COVID Stress Syndrome: Clinical and Nosological Considerations Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • Purpose of review

    To review the current state of knowledge on the newly proposed COVID Stress Syndrome.

    Recent findings

    The syndrome consists of five inter-correlated elements: (a) fear of SARSCoV2 infection and fear of coming into contact with objects or surfaces contaminated with the coronavirus; (b) fear of socio-economic impacts of the pandemic; (c) fear of foreigners for fear that they are infected; (d) pandemic-related compulsive checking and reassurance-seeking; and (e) pandemic-related traumatic stress symptoms. A severe form of the syndrome, characterized by clinically significant distress and impairment in functioning, is the COVID Stress Disorder, which is regarded as a pandemic-related adjustment disorder. Several treatment options exist but further research is needed. Research during the COVID-19 pandemic has identified a pandemic-related adjustment disorder. The diagnosis of COVID Stress Syndrome should be made only after ruling out other disorders that could potentially account for the pattern of symptoms, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder and posttraumatic stress disorder. Further studies are needed to investigate the long-term course of the syndrome. Similar adjustment disorders may arise in future pandemics. Accordingly, understanding the COVID Stress Syndrome may facilitate efforts to understand and treat psychopathology in future pandemics.

publication date

  • April 2021