JAMA Netw Open. 2024 Apr 1;7(4):e248481. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2024.8481.


IMPORTANCE: Psychiatric symptoms are reportedly common among adults with post-COVID-19 condition (PCC). However, nationally representative data regarding symptom prevalence, treatment uptake, and barriers to care are needed to inform the development of care models.

OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the prevalence of psychiatric symptoms in US adults with PCC compared with those without PCC and assess treatment uptake and cost-related barriers to treatment.

DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: Data from the 2022 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), a nationally representative US cross-sectional survey, were analyzed between October 2023 and February 2024.

EXPOSURE: Current PCC, defined as new symptoms following SARS-CoV-2 infection lasting more than 3 months and ongoing at the time of interview.

MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Depression symptoms were evaluated by the Patient Health Questionnaire-8 and anxiety symptoms were assessed using the General Anxiety Disorder-7 instrument. Participants were classified as having received treatment if they received mental health counseling or therapy or medications for mental health. Sleep difficulties, cognitive difficulties, disabling fatigue, and cost-related barriers were assessed from additional NHIS questions.

RESULTS: Of the 25 122 participants representing approximately 231 million US adults (median [IQR] age, 46 [32-61] years; 49.8% male and 50.2% female participants), a weighted prevalence (wPr) of 3.4% (95% CI, 3.1%-3.6%) had current PCC. Compared with other US adults, participants with current PCC were more likely to have depression symptoms (wPr, 16.8% vs 7.1%; adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 1.96; 95% CI, 1.51-2.55), anxiety symptoms (wPr, 16.7% vs 6.3%; AOR, 2.21; 95% CI, 1.53-3.19), sleep difficulties (wPr, 41.5% vs 22.7%; AOR 1.95; 95% CI, 1.65-2.29), cognitive difficulties (wPr, 35.0% vs 19.5%; AOR, 2.04; 95% CI, 1.66-2.50), and disabling fatigue (wPr, 4.0% vs 1.6%; AOR, 1.85; 95% CI, 1.20-2.86). Among participants who had depression or anxiety symptoms, those with PCC had a similar likelihood of not having received treatment (wPr, 28.2% vs 34.9%; AOR, 1.02; 95% CI, 0.66-1.57). However, participants with current PCC were more likely to report a cost-related barrier to accessing mental health counseling or therapy (wPr, 37.2% vs 23.3%; AOR, 2.05; 95% CI, 1.40-2.98).

CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: The findings of this study suggest that people with PCC have a higher prevalence of psychiatric symptoms than other adults but are more likely to experience cost-related barriers to accessing therapy. Care pathways for PCC should consider prioritizing mental health screening and affordable treatment.

PMID:38662370 | DOI:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2024.8481