British scientists have recently shown that people affected by Covid-19 were more likely to develop mental disorders in the first few months after infection.
As part of this work recently presented in the journal Lancet Psychiatry, a team of Oxford researchers analyzed the electronic medical records of nearly 70 million subjects residing in the United States, 62,354 of whom were confirmed cases of Covid-19. They found that coronavirus survivors were more likely to develop mental disorders, with 20 percent of these patients first diagnosed with anxiety, depression or insomnia within 90 days of being tested.
According to the researchers, this figure was twice as high as that recorded in other subjects, suggesting that people who have contracted the virus and have a history of mental disorders are also more likely to be re-diagnosed with this type of pathology.
“Specialists have suspected for some time that Covid-19 survivors are more prone to mental disorders, and the findings of this large study support that suspicion,” The professor of psychiatry who coordinated the research Paul Harrison affirmed.
“Health services need to be prepared to deal with them, since the actual number of cases is probably underestimated. Research is urgently needed to investigate the causes and identify new treatments. »
A COMBINATION OF PSYCHOLOGICAL AND PHYSICAL FACTORS
Commenting on the link between coronavirus and mental illness, Michael Bloomfield, a consultant psychiatrist from University College London who did not participate in the study, said that “this is probably due to a combination of the psychological stressors associated with this particular pandemic and the physical effects of the disease. »
The study by Oxford researchers also suggested that subjects with pre-existing mental disorders were 65% more likely to contract Covid-19 than others. This is an unexpected finding for the authors of the study, which requires further research and the addition of mental disorders to the list of risk factors for the coronavirus.