Anxiety, depression linked to avoiding medical care during pandemic

New research shows that mental health symptoms are strongly associated with avoiding medical care amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The study, published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, analyzed data from the weekly household pulse survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau. Researchers examined data from the survey conducted June 11-16, which included 73,472 responses.

Researchers analyzed the associations between four mental health symptoms respondents experienced in the last week and avoiding medical care due to the coronavirus pandemic in the last month. The four mental health symptoms were: feeling nervous, anxious, or on edge; not being able to stop or control worrying; having little interest or pleasure in doing things; and feeling down, depressed or hopeless.

They found that individuals who experienced all four symptoms in the prior week had two times the risk of delaying or avoiding necessary medical care unrelated to the coronavirus in the prior month.

Overall, 41 percent of patients delayed medical care in the prior month due to the pandemic, and 32.2 percent avoided needed medical care altogether.

More articles on public health:
US coronavirus death rates by state: Aug. 21
Number of COVID-19 hospitalizations, state by state: Aug. 21
20 states where COVID-19 is spreading fastest, slowest: Aug. 21


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