Linking Age, COVID-19 & First Episodes Psychosis

Research Paper Title

Impact of the first Covid-19 pandemic wave on first episode psychosis in Milan, Italy.

Background

The ongoing Corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic appears to increase risk for mental illness, either directly due to inflammation caused by the virus or indirectly due to related psychosocial stress, resulting in the development of both anxious-depressive and psychotic symptoms.

The purpose of the present study was to assess the frequency and characteristics of all patients with First Episodes Psychosis (FEP) without COVID-19 infection hospitalised in the first four months since lockdown in Milan.

Methods

The researchers recruited sixty-two patients hospitalised between 08 March to 08 July 2020 versus those first hospitalised in the same period in 2019.

The two subgroups were compared for sociodemographic variables and clinical characteristics of the episodes.

Results

Patients with FEP in 2020 were significantly older than patients with FEP in 2021, and presented with significantly less substances abuse.

Interestingly, patients presenting with FEP in 2020 were significantly older than patients with FEP in 2019.

Conclusions

These data are compatible with the greater vulnerability to stressful factors during the pandemic, as well as with the greater concern regarding a possible COVID-19 infection producing brain damage causing the FEP.

Reference

Esposito, C.M., D’Agostino, A., Osso, B.D., Fiorentini, A., Prunas, C., Callari, A., Oldani, L., Fontana, E., Gargano, G., Viscardi, B., Giordano, B., D’Angelo, S., Widenmann, F., Macellaro, M., Giorgetti, F., Turtulici, N., Gambini, O. & Brambilla, P. (2021) Impact of the first Covid-19 pandemic wave on first episode psychosis in Milan, Italy. Psychiatry Research. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2021.113802. Online ahead of print.

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