Wednesday, 03 March, 2021


Research: Covid-19 increases risk of development of mental disorders

Doctors treat Covid-19 patients in an intensive care unit at a Hospital in Rome Italy | Bloomberg Doctors treat Covid-19 patients in an intensive care unit at a hospital in Rome Italy | Bloomberg Representational image | Bloomberg
Patty Aguilar | 12 November, 2020, 20:21

Almost one in five people is diagnosed with a psychiatric condition within three months of contracting coronavirus - double the usual rate from other illnesses, a study has shown. The data included sixty-two thousand individuals who were confirmed to have contracted the virus. A coronavirus diagnosis in particular outweighed six other health problems - including the flu, other respiratory tract infections and kidney stones - in terms of incurring a first-time mental diagnosis.

"Commonest were anxiety diagnoses followed by depressive disorders and insomnia".

The researchers also found higher risk of dementia in those who recover from Covid-19.

Connections between viral outbreaks and mental health issues is not entirely new, with Simon Wessely, regius professor of psychiatry at King's College London saying that this study echoes findings in previous outbreaks.

"Psychiatric illnesses are common, associated with impaired quality of life and impaired functioning, and in some cases can result in death", she said.

According to the psychiatrists, COVID-19 survivors are more likely to develop mental illness. It was conducted by the University of Oxford's department of psychiatry and the NIHR Oxford Health Biomedical Research Centre.

Paul Harrison, author of the study and professor of psychiatry at the United Kingdom's University of Oxford stated, "People have been anxious that COVID-19 survivors will be at greater risk of mental health problems, and our findings ... show this to be likely".

But the research may not be the whole story when it comes to mental health and the virus.

The study is observational and researchers are unsure whether the effect is being caused by the biological effect of coronavirus or underlying anxieties linked to the pandemic. There could also be socioeconomic or behavioral factors that weren't adequately captured by the study's data.

"It's hard to judge the importance of these findings", he said in a statement to the Science Media Centre in London.

"The journal tweeted that 'Survivors of COVID-19 appear to be at increased risk of psychiatric sequelae, and a psychiatric diagnosis might be an independent risk factor for #COVID-19".

Studies on the impact of the coronavirus to the brain are already underway. "The answer to this question requires more investment and investigation, but is likely multifactorial, involving biological, psychological, and social contributing factors", she said.

'The sheer number of people struggling after COVID brings new urgency to developing programs to better promote and support recovery after acute illness, ' said Hallie Prescott another co-author of the study.

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Covid-19 increases risk of development of mental disorders, - research Covid-19 increases risk of development of mental disorders, - research The team set out to find whether a coronavirus diagnosis was associated with higher rates of mental illness diagnoses thereafter. According to the psychiatrists, COVID-19 survivors are more likely to develop mental illness .