Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on patients with pre-existing anxiety disorders attending secondary care.
obsessive compulsive disorder
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JournalIrish journal of psychological medicine
AbstractObjectives: To examine the psychological and social impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on patients with established anxiety disorders during a period of stringent mandated social restrictions. Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 30 individuals attending the Galway-Roscommon Mental Health Services with an International Classification of Diseases diagnosis of an anxiety disorder to determine the impact of the COVID-19 restrictions on anxiety and mood symptoms, social and occupational functioning and quality of life. Results: Twelve (40.0%) participants described COVID-19 restrictions as having a deleterious impact on their anxiety symptoms. Likert scale measurements noted that the greatest impact of COVID-19 related to social functioning (mean = 4.5, SD = 2.9), with a modest deleterious effect on anxiety symptoms noted (mean = 3.8, SD = 2.9). Clinician rated data noted that 8 (26.7%) participants had disimproved and 14 (46.7%) participants had improved since their previous clinical review, prior to commencement of COVID-19 restrictions. Conditions associated with no 'trigger', such as generalised anxiety disorder, demonstrated a non-significant increase in anxiety symptoms compared to conditions with a 'trigger', such as obsessive compulsive disorder. Psychiatric or physical comorbidity did not substantially impact on symptomatology secondary to COVID-19 mandated restrictions. Conclusions: The psychological and social impact of COVID-19 restrictions on individuals with pre-existing anxiety disorders has been modest with only minimal increases in symptomatology or social impairment noted.
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