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Half of COVID-19 Survivors Report Moderate to Severe Depression

March 02, 2021

Nearly half of people who had recovered from acute COVID-19 reported moderate to severe depressive symptoms, researchers found in a study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

The cross-sectional study included 1002 adults in Bangladesh who had previously tested positive for COVID-19. Among the group, 21% had been hospitalized and 20% reported persistent and ongoing symptoms such as diarrhea and fatigue. Researchers from Bangladesh, the United States, and the United Kingdom used an online questionnaire to collect data on participants’ depressive symptoms, which were later assessed using the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9), and a variety of other factors. 

Some 48% of participants reported symptoms categorized by researchers as moderate to severe depression, according to the study. An additional 22% were classified has having mild depression.

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Depression during COVID-19 was associated with lower family income, poor health status, sleep disturbances, lack of physical activity during the pandemic, hypertension, asthma or respiratory problems, fear of COVID-19 reinfection, and persistent COVID-19 symptoms.

“Our study found a high number of respondents suffering depression alongside their COVID-19 symptoms, particularly those who were more vulnerable,” said study coauthor Shahina Pardhan, PhD, a professor at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, England.

“We know that the World Health Organization 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.”

—Jolynn Tumolo 

References

Islam MS, Ferdous MZ, Islam US, Mosaddek ASM, Potenza MN, Pardhan S. Treatment, persistent symptoms, and depression in people infected with COVID-19 in Bangladesh. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021;18(4):1453.

Almost half of virus sufferers report depression [press release]. Cambridge, England: Anglia Ruskin University; February 15, 2021. 

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