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Volume 37, issue 1

Review article

Pharmacotherapy of pandemic and post-pandemic stress-related mental disorders

Janusz Heitzman1
1. Department of Forensic Psychiatry, Institute of Psychiatry and Neurology
Farmakoterapia w Psychiatrii i Neurologii 2021, 37 (1), 9–32
Date of publication: 30-03-2021
DOI: https://doi.org/10.33450/fpn.2021.02.001
Keywords: PTSD, ASD, COVID-19, pharmacotherapy, mental disorders

Abstract

Objectives. The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic at the end of 2019, caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, manifested in the form of severe acute respiratory failure, also results in a reduced mental condition and resilience on an unprecedented scale and with consequences that are difficult to assess.

Literature review. It has been observed that the clinical picture of mental disorders manifested in reaction to confrontation with the pandemic trauma does not strictly coincide with the diagnostic criteria of commonly used diagnoses, i.e. acute stress reaction (ASR), acute stress disorder (ASD), and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In the case of PTSD in particular, it is difficult to adopt unambiguous criteria for a precise diagnosis during the ongoing pandemic. The occurrence of mental disorders in response to pandemic trauma depends on individual risk factors, the nature of traumatic stress, and environmental factors.

Conclusions. The phenomenon of a widespread population confrontation with the pandemic, more than the intensity of the stressor itself, prompts us to recall the possibility of effective pharmacological support in already existing pandemic mental disorders and to prepare for pharmacological intervention against mental disorders that will manifest themselves after the pandemic has expired.

Address for correspondence:
Janusz Heitzman
Institute of Psychiatry and Neurology
Department of Forensic Psychiatry
9 Sobieskiego Str., 02-957 Warsaw, Poland
email: heitzman@ipin.edu.pl