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Reports of psychiatric morbidity associated with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection tend to be limited by geography and patients’ clinical status. Representative samples are needed to inform service planning and research.
To describe the psychiatric morbidity associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection (confirmed by real-time polymerase chain reaction) in referrals to a consultation-liaison psychiatry service in Qatar.
Retrospective review of 50 consecutive referrals.
Most patients were male. Median age was 39.5 years. Thirty-one patients were symptomatic (upper respiratory tract symptoms or pneumonia) for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and 19 were asymptomatic (no characteristic physical symptoms of COVID-19 infection). Seventeen patients (34%) had a past psychiatric history including eight with bipolar I disorder or psychosis, all of whom relapsed. Thirty patients (60%) had physical comorbidity. The principal psychiatric diagnoses made by the consultation-liaison team were delirium (n = 13), psychosis (n = 9), acute stress reaction (n = 8), anxiety disorder (n = 8), depression (n = 8) and mania (n = 8). Delirium was confined to the COVID-19 symptomatic group (the exception being one asymptomatic patient with concurrent physical illness). The other psychiatric diagnoses spanned the symptomatic and asymptomatic patients with COVID. One patient with COVID-19 pneumonia experienced an ischaemic stroke. Approximately half the patients with mania and psychosis had no past psychiatric history. Three patients self-harmed. The commonest psychiatric symptoms were sleep disturbance (70%), anxiety (64%), agitation (50%), depressed mood (42%) and irritability (36%).
A wide range of psychiatric morbidity is associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection and is seen in symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals. Cases of psychosis and mania represented relapses in people with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder and also new onset cases.
This chapter discusses a range of issues related to good clinical practice in psychopharmacology. It has been written to address the wide readership of care professionals who are involved in prescribing, monitoring and/or advising patients about psychiatric medication, which includes psychiatrists, pharmacists, psychiatric nurses, primary care physicians and hospital doctors.