As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage, a new study has raised an alarming possibility, that those who have been affected by the virus may in the future be afflicted by mental health issues. As per a study by an Oxford team that was published on The Lancet, the researchers had noted that in patients with no prior psychiatric history, a diagnosis of COVID-19 was associated with increased incidence of a first psychiatric diagnosis in the following 14 to 90 days compared with six other health events.
The researchers believe that this is the first study of its kinds, and says that the findings indicate that COVID-19 survivors have significantly higher rates of psychiatric diagnoses and psychiatric history is a potential risk factor for being diagnosed with COVID-19, independent of known physical risk factors.
Using the TriNetX Analytics Network, the team analysed the anonymous data of 69 million individuals, of whom 62,354 had a diagnosis of COVID-19. This information was used to assess whether the COVID-19 diagnosis appeared to play any role in subsequent psychiatric diagnoses. It also looked into whether patients with a history of psychiatric illness appeared to be at a higher risk of being diagnosed with COVID-19.
As per the researchers, nearly one fifth of the patients, or 18 out of every 100 patients saw a psychiatric diagnosis within 14 to 90 days of contacting the virus. Issues such as insomnia, anxiety disorder and dementia were the most prevalent among people who had been infected. The latter was especially intense when the person was over the age of 65, they said.
They also said that those who had been diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder in the year before the pandemic was more susceptible to infection. Such people, the study said were associated with a 65% increased risk of COVID-19.