Doctors and researchers find it difficult to conduct research if patients are isolated and unable to receive support due to the stress of prolonged isolation and the debilitating condition caused by the virus itself. . As a result, doctors and researchers use telemedicine technology more often to communicate remotely with patients.
With appropriate hospital equipment, psychiatric and psychological examinations can be conducted without physical presence. Such measures make it possible for a physician to provide assistance without entering the ‘red zone’, in a way that is comfortable for both the physician and the patient.
The study involved 119 hospitalized patients with a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis who completed four questionnaires on depression, anxiety, fatigue, and sleep disturbances. Patients who scored higher than average on the questionnaire results also underwent psychiatric interviews.
The survey found high levels of mood disturbances and sleep disturbances among study participants. In total, 28% of respondents reported a decline in mood, 27% experienced disruptions in sleep quality, and 73% experienced fatigue. Higher levels of fatigue increase the risk of anxiety and depression. Likewise, increased anxiety and decreased mood also affect overall vitality.
Doctors often assume that patients’ rapid loss of strength is an organic consequence of infection, inability to worry and mood disturbances that can be masked by infectious disease. Such an approach can lead to a prolonged debilitating episode during post-disease recovery, despite favorable physiological parameters. The results also showed that increased anxiety and depression had an effect on the quality of sleep.
Ainur Ragimova is a Research Fellow at the HSE . Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience
‘While the relationship between mood and sleep disturbance is intuitive, it is important to examine them carefully and separately, especially in post-COVID patients. Curiously, this aspect is often overlooked during the clinical examination of patients with COVID-19. Their sleep problems are often attributed to physiological disturbances as a result of intensive care hospitalization and the effects of prolonged inactivity, but not to mood disturbances. Our data again emphasize that when patients complain of sleep problems, it is important to check their mental status both during their illness and after the isolation period is over. ‘
Foreign studies have looked at the high prevalence of mood and sleep disorders in coronavirus patients during current and previous outbreaks. For example, according to Italian studies, anxiety levels have increased from 5% to 36% and sleep disturbances from 27.6% to 51.2% during the current epidemic.
The resulting data support theories about the relationship between sleep disturbances, mood, and fatigue. One of these aspects is often overlooked in patient examinations. For example, when a patient complains of a mood disorder, the physician may not ask if the patient has a sleep disorder, and vice versa.
Treating mood disturbances, increased anxiety and impaired sleep quality in COVID-19 patients during illness and recovery is not easy. First of all, the authors note, prescribed drugs must be consistent with physiological indicators and test results (function of the lungs, liver, kidneys and cardiovascular system) and need to be checked for cross-drug interactions. main treatment.
The authors recommend prescribing low doses of non-benzodiazepine anxiolytics (benzodiazepine tranquilizers may adversely affect impaired respiratory systems) and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. The prescribed treatment must be monitored by a physician and the dosages prescribed must be carefully checked and titrated.
“The current pandemic has not only changed the world socially, but also influenced the pattern of mental illness in the population,” commented Ainur Ragimova. ‘We are now seeing an increase in neuropsychiatric disorders of varying severity. The results of this open study indicate that COVID-19 has a significant effect on the development of depressive symptoms and sleep disturbances,’ she said.