Are People with mental health disorders at higher risk for severe covid-19?

 People with mental health disorders at higher risk for severe covid-19

Do People with mental health disorders at higher risk for severe covid-19?

Earlier this month, the CDC quietly added “mental health conditions” including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression to its list of people likely to urge severely ill from Coronavirus-19, in a move doctors say is caused by societal and possibly physiological factors.

“There are comorbidities that go in conjunction with severe mental illness, things like cigarette smoking, obesity, cardiovascular, respiratory illnesses, which can make someone susceptible to poor outcomes from Coronavirus-19,” said Dr Abigail Donovan, director of the primary Episode and Early Psychosis Program at Mass General Hospital. “But what this research also demonstrates is that the danger goes above and beyond those comorbidities.”

The research Donovan references, though she wasn't directly involved in, includes two recently published papers that explore this linkage around the world. Though the studies found no linkage between susceptibility of catching Coronovirus-19 and severe mental illness, hospitalization and death rates were “significantly greater” for those with pre-existing mood disorders than those without them, particularly for those with schizophrenia and manic depression.

The studies offered similar reasons for these findings. Much of the disparity could be attributed to “social determinants of health,” including economic insecurity and insufficient access to health care.” If people with mental illness sleep in a congregate setting, for instance, they might face more difficulty social distancing, resulting in increased transmissibility.

As Donovan mentioned, those with psychological state disorders can also be more likely to smoke cigarettes or have substance use disorders, further increasing their risk for severe Coronovirus-19.

Dr Joseph Stoklosa, clinical director of the psychotic disorders division at McLean Hospital, said in an email that these studies support what he and other clinicians have seen at work. He added that much of the disparity is caused by stigma.

“Those who carry mental state diagnoses have less access to stress and sometimes receive inadequate care resulting in worse medical outcomes, worse quality of life, and worse anticipation,” he said.

He called the results “unfortunately unsurprising,” and advocated for accounting for this risk in future Coronovirus-19 treatment access planning, prevention and policy efforts.

Another theory why bipolar disorder and schizophrenia patients could suffer from high Coronovirus-19 hospitalization and mortality rates is because of “the particular immunological profile of these patients,” one study noted. The authors suspect that these patients could have system deficiencies, worsening their outcomes, but Donovan called this still a “question mark,” citing the newness of that field of research. Some psychiatric medications could also play a task, she added.

Donovan said this research underscores the importance of getting vaccinated against Coronovirus-19 for everybody, except for the population she works with especially. “If they are on the fence,” she said, “maybe this is often something that pushes them over the fence to getting their jab or to getting their booster.”



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