a report published on Thursday in JAMA Psychiatry.

Patients with PTSD were more likely to be female, to have been delirious or agitated while hospitalized, and to be suffering from persistent COVID-19 symptoms.

The researchers point out that they only studied patients from a single hospital and did not compare them to patients with other serious illnesses, so they cannot say whether PTSD is more common after COVID-19.

They note, however, that the prevalence of PTSD in their patients “is in line with findings … reported after other types of collective traumatic events.”

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