PTSD Affects Thirty-Percent Of COVID-19 Survivors: JAMA Stud
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Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) affects persons who have encountered a traumatic event. Previous coronavirus epidemics were associated with PTSD diagnoses in post-illness stages. Researchers at Fondazione Policlinico Universitario, Italy aimed at filling this gap by studying a group of patients with COVID-19.

A total of 381 consecutive patients who presented to the emergency department with SARS-CoV-2 and recovered from COVID-19 infection were referred for a post-recovery health check to post-acute care service. Patients were offered a comprehensive and interdisciplinary medical and psychiatric assessment.

Trained psychiatrists diagnosed PTSD using the criterion-standard Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale for DSM-5 (CAPS-5), reaching a Cohen interrater reliability of 0.82. To meet PTSD criteria, in addition to traumatic event exposure (criterion A), patients must have had at least 1 DSM-5 criterion B and C symptom and at least 2 criterion D and E symptoms. Criteria F and G must have been met as well.

During acute COVID-19 illness, most patients were hospitalized. PTSD was found in 115 participants. Patients with PTSD were more frequently women, reported higher rates of history of psychiatric disorders and delirium or agitation during acute illness, and presented with more persistent medical symptoms in the post-illness stage.

This cross-sectional study found a PTSD prevalence of 30.2% after acute COVID-19 infection, which is in line with findings in survivors of previous coronavirus illnesses compared with findings reported after other types of collective traumatic events. Associated characteristics were female sex, history of psychiatric disorders, and delirium or agitation during acute illness.

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