Comorbidity of long COVID and psychiatric disorders after a hospitalisation for COVID-19: a cross-sectional study

Objectives

Long COVID is a major public health issue. Whether long COVID is comorbid with psychiatric disorders remains unclear. Here, we investigate the association between long COVID, psychiatric symptoms and psychiatric disorders.

Design

Cross-sectional.

Settings

Bicêtre Hospital, France, secondary care.

Participants

One hundred seventy-seven patients admitted in intensive care unit during acute phase and/or reporting long COVID complaints were assessed 4 months after hospitalisation for an acute COVID.

Main outcome measures

Eight long COVID complaints were investigated: fatigue, respiratory and cognitive complaints, muscle weakness, pain, headache, paraesthesia and anosmia. The number of complaints, the presence/absence of each COVID-19 complaint as well as lung CT scan abnormalities and objective cognitive impairment) were considered. Self-reported psychiatric symptoms were assessed with questionnaires. Experienced psychiatrists assessed Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition-based diagnoses of psychiatric disorders.

Results

One hundred and fifteen (65%) patients had at least one long COVID complaint. The number of long COVID complaints was associated with psychiatric symptoms. The number of long COVID complaints was higher in patients with psychiatric disorders (mean (m) (SD)=2.47 (1.30), p<0.05), new-onset psychiatric disorders (m (SD)=2.41 (1.32), p<0.05) and significant suicide risk (m (SD)=2.67 (1.32), p<0.05) than in patients without any psychiatric disorder (m (SD)=1.43 (1.48)). Respiratory complaints were associated with a higher risk of psychiatric disorder and new-onset psychiatric disorder, and cognitive complaints were associated with a higher risk of psychiatric disorder.

Conclusions

Long COVID is associated with psychiatric disorders, new-onset psychiatric disorders and suicide risk. Psychiatric disorders and suicide risk should be systematically assessed in patients with long COVID.

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