Clinical characterization of brief psychotic disorders triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic: a multicenter observational study.

Research Projects
Organizational Units
Journal Issue
This study aimed to characterize the clinical profile of patients with brief psychotic disorders (BPD) triggered by the psychosocial distress derived from the COVID-19 crisis. A multicenter study was conducted from March 14 to May 14, 2020 (the peak weeks of the pandemic in Europe). All consecutive patients presenting non-affective psychotic episodes with a duration of untreated psychosis of less than 1 month and whose onset was related to the COVID-19 crisis were recruited, but only those patients meeting Diagnostic Statistical Manual 5th edition (DSM-5) criteria for "BPD with marked stressors" (DSM-5 code: 298.8) during follow-up were finally included. Patients' sociodemographic and clinical characteristics were collected at baseline and summarized with descriptive statistics. During the study period, 57 individuals with short-lived psychotic episodes related to the emotional stress of the COVID-19 pandemic were identified, of whom 33 met DSM-5 criteria for "BPD with marked stressors". The mean age was 42.33 ± 14.04 years, the gender distribution was almost the same, and the majority were rated as having good premorbid adjustment. About a quarter of the patients exhibited suicidal symptoms and almost half presented first-rank schizophrenia symptoms. None of them were COVID-19 positive, but in more than half of the cases, the topic of their psychotic features was COVID-19-related. The coronavirus pandemic is triggering a significant number of BPD cases. Their risk of suicidal behavior, their high relapse rate, and their low temporal stability make it necessary to closely monitor these patients over time.
DeCS Terms
CIE Terms
COVID-19, Psychoses, Schizophrenia, Stress, Suicide