2Bakirkoy Prof. Mazhar Osman Training and Research Hospital for Psychiatry, Neurology, and Neurosurgery, Department of Psychiatry, Istanbul, Turkiye
Objective: The pandemic of coronavirus has caused various psychological impacts. Psychiatric emergency departments (PED) are important to detect the clinical reflections of this unforeseeable and extraordinary period, as these departments served uninterruptedly during the pandemic. We aim to study the possible reflections by comparing the medical data obtained during pandemic period with the same dates of the previous year.
Method: A total of 7209 patients admitted to PED between March–May 2019 and March–May 2020 were included in this retrospective and cohort study. Comparisons were made between the two periods based on the sociodemographic and clinical characteristics of the patients.
Results: PED visits, which were 4330 in 2019, decreased by 33.5% to 2879 in 2020. The number of female patients decreased between 2019 and 2020 (p=0.001), but there was no difference in terms of age (p=0.085). It was observed that all diagnosis groups decreased in 2020, except for “Neurocognitive Disorders.” The decrease in the frequency was most evident in “Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders” group (66.1%). On the other hand, the least decrease was found in “Anxiety Disorders” group (11.8%).
Conclusion: Despite the fact that this pandemic is considered as a multifaceted psychological stressor, emergency psychiatry applications have decreased compared to the previous year during the pandemic. As the physical burden of the COVID-19 gradually diminishes, we may face a mental health pandemic due to tremendous psychological effects of this time period. It is obvious that some new and alternative ways to spread psychiatric practices are needed in the pandemic period and beyond.