Depression and anxiety during COVID-19

COVID-19 mental disorders collaborators conclude that, throughout 2020, the pandemic has led to a 27.6% increase in cases of major depressive disorders and a 25.6% increase in cases of anxiety disorders worldwide .
1
COVID-19 Mental Disorder Collaborators
Global prevalence and burden of depressive and anxiety disorders in 204 countries and territories in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, we suggest that these prevalence estimates are likely to be significantly inflated. Decades of trauma research have shown that, for most people, negative life events such as bereavement or exposure to disaster are typically followed by resilience (minimal effect on symptoms of anxiety or depression, or both) or recovery (initial short-term increase in symptoms of anxiety or depression, or both, followed by recovery).

2
Psychological adjustment during the global COVID-19 outbreak: a resilience perspective.

This model matches what large-scale studies and reviews

3
  • Robinson E
  • Sutin AR
  • Daly M
  • Jones A.
A systematic review and meta-analysis of longitudinal cohort studies comparing mental health before and during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

,

4
Psychological distress and adaptation to the COVID-19 crisis in the United States.

,

5
  • Fancourt D
  • Foot-to-foot A
  • Bu F
Trajectories of anxiety and depressive symptoms during enforced isolation due to COVID-19 in England: a longitudinal observational study.

have found in the context of COVID-19. In a meta-analysis of longitudinal cohort studies,

3
  • Robinson E
  • Sutin AR
  • Daly M
  • Jones A.
A systematic review and meta-analysis of longitudinal cohort studies comparing mental health before and during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

there was an acute increase in mental health symptoms early in the pandemic. Symptoms decreased significantly over time and were indistinguishable from pre-pandemic symptom patterns within months of the outbreak.

Psychological adaptation matters in the context of the study of collaborators,
1
COVID-19 Mental Disorder Collaborators
Global prevalence and burden of depressive and anxiety disorders in 204 countries and territories in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

because the authors’ estimates of the impact of COVID-19 are based on studies conducted primarily during the very early phase of the pandemic (data collection for 39 of the 48 studies occurred primarily between March and May 2020 ; Annex). At this time, symptoms of anxiety or depression were most severe and likely represented an acute reaction to an unexpected and unknown emerging crisis. The authors then extrapolated from these immediate reactions to infer how SARS-CoV-2 infection rates and human mobility affected mental health throughout 2020. However, ignoring of the transient nature of changes in mental health symptoms during the pandemic and the potentially decreasing relationship between COVID-19 impact indicators and anxiety or depression throughout 2020 means that prevalence estimates could be grossly overestimated in the study of collaborators.

We declare no competing interests.

Additional material

The references

  1. 1.
    • COVID-19 Mental Disorder Collaborators

    Global prevalence and burden of depressive and anxiety disorders in 204 countries and territories in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Lancet. 2021; 398: 1700-1712

  2. 2.

    Psychological adjustment during the global COVID-19 outbreak: a resilience perspective.

    Psychological trauma. 2020; 12: S51-S54

  3. 3.
    • Robinson E
    • Sutin AR
    • Daly M
    • Jones A.

    A systematic review and meta-analysis of longitudinal cohort studies comparing mental health before and during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

    Affect disorder J. 2022; 296: 567-576

  4. 4.

    Psychological distress and adaptation to the COVID-19 crisis in the United States.

    J Psychiatr Res. 2021; 136: 603-609

  5. 5.
    • Fancourt D
    • Foot-to-foot A
    • Bu F

    Trajectories of anxiety and depressive symptoms during enforced isolation due to COVID-19 in England: a longitudinal observational study.

    Lancet Psychiatry. 2021; 8: 141-149

Related articles

  • Global prevalence and burden of depressive and anxiety disorders in 204 countries and territories in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic
    • This pandemic has created an increased urgency to strengthen mental health systems in most countries. Mitigation strategies could incorporate ways to promote mental well-being and target the determinants of poor mental health and interventions to treat people with mental disorders. Taking no action to address the burden of major depressive disorder and anxiety disorders should not be an option.

    • Full Text

    • PDF

    Free access

  • Depression and Anxiety During COVID-19 – Authors Response
    • We thank Michael Daly and Eric Robinson for their comments on our article.1 We share Daly and Robinson’s caution against generalizing prevalence estimates of mental disorders only from the very early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our methods have taken this timing into account in several ways. Each estimate that informed our model had corresponding values ​​of pandemic impact (estimates of human mobility and SARS-CoV-2 infection rate) for the time period in which the survey was conducted. achieved, whether sooner or later during the pandemic.

    • Full Text

    • PDF

Comments are closed.