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Increases in Major Depressive Disorder, Anxiety Reported Due to COVID-19

Increase of 27.6 percent seen in cases of major depressive disorder globally; 25.6 percent increase reported in anxiety disorders

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TUESDAY, Oct. 12, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- An additional 53.2 million cases of major depressive disorder and 76.2 million cases of anxiety disorders globally were estimated due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a review published online Oct. 8 in The Lancet.

Damian F. Santomauro, Ph.D., from the University of Queensland in Herston, Australia, and colleagues conducted a systematic review of data reporting the prevalence of major depressive disorder and anxiety disorders during the COVID-19 pandemic. The assembled data were used in meta-regression to estimate the change in prevalence between prepandemic and mid-pandemic periods. Forty-eight unique data sources met the inclusion criteria.

The researchers found associations for two COVID-19 impact indicators, specifically daily severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infection rates and reduction in human mobility, with an increased prevalence of major depressive disorders (regression coefficient [B], 18.1 and 0.9, respectively) and anxiety disorders (B, 13.8 and 0.9, respectively). Compared with men, women were affected more by the pandemic, and younger age groups were affected more than older age groups. The greatest increases in the prevalence of major depressive disorder and anxiety disorders were estimated in locations hit hardest by the pandemic in 2020. An additional 53.2 million cases of major depressive disorder (an increase of 27.6 percent) and an additional 76.2 million cases of anxiety disorder (increase of 25.6 percent) were estimated globally due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"In the wake of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the prevalence and burden of major depressive disorder and anxiety disorders, taking no action cannot be an option," the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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