Psychiatric and neuropsychiatric presentations associated wi
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Before the COVID-19 pandemic, coronaviruses caused two noteworthy outbreaks: severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), starting in 2002, and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), starting in 2012. This study aimed to assess the psychiatric and neuropsychiatric presentations of SARS, MERS, and COVID-19.

The researchers analyzed 65 peer-reviewed studies and seven preprint articles with data on acute and post-illness psychiatric and neuropsychiatric features of patients who had been hospitalized with COVID-19, as well as two other diseases caused by coronaviruses ― severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), in 2002–2004, and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), in 2012.

In patients acutely ill with severe COVID-19, available data suggest that 65% experience delirium, 69% have agitation after withdrawal of sedation, and 21% have altered consciousness.

In one study, 33% of patients had a dysexecutive syndrome at discharge, characterized by symptoms such as inattention, disorientation, or poorly organized movements in response to command. Currently, data are very limited regarding patients who have recovered from COVID-19, the investigators caution.

"The main findings are that signs suggestive of delirium are common in the acute stage of SARS, MERS, and COVID-19; there is evidence of depression, anxiety, fatigue, and post-traumatic stress disorder in the post-illness stage of previous coronavirus epidemics, but there are few data yet on COVID-19," the investigators write.

"To avoid a large-scale mental health crisis, we hope that people who have been hospitalized with COVID-19 will be offered support, and monitored after they recover to ensure they do not develop mental illnesses, and are able to access treatment if needed," said researchers.

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