Psychological conditions make Covid-19 breakouts more likely

People who have been diagnosed A new study showed that psychological states were more likely to contract Covid-19 after full vaccination.

Posted this month in JAMA Open Network, The study used the health records of more than 260,000 people from the US Department of Veterans Affairs.

The researchers found that the relationship was much stronger in people 65 and older. This may be the result of decades of conflict — from having a psychological condition and conditions that can lead to psychiatric conditions — that hits the immune system.

“There is a lot of evidence to suggest that chronic stress, traumatic stress, and psychiatric conditions can actually accelerate the aging of cells,” O’Donovan, MD, associate professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco and one of the study authors, 😊 inverse. “It puts you at risk of biologically appearing older, for your immune system, in particular, to work like the immune system of someone older than you, and that certainly shows up in patients with psychiatric disorders.”

what’s new – The researchers found that people with any psychiatric diagnosis were 3.7 percent more likely to develop an unprecedented infection with the Covid-19 virus. This was after the researchers adjusted the calculations to take into account the relevant factors most common to VA patients.

Among the types of diagnosis, non-alcoholic drug use issues had the greatest association with advanced cases, increasing risk by 16 percent. This was no surprise, O’Donovan says. Addiction increases people’s risk-taking behaviors, and the pandemic has created an environment in which everything from hugging to dining in a restaurant has been a risky behavior.

The pandemic has created a new minefield for daily risk assessment.Isaac Lawrence/AFP/Getty Images

Next was adjustment disorders – disorders in which a person feels unusual stress or sadness in response to a life event, associated with a 13 percent increased risk, followed by anxiety (eight percent), bipolar disorder (seven percent) and substance use disorder Alcohol (five percent), depression (five percent), and post-traumatic stress disorder (three percent).

There was a stark difference when the results were divided between people aged 65 years or older. Overall, people over 65 who were diagnosed with mental illness were 5 percent more likely to contract Covid-19 infection than others of that age. The risk rose for each case, more than doubled for PTSD and increased sevenfold for people with a case of bipolar disorder.

For those younger than 65, the association with depression, PTSD, bipolar disorder, and alcohol use disorders was reduced to the point that it was not statistically significant.

People under the age of 65 had psychotic states – such as schizophrenia, which involves detachment from reality – less They are likely to catch Covid-19 after vaccination, which O’Donovan’s return to social isolation. This replicates an Israeli study on people with schizophrenia. They were less likely to contract Covid-19 in general. The authors of this study partially attributed these findings to social isolation as well.

But for those over 65, psychotic states were closely associated with infection risk, increasing risk by a whopping 26 percent.

The paper theorizes that “vulnerabilities associated with mental disorders may interact with vulnerabilities associated with older age to confer a higher risk of sudden infection.”

How did they do it? The researchers used the records of 263,697 fully vaccinated patients, 51 percent of whom had at least one psychiatric diagnosis. About 15 percent experienced a breakthrough infection.

Using data exclusively from the VA wasn’t ideal, O’Donovan says. This group does not represent the entire population of the United States. People who go to Virginia are more likely to be in lower socioeconomic status, have many medical conditions, and live in a rural area. They are also generally much older and almost all are men.

However, “The Department of Veterans Affairs did a very good job of quickly gathering and disseminating all of this information,” she says. Without this kind of real-time record keeping, she says, it would be very difficult to get that much information about a recent phenomenon (“Covid-19 hack” is a concept that didn’t exist 16 months ago).

And with so much data, researchers can make adjustments to reduce the influence of factors that would color the results.

Results ‘unlikely to be Covid-19-specific’

Another drawback: The VA generally classifies patients into two age groups: under-65 and over-65, ubiquitous in government records because 65 is the starting point for Social Security and Medicare. This means that it has been impossible to know when the increased risk of infection in people with psychiatric conditions actually begins.

“We would have known more if we had had 10-year arches,” O’Donovan says.

why does it matter – The study is another piece of research indicating that psychological conditions affect the immune system, a finding that may be important for more than an issue today.

“The results are unlikely to be specific to Covid-19, but they are likely to generalize to other infections,” O’Donovan says. “An obvious problem is the risk and prevention of influenza infection.”

These findings give reason to consider mental health when formulating responses to Covid-19 and other infectious disease outbreaks.

The researchers would like to know if the additional booster would help people with psychiatric conditions.NoorPhoto/NoorPhoto/Getty Images

“This study adds to the body of literature that tells us that patients with psychiatric disorders may be – and appear to be – a vulnerable population in this epidemic that may need targeted preventive efforts,” O’Donovan says. “We may need to focus on integrating Covid prevention into mental health care and also integrating mental health care into Covid prevention strategies because the two are very interrelated.”

What’s Next – O’Donovan would like to embark on a project studying the effectiveness of Covid-19 vaccines on people with psychiatric conditions, one that may indicate an additional need for boosters.

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