Coronavirus and Its Implications for Psychiatry: A Rapid Review of the Early Literature
Cabrera, Maximilliam A.
Simpson, Scott A.
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Background: The coronavirus pandemic has changed health care rapidly and dramatically. Objective: To provide a critical synthesis of the scientific literature on the pandemic's implications for psychiatric practice. Methods: A rapid literature review was undertaken to identify scientific literature linking psychiatric outcomes and practice changes due to coronavirus and the disease it causes (COVID-19). A structured quality assessment was used to assess those articles reporting quantitative data. Results: Fifty articles were identified for inclusion, but only 12 contained original data. Eleven of those twelve were rated as of weak quality. The literature described psychiatric sequelae of the coronavirus and related public health interventions through cross-sectional surveys among different populations; no studies include diagnostic or functional impairment data. Populations at risk include COVID-19 survivors, health care workers, the elderly, and those with preexisting psychiatric disease. Impacts on psychiatric practice were described, again without data on changes to quality or access of care. Conclusions: There is a quickly accumulating body of evidence on the psychiatric implications of coronavirus including psychological effects on the general public and at-risk subgroups. Similarly, psychiatric practice has witnessed substantial adaptation to the pandemic. However, there remain significant gaps in scientific knowledge. We suggest opportunities for consultation-liaison psychiatry to improve the understanding of the relationship between coronavirus and psychiatric care.