Anxiety, Depression, Insomnia, and Trauma-related Symptoms following COVID-19 Infection at Long-term Follow-up
Evan J.Kyzar, Lawrence J.Purpura, JayeshShah, Anyelina Cantos, Anna S.Nordvig, Michael T.Yin
A developing finding from the novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is the burden of neuropsychiatric symptoms seen in COVID-19 survivors. While studies have shown clinically significant rates of depression, anxiety, insomnia, and trauma-related symptoms such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after COVID-19, little is known about how these symptoms evolve over time. Here, we report findings from a cohort study of 52 participants recruited from the greater New York City area following acute COVID-19 infection. Participants completed the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) for depressive symptoms, the Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7 (GAD-7) for anxiety-related symptoms, the Insomnia Severity Scale (ISS) for sleep-related symptoms, and the PTSD Checklist-Civilian version (PCL-C) for trauma-related symptoms both at baseline and at long-term (24–60 weeks post-infection) follow-up. We found a high degree of correlation between psychiatric symptom scales within participants. More participants met established cutoffs for clinically significant insomnia and post-traumatic stress at follow-up compared to baseline. Symptom scales for depression, insomnia, and PTSD were increased at long-term follow-up, with only increased PCL-C scores surviving correction for multiple comparisons (Z = 2.92, W = 434, p = 0.004). Our results present evidence from a small cohort that neuropsychiatric symptoms, particularly those related to PTSD, may worsen over time in COVID-19 survivors. Future studies should continue to investigate these questions in broader populations, while additionally exploring the potential biological and sociological mechanisms that may contribute to neuropsychiatric pathology after COVID-19 infection.