In a new study, researchers found that more than half of individuals with prior COVID-19 illness have met the criteria for symptoms of major depressive disorder.
The research was conducted by a team from Massachusetts General Hospital.
In the study, the team examined whether COVID-19 symptoms are linked to the probability of subsequent depressive symptoms.
Data were included for 3,904 individuals who reported prior COVID-19 illness and were surveyed regarding specific symptoms and overall perceived severity of illness between June 2020 and January 2021, at about 4.2 months since initial symptoms.
The people also completed the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 for symptoms of depression.
The researchers found that 52.4% of the participants met the criteria for symptoms of major depressive disorder.
The presence of headache was linked to an increased probability of moderate or greater depression symptoms, as was greater overall severity.
Compared with men, women were less likely to have symptoms, and with increasing age, there was a decrease seen in the likelihood of symptoms.
These results add to a growing body of evidence suggesting the importance of considering potential neuropsychiatric sequelae of COVID-19 infection.
Our results also suggest the importance of considering strategies that might mitigate the elevated risk of depressive symptoms following acute infection.
One author of the study is Roy H. Perlis, M.D. The study is published in JAMA Network Open.