Covid: Sense of loss of control exacerbated mental illnesses

In this staged photo a psychiatrist and patient discuss issues © Keystone / Christian Beutler

Two-thirds of mentally ill women and half of mentally ill men reported worsening symptoms during the first wave of Covid-19, according to a global study with the participation of the University of Zurich.

This content was published on December 24, 2020 - 12:11

The feeling of loss of control during the pandemic was a particular burden for the patients. They were also badly affected by the lack of social interaction and dissatisfaction with the government’s coronavirus measures, wrote researchers in the journal Frontiers in PsychiatryExternal link.

In spring an international team led by Ali Jawaid, who worked at the University of Zurich and now conducts research at the Polish Braincity Institute, conducted an online survey of 2,734 patients with existing mental illnesses from 12 countries.

In Switzerland half of the study participants reported worsening symptoms. Canada had the highest number of respondents at 80%, followed by Pakistan (72%) and the United States (68%). Turkey had the lowest proportion among the countries studied, at 29%.

The researchers also identified behaviours that had a positive clinical impact. These include talking about one’s worries with people to whom one is close, having a realistic view of the pandemic, and using social media “moderately”.

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