How patients with pre-existing psychiatric disorders are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic remains unclear, and no comprehensive studies have yet been performed. To elucidate (1) which psychiatric disorders were exacerbated during the initial phase of the COVID-19 pandemic and (2) the contributing factors, we prospectively assessed psychiatric symptoms of 1592 psychiatric outpatients in a single-center study using the Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF) before the state of emergency was declared in Japan and during two months under the state of emergency (study period: April 8 to June 7, 2020). We conducted a chi-squared test for the relationship between psychiatric diagnostic category (ICD-10) and exacerbation. To control for confounders, we conducted a logistic regression analysis using sex, age, diagnostic category, and pre-pandemic GAF score as independent variables. Exacerbation rates of patients with mood disorders (F3) and neurotic disorders (F4) were 4.32% and 5.37%, respectively, and were significantly higher than those for patients with organic disorders (F0) and schizophrenic disorders (F2) (X2 (9, N = 1592) = 27.8, p < .01). Logistic regression analysis revealed that patients with F3 and female patients were significantly more affected than patients with other disorders or male patients, respectively (odds ratio (95% confidence interval) = 2.4 (1.2–4.6), p < .01 for F3; 3.1 (1.5–6.6), p < .01 for females). These findings suggest a need for careful management of patients with mood disorders and female psychiatric patients during a pandemic.
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