Covid-19 patients develop mental health conditions

covid patient in hospital bed
covid patient in hospital bed Image credit:

A recent study implies a percentage of people who became seriously ill from COVID-19 have gone on to develop mental health conditions.

Most of the people who took part in the research were from the US, 34 per cent of which said they developed mental health and neurological conditions six months after contracting COVID-19.

One in three out of 236,379 patients suffering from coronavirus reported serious side effects from the virus with 17 per cent being diagnosed with the most common condition, anxiety.

Out of those admitted to intensive care 7 per cent experienced a stroke and around 2 per cent were found to have contracted dementia.

Taking into account age, sex, ethnic backgrounds and existing health conditions experts concluded there was a 44 per cent greater risk of Covid-19 patients going on to develop mental health and neurological conditions compared to those who have caught the flu.

Prof Paul Harrison, lead author of the study, from the University of Oxford, said: “These are real-world data from a large number of patients. They confirm the high rates of psychiatric diagnoses after Covid-19 and show that serious disorders affecting the nervous system (such as stroke and dementia) occur too. While the latter is much rarer, they are significant, especially in those who had severe Covid-19.

“Although the individual risks for most disorders are small, the effect across the whole population may be substantial for health and social care systems due to the scale of the pandemic and that many of these conditions are chronic. As a result, health care systems need to be resourced to deal with the anticipated need, both within primary and secondary care services.”

Dr Max Taquet, a co-author of the study, said: “We now need to see what happens beyond six months. The study cannot reveal the mechanisms involved, but does point to the need for urgent research to identify these, with a view to preventing or treating them.”

Dr Jonathan Rogers from University College London, who was not involved in the research, said: “[This] study points us towards the future, both in its methods and implications … Sadly, many of the disorders identified in this study tend to be chronic or recurrent, so we can anticipate that the impact of Covid-19 could be with us for many years.”

A previous study found Covid-19 patients were more likely to develop and anxiety disorders within the first three months after infection.