HealthDay News — Veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other psychiatric disorders have a heightened risk for severe adverse outcomes with COVID-19, according to a study published online Nov. 22 in Translational Psychiatry.
Kristen Nishimi, Ph.D., from the University of California in San Francisco, and colleagues used data from 228,367 U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs patients who tested positive for COVID-19 between February 2020 and August 2021 (89.5 percent male; mean age, 60.6 years).
The researchers found that 25.6 percent of patients had PTSD, while 28.2 percent had a psychiatric disorder other than PTSD. Overall, 15 percent of patients were hospitalized, and 6 percent died in the 60 days following a positive COVID-19 test. There was an increased risk observed for both hospitalization (adjusted relative risk, 1.18) and death (adjusted relative risk, 1.13) among patients with PTSD versus those with no psychiatric disorders, after adjusting for sociodemographic factors. When models were further adjusted for medical comorbidities and smoking, estimates remained significant. There was also an increased risk for adverse COVID-19 outcomes among patients with other psychiatric disorders, with larger effect sizes than PTSD seen in older (aged 65 years and older), but not younger, patients.
“Individuals with PTSD should also be considered at higher risk for severe COVID-19 outcomes, and potentially prioritized for vaccination, screening, and early treatment intervention for COVID-19,” the authors write.