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Concern for covid-19 cough, fever and impact on mental health: what about risk of somatic symptom disorder?

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorial

Trudie Chalder, Claire Willis

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Mental Health
Accepted/In press4 Nov 2020

King's Authors


Coronavirus disease (Covid-19) has become a global pandemic in 2020. Symptoms include fever, a new and persistent cough, fatigue, dyspnoea and loss of sense of taste and/or smell. Concern is also evident for the psychological impact of covid-19. A systematic review found depression, anxiety, fatigue and post-traumatic stress disorder were common in the months after previous coronavirus pandemics of middle east respiratory syndrome (MERS) and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). These conditions may also develop following covid-19 infection. People may also be at risk of Somatic Symptom Disorder (SSD). However, there is little mention of concern for SSD in current literature with the exception of some studies that investigate covid-19 related anxiety and its association with persistent somatic symptoms. Previous research has shown symptoms such as fatigue and gastrointestinal symptoms persist following infection with a range of viruses including coronaviruses of MERS and SARS. Infection with covid-19, as well as pandemic-related distress may also pose risks for SSD. The term "Long Covid" and multidisciplinary care pathways for covid-19 related persistent symptoms are discussed. Directions for future research into the relationship between covid-19 and SSD are suggested.

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