The duration of psychiatric symptoms lasted 4-6 months in many, highlighting the need to include mental health as part of the long Covid.
The hospital evaluated the reports of 17,676 patients admitted between January and August 20. Of the total admissions, 1,585 patients were referred for psychiatric evaluation by attending physicians. 1,233 (7%) were diagnosed with a mental health problem that did not exist previously. Additionally, 219 patients had pre-existing mental health issues. Six people have succumbed to the Covid and Mental Illness Cohort.
Depression was the most common psychiatric disorder in almost 24% of 1233 patients. Anxiety disorder was the second most important detected in 20% of patients, while adjustment disorder and delirium were found in 16% and 14% respectively. Patients who cried incessantly, those who had difficulty sleeping, and those who showed signs of anxiety and restlessness were referred for psychiatric evaluation.
“Just being diagnosed with a new life-threatening illness has triggered stress and anxiety in many people. This, combined with the uncertainty of its outcome, the risk of family members becoming infected, all act as contributing factors, ”said psychiatrist Dr Rashmi Joshi, associated with SevenHills since last October. Many developed symptoms soon after entering the hospital, while others developed symptoms over the days.
Of the 1233, 924 were relieved of symptoms after 3-4 months of follow-up and 109 before discharge. The hospital still has 200 patients coming for follow-ups in post-Covid OPDs. “This analysis has clearly shown that the long Covid can also be in terms of mental health,” said Dr Balkrishna Adsul, Dean of SevenHills, adding that diagnosing and treating them early alongside Covid has helped many recover faster. .
In the case of an 18-year-old boy, doctors were baffled by his loss of speech after being suspected of Covid. After evaluation by ENT and neuro experts, the case was referred to the psychiatrist, who classified it as conversion disorder. “It is a condition where one has physical symptoms of a health problem but no disease to explain it,” Dr Joshi said. The boy spoke three days later after counseling sessions. An elderly person, who had become hyper energetic and barely slept, was detected with bipolar disorder mania. With treatment, his condition improved before his discharge. Dr Alka Subramanium, associate professor of psychiatry at Nair Hospital, said the isolation and lockdown streak unmasks mental health disorders. “Almost all psychiatric conditions have a strong genetic basis and manifest themselves in a vulnerable situation. This could be a reason for the increase in mental health issues during Covid, ”she said.