Covid-19 Infection Risk May Increase Due To Stress, Reckons New Study

With the return of spike in COVID-19 infections, lockdowns and restrictions on movement have also regained prominence in our life. Organisations that had started working from offices are back to work from home and people are confined in their houses. The pandemic in the past two years has not just affected our physical health but our mental well-being too. Now, a recent study by the School of Medicine, University of Nottingham has pointed towards a correlation between our mental health and our risk of infection.

Led by Professor Kavita Vedhara, the study also had participation from King’s College London and New Zealand’s University of Auckland.

Published in Annals of Behavioral Medicines Journal, the study highlights that individuals who suffered from anxiety, stress and depression during the initial phase of the pandemic were prone to COVID-19 infection. It further claims that the severity of the coronavirus infection also reflects the mental state of the patient.

According to Prof Kavita, health policies should be drafted while considering the higher risk of infection that people dealing with depression face. She points that the previous studies have also highlighted the correlation between mental health issues like stress and depression with chronic respiratory diseases.

The data presented by the study claims that the rise in stress and anxiety for many individuals was not just because of the changed lifestyle during the pandemic but also due to other factors increasing their risk of SARS-CoV-2.

The study done on 1100 people at the University of Auckland in New Zealand showed that the COVID-19 cases were more in people who already were dealing with mental health issues. The results point that including this direct co-relation could help the government formulate better strategies and policies for the prevention of COVID-19.

Speaking on the findings, Trdiuie Chalder, Professor of Cognitive Behavioral Psychotherapy at King’s College, London, said that past studies had shown clear relation between distress and an individual’s vulnerability to the development of viral infections. Now, this particular study shows that distress was associated with self-reported COVID-19 and the next aim will be to investigate whether this relation is found in those with confirmed infection.

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