One in five with COVID-19 develop a mental disorder within 3 months – World



One in five patients with COVID-19 develops a mental disorder within 3 months

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Many COVID-19 patients are likely to be at greater risk of developing a mental illness, psychiatrists said Monday after a large study found that 20% of those infected with the coronavirus were diagnosed with a mental illness within 90 days.

Anxiety, depression, and insomnia were the most common of the recovered COVID-19 patients in the study who were found to have developed mental health problems. Researchers at the University of Oxford in the UK also found significantly higher risks of dementia, a brain damage condition.

“People are concerned that COVID-19 survivors may be at greater risk for mental health problems, and our findings … show that it is likely,” said Paul Harrison, professor of psychiatry at Oxford. Doctors and scientists around the world urgently need to investigate the causes and identify new treatments for mental illness after COVID-19, Harrison said.

“(Health) systems need to be prepared to deliver care, especially since our results have likely underestimated (the number of psychiatric patients),” he added.

The study, published in The Lancet Psychiatry, analyzed the electronic health records of 69 million people in the United States, including more than 62,000 cases of COVID-19. The findings are likely the same as those affected by COVID-19 globally, the researchers said.

In the three months after a positive test for COVID-19, one in five healers was first diagnosed with anxiety, depression or insomnia. This is about twice as likely as other groups of patients over the same time period, the researchers said.

The study also found that people with a pre-existing mental illness were 65% more likely to be diagnosed with COVID-19 than those without.

Mental health professionals not directly involved in the study say the findings add to growing evidence that COVID-19 can affect the brain and mind, increasing the risk of a number of mental illnesses.

“This is likely due to a combination of psychological stressors related to this particular pandemic and the physical consequences of the disease,” said Michael Bloomfield, a psychiatrist consultant at University College London.

Simon Wesley, a professor of psychiatry at King’s College London, said the finding that people with mental disorders were also at higher risk of becoming infected with COVID-19 was a reflection of similar findings in previous infectious disease outbreaks.

“COVID-19 affects the central nervous system and thus can directly increase later conditions. But this study confirms that this is not the whole story and that this risk is increased by previous deteriorating health,” he said.

Marjorie Wallace, chief executive of British charity SANE, said the study echoed the charity’s experience during the pandemic.

“Our hotline deals with a growing number of people who are calling for the first time with mental health issues, as well as those who return to us because their fears and fears have become unbearable again,” she said.


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