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

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Abstract
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.
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COVID-19, Psychoses, Schizophrenia, Stress, Suicide
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