COVID is associated with a dramatic increase in the risk of mental health problems in children

For much of the pandemic, children have been found to be relatively more likely to get out than adults if they become infected with coronavirus. But a nationwide analysis suggests that hiring COVID-19 may nearly triple the risk of new mental health problems for children.

The findings, published in the journal Psychiatric Services last week, show that educators are already struggling to cope with the growing rise of mental health and school behavior problems among young people. However, these results are the first to highlight the mental health problems associated with COVID, compared to the school and family disruptions caused by the pandemic, social isolation, and economic instability.

Researchers led by health economist Mir Ali of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services analyzed data on the health statements of more than 3.3 million children under the age of 17 in all 50 states and who received the COVID-19 test in Washington, DC. These data were part of the U.S. Open Source Claims, a “database of multi-payer, pre-awarded health insurance claims.”

Children or adolescents were not diagnosed with mental illness or did not need mental health services in the year before the coronavirus test. But more than 7 percent of those who tested positive for COVID-19 had a new mental health diagnosis within an average of 30 days. In contrast, only 3.4% of children who tested negative had new mental health problems. Those who had problems lived, on average, four months later.

After adapting to other factors such as genetics, the researchers found that hiring COVID-19 nearly tripled the risk of children having mental health problems. Subsequently, more than one-third of the affected children were diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder; 2 out of 5 had an anxiety disorder, and another 1 out of 5 had trauma or stress disorder.

Risks increase with age

In addition, the older the child, the greater the mental health risks of having COVID-19. The test for the virus tested positive for children under 5 years of age, five times the risk of infected children aged 6-11, and seven times the risk of new and recurrent mental health diagnoses increased by seven times for adolescents aged 12-17.

“High rates of new mental health conditions among young people with no new mental health history suggest a need for emotional health and behavioral support, such as screening, assessment, and treatment,” concluded Mir and colleagues.

Although depression and anxiety disorders were the highest among adolescents who were positive for coronavirus, ADHD was the cause. Nearly 57 in children aged 6-11 and more than a third of infected adolescents.

The study found that the number of children vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus has largely stopped and school outbreaks have increased. As of this week, less than 30 percent of primary school children and less than 60 percent of middle and high school teens have been fully vaccinated, well below the immune cushion needed to prevent outbreaks.

“I still hear it at my clinic, parents say no, I’m not going to get vaccinated. Kids don’t get sick with COVID,” said Dr. Tina Tan, of Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago and Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. Ann & Robert H. Lurie, Professor of Infectious Diseases in Children, who was not part of the study. “But that’s not true; children get sick. … And as we learn more, we are seeing children who are experiencing different long-term effects after having COVID. ”

Although previous research has found that “long COVID” can have cognitive effects in adults, Mir said the current study did not examine the potential for COVID-related mental health problems in children infected with the virus. It is not clear, for example, whether the virus itself causes neurological problems, or whether children are diagnosed with a dangerous or deadly disease that causes stress and trauma. The study also did not differentiate between children who had more or less severe cases of the disease. Mirre warned that the study, based on health insurance data, could underestimate the mental health effects of a pandemic for children without health insurance.

“Prolonged loneliness and social isolation have been linked to future mental health problems nine years later, suggesting that children and adolescents would be at risk of mental health after the end of the pandemic’s social cuts,” Mir and colleagues said. stated in a brief briefing on the study.

Leave a Comment