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Atti AR, De Ronchi D, Cellini L, Longobardi S, Panariello F. World J. Psychiatry 2021; 11(11): 1095-1105.


(Copyright © 2021, Baishideng Publishing Group)






The subsequent waves of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic have represented a dramatic health emergency characterized by significant consequences on mental health. Diachronic variations in the incidence rates of acute relapse of psychiatric disorders may represent significant "sentinel events" for assessing the mental health response to an unprecedented stressful event.

To investigate the variation in psychiatric hospitalization rates and differences in sociodemographic and clinical-psychopathological peculiarities at Bologna "Maggiore" General Hospital Psychiatric Ward (GHPW) between the first two waves SARS-CoV-2 pandemic and the same periods of the previous 3 years. The secondary purpose of the study was to suggest a diachronic response pathway to stress by reporting additional literature data on coping strategies.

This observational and retrospective study collected information on admission to the GHPW at the "Maggiore" Hospital in Bologna in the index periods defined as follows: the first period between February 24, 2020 and April 30, 2020 (first epidemic wave) and the second period between October 8, 2020, and January 7, 2021 (second pandemic wave). Absolute numbers and proportion of admitted patients, their sociodemographic and clinical-psychopathological characteristics were compared with the same parameters recorded in the two same periods of the previous 3 years. No strict inclusion or exclusion criteria were provided in the data collection to collect information on all patients requiring acute psychiatric hospitalization.

During the first wave, there was a significant reduction in hospitalization rates, although there was a simultaneous increase in compulsory hospitalizations and the acute relapse of schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders. During the second wave, hospitalization rates reached those recorded during the same period of the previous 3 years, mainly due to the rise of bipolar and related disorders, depressive disorders, anxiety disorders, trauma- and stressor-related disorders and suicidal behaviors.

The coping strategies adopted during the first wave of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic protected the vulnerable population from the general risk of clinical-psychopathological acute relapse, even if they increased the susceptibility to run into schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorder relapses. In the medium-long term (as in the second pandemic wave), the same strategies do not play protective roles against the stress associated with the pandemic and social restriction measures. Indeed, during the second wave of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, an increase in total hospitalization rate, suicidal behaviors and the incidence rate of bipolar and related disorders, depressive disorders, anxiety disorders, trauma- and stressor-related disorders was observed.

Key Words: SARS-CoV-2, Schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders, Bipolar and related disorders, Depressive disorders, Anxiety disorders, trauma- and stressor-related disorders, Suicide behavior, Coping strategies

Panariello F, Longobardi S, Cellini L, De Ronchi D, Atti AR. Psychiatric hospitalization during the two SARS-CoV-2 pandemic waves: New warnings for acute psychotic episodes and suicidal behaviors. World J Psychiatr 2021; 11(11): 1095-1105 [DOI: 10.5498/wjp.v11.i11.1095]

Language: en


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