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Long covid’s link to suicide: Scientists warn of hidden crisis

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Long covid’s link to suicide: Scientists warn of hidden crisis

After COVID-19, Scott Taylor was never able to go on.

The 56-year-old contracted the illness in the spring of 2020, and it wasn’t until nearly 18 months later—after he had already lost his health, his memory, and his money—that he began to show signs of recovery.

“Nobody is interested. No one wants to listen for very long, “Taylor spoke of the suffering of millions of people with protracted COVID, a condition that can persist for months or years after the original infection, in a final text message to a friend.

“Without being completely worn out, fatigued, and in excruciating pain all the way down my back, I can hardly do laundry. dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea. It appears that I speak without understanding what I’m saying “Taylor

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According to the World Health Organization, long COVID is a complex medical condition that can be challenging to diagnose because it has a variety of more than 200 symptoms, some of which can be confused with other illnesses. These symptoms range from fatigue and cognitive impairment to pain, fever, and heart palpitations.

The frequency of suicides among patients is not well-documented. Following evidence of an increase in depression and suicidal thoughts among individuals with long COVID as well as a rising number of known deaths, several scientists from institutions including the U.S. National Institutes of Health and Britain’s data-collection agency are starting to investigate a potential link.

“I’m confident that lengthy COVID is linked to the chance of suicide death as well as suicidal thoughts, attempts, and preparations. Simply put, we lack epidemiological data “said Leo Sher, a psychiatrist who specialises in suicidal behaviour and mood problems at Mount Sinai Health System in New York.

Do patients’ chances of committing suicide perhaps rise as a result of the virus altering brain biology? is one of the important issues researchers are currently examining. Or do people approach the edge because they are unable to operate as they previously could, as might happen with other chronic health conditions?

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Sher claimed that inflammation in the brain, which multiple studies have linked with lengthy COVID, was also a very powerful predictor of suicide, as were pain disorders in general.

He continued, “We ought to take this seriously.

Patients with extended COVID were nearly twice as likely to get their first antidepressant prescription within 90 days of their initial COVID diagnosis compared to persons with COVID alone, according to research done by Seattle-based health data company Truveta for Reuters.

More than 1.3 million adults with a COVID diagnosis and 19,000 with a lengthy COVID diagnosis between May 2020 and July 2022 were included in the analysis, which was based on data from 20 major U.S. hospital systems.

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“We’re not sure how bad it is,”

Governments and scientists are only now beginning to systematically study the area as they emerge from a pandemic that itself blindsided much of the world, contributing to the lack of understanding of the potential long-term effects of COVID-19.

According to the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, while many long-term COVID patients improve with time, 15% of them still have symptoms after a year (IHME). There is no established cure, and the incapacitating symptoms often prevent victims from working.

The implications of lengthy COVID possibly being associated with a higher risk of mental illness and suicide are severe; the U.S. Government Accountability Office estimated in March that the condition had afflicted up to 23 million people in America alone.

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According to Katie Bach of the Brookings Institution, an employment analyst, Long COVID has also caused the loss of 4.5 million jobs, or about 2.4% of the American workforce.

The IHME estimates that over the first two years of the pandemic, nearly 150 million persons worldwide contracted protracted COVID.

According to Murad Khan, a psychiatry professor at Aga Khan University in Karachi, Pakistan, who is a member of an international team of experts investigating the suicide risk associated with COVID-19, in many developing countries, a lack of surveillance of long COVID makes the picture even murkier.

We have a substantial issue, but we are unsure of its scope, he claimed.

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reaching the limit

According to interviews conducted by Reuters with several dozen patients, family members, and medical professionals, an increasing number of long-term COVID sufferers are running out of time and money. They also claim to be out of hope and options.

The breaking point came for Taylor, who lost his job marketing genetic testing to doctors during a round of layoffs in the summer of 2020, when his insurance through his previous employer was set to expire and his application for social security benefits was turned down, according to his family.

His older brother Mark Taylor remarked, “It was the straw that broke the camel’s back.”

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According to her husband Nick Guthe, 50-year-old TV scriptwriter Heidi Ferrer, a native of Kansas, committed suicide in May 2021 to end the tremors and agonising agony that kept her from sleeping or walking after contracting COVID more than a year earlier.

Since the passing of his wife, filmmaker Guthe has taken a stand on behalf of long COVID patients. He claimed that, up until this past winter, he was unaware of any other long COVID patients who had committed suicide.

They now visit once a week, he continued.

Survivor Corps, an organisation that advocates for long-term COVID patients, reported that a membership survey it conducted in May revealed that 44% of the almost 200 participants had expressed suicidal thoughts.

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Although Reuters was unable to independently corroborate the cases, Lauren Nichols, a board member at the long COVID support organisation Body Politic, said that she was aware of more than 50 long COVID sufferers who had committed suicide through interaction with family members on social media.

Nichols, 34, a logistics specialist for the U.S. Department of Transportation in Boston, claims that because of her long-term COVID, which she has had for more than two years, she has contemplated suicide numerous times.

English speakers who want assistance with assisted dying in Switzerland, where it is permitted with some restrictions, can get it via Exit International. The organisation, which does not monitor results after offering guidance, got several dozen questions from long-COVID patients during the epidemic and currently receives around one every week, according to director Fiona Stewart.

Omicron and COVID are long.

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The $470 million RECOVER study studying extended COVID is being conducted by the US National Institutes of Health, which is keeping track of the effects on mental health. Early findings on rates of anxiety and depression are anticipated by early September, but data on suicide will take longer, according to head researcher Dr. Stuart Katz.

Richard Gallagher, an associate professor of child psychiatry at NYU Langone Health and a member of RECOVER, said: “What we do know is that patients with chronic illnesses are sensitive to suicidal ideation, suicide attempts, and suicide completion.”

Regarding the subject of whether the virus alters the brain, Gallagher stated that there is some evidence that COVID can produce brain inflammation, which has been associated to depression and suicide, even in individuals with relatively mild disease.

He said that the virus “may have direct, in some ways harmful impacts, and part of them will be inflammation.”

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According to research from the University of Washington’s IHME, long COVID significantly lowers overall health by 21%, which is comparable to total deafness or a catastrophic brain injury.

Despite the fact that some scientists had predicted that Omicron would be less likely to cause long COVID, official UK data released this month revealed that 34% of the 2 million people who had long COVID in the nation had symptoms that they had first experienced after contracting Omicron.

The state Office for National Statistics (ONS) is looking into whether it can predict a long COVID patient’s risk of suicide in advance like it does for people with other diseases, like cancer. A British government advisory group is looking into the suicide risk for long COVID patients compared with the general population.

Louis Appleby, a psychiatry professor at the University of Manchester and a UK government consultant, warned that long-term medical illnesses that are incapacitating may increase the risk of suicide.

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In fact, studies in Britain and Spain indicated that, when compared to the general population, those with myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), another post-viral condition with symptoms comparable to protracted COVID, had a six-fold greater risk of suicide.

In June, the most recent month on record, only a third of patients received an appointment within six weeks of being referred by their local doctor, and another third had to wait for more than 15 weeks. This situation is exacerbated by Britain’s network of long COVID treatment centres being wildly oversubscribed.

In London, Ruth Oshikanlu, a former midwife and health visitor who is now a pregnancy coach, claimed that her long-standing COVID health issues had combined to push her to the brink. She struggled to work and thought her life was ended when her company momentarily failed owing to debt problems.

The 48-year-old added, “I was crying to the accountant, and the guy kept me on wait – I suppose he didn’t want to be the final person to talk to me.”

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You get a lot of thinking time with COVID, she remarked. “Fortunately, I didn’t consider quitting it because of my son. However, I am aware of a lot of folks who have had suicidal thoughts.”

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Winter-related ear popping: causes, remedies, and strategies for prevention

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Winter-related ear popping: causes, remedies, and strategies for prevention

If you live in a cold climate, you’re probably no stranger to the sensation of your ears popping when you step outside. This is caused by the change in pressure between the warm air inside your body and the cold air outside. While this is usually a harmless phenomenon, it can be quite annoying. In this article, we’ll explore the causes of winter-related ear popping, as well as some remedies and strategies for prevention.

One of the main causes of ear popping is a difference in air pressure. When you step outside into the cold air, the pressure outside is lower than the pressure inside your body. This difference in pressure can cause your ears to pop.

There are a few things you can do to ease the discomfort of ear popping. First, try yawning or swallowing. These activities can help equalize the pressure in your ears. You can also try chewing gum or sucking on candy. If you’re flying, drink plenty of fluids and avoid chewing gum during takeoff and landing.

There are also some preventive measures you can take to avoid ear popping. If you know you’ll be exposed to cold air, try to take a deep breath before you go outside. This will help equalize the pressure in your lungs and prevent your ears

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