The Pandemic’s Dramatic Impact on Long-Term Mental Health

Including revealing yet more failings in current care and services

A February 2022 article in Medpage Today covered the startling impact on mental health conditions resulting from the COVID epidemic.

A study in the British Medical Journal has found mental health-related drug prescriptions are up by a shocking 86%. Of those who overcame COVID-19 infection with or without hospitalization, there is a 60% increased risk for having any new mental health diagnosis or a new mental health-related drug prescription. The disorders that have developed are predominantly anxiety disorders (generalized anxiety disorder, mixed anxiety disorder, and panic disorder) and depressive disorders single episode and recurrent major depressive disorder as well as suicidal ideation.

“The findings suggest that people who survive the acute phase of Covid-19 are at increased risk of an array of incident mental health disorders. Tackling mental health disorders among survivors of Covid-19 should be a priority,” said the study’s authors.

The study also showed persistent effects for the first 12 months after infection. While the worst of the pandemic might be behind us in terms of mortality and social restrictions, we may be just beginning to see its aftermath in terms of a huge increase in serious mental health consequences. An accompanying editorial in the British Medical Journal pointed out that in the UK there is no effective response to the devastating disruption brought about on the lives of people with existing and new serious mental illnesses.

“Taken together, the findings suggest important risks of mental health disorders among people who survive the acute phase of covid-19.” The study concludes.

It is perhaps reasonable to assume that the same findings of this British study will also be found in the US, including the realization that conventional mental healthcare and services offer little to no effective response.

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