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Trends In New Psychiatric Diagnoses In Persons During Peri-Pandemic Periods At The Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation

Introduction: COVID-19 has caused significant impact globally. Psychiatric disorders that resulted after pandemics included anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, psychological distress and alcohol use disorder. Objective: To describe persons with newly diagnosed psychiatric disorders at the GPHC Psychiatry Outpatient Clinic during the peri-pandemic period. Methods: This retrospective observational study was conducted at the Georgetown Public Hospital Psychiatry Outpatient clinic, assessing the period March 11th, 2020, to May 6th, 2020, with control data from the same period in 2019 and 2021. It included any person of any age who received a psychiatric diagnosis for the first time at the GPHC Psychiatry Outpatient clinic during the period outlined. Results: The average number of patients in 2020 (M = 5.6, SD = 2.9) was significantly lower compared to both 2019 (M = 11.9, SD = 4.4) and 2021 (M = 10.5, SD = 3.4), with mean differences of -6.25 (p = 0.007, 95% CI [-10.955, -1.545]) and -4.875 (p = 0.041, 95% CI [-9.580, -0.170]), respectively. Substance Related and Addictive Disorders represented the majority of new psychiatric diagnoses given to patients during the three years studied. In 2019, 2020 and 2021 this was 26.3%, 33.3% and 28.6% respectively. Conclusions: There was a decrease in the number of new psychiatric diagnoses during 2020. Substance Related and Addictive Disorders is the most common group of diagnoses in persons in 2019, 2020 and 2021. The majority of new persons who received psychiatric diagnoses in 2019 and 2020 were male, but women consisted of the majority in 2021. Recommendations: Mental health should be a focus of intervention at the beginning of any pandemic. Governments should establish multidisciplinary teams in mental health at various levels. Populations should be stratified to make necessary interventions. Programs for stress recognition and its management should be implemented.