COVID-19 increases the risk of developing mental health problems, large study suggests
COVID-19 increases the risk of developing mental health problems, large study suggests

COVID-19 increases the risk of developing mental health problems, large study suggests

People who had COVID-19 were 39 percent more likely to be diagnosed with depression in the months after their infection compared to those without COVID-19, according to a study of nearly 154,000 COVID-19 patients by the Veterans Health Administration.

To conduct the study, published February 15 in BMJ, researchers looked at medical records from 153,848 VA COVID-19 patients who tested positive between March 2020 and January 2021 and who survived at least 30 days. The patients were followed until November 30, 2021, and compared with a current control group of more than 5.6 million VA patients who did not test positive, as well as a cohort of 5.8 million pre-pandemic patients.

Findings showed in the months after infection, COVID-19 patients were 39 percent more likely to be diagnosed with depression and 35 percent more likely to be diagnosed with anxiety compared to patients without COVID-19. The COVID-19 cohort was also more likely to be diagnosed with stress and adjustment disorders (38 percent) and sleep disorders (41 percent). Overall, those admitted due to COVID-19 were more likely to be diagnosed with mental health problems compared to those with less serious illness, although with mild cases they were still more likely to receive such a diagnosis compared to uninfected people.

“There appears to be a clear surplus of mental health diagnoses in the months following COVID,” Drs. Paul Harrison, professor of psychiatry at the University of Oxford in the UK, who was not involved in the study. New York Times. “Fortunately, this is not an epidemic of anxiety and depression,” he said. “But it’s not trivial.” The study results did not indicate that most COVID-19 patients develop mental health problems, as only 4.4 percent of the COVID-19 cohort developed depression, and 5.5 received anxiety or stress and adjustment disorders.

Senior author of the study, Ziyad Al-Aly, MD, told Times his team now plans to evaluate whether subsequent vaccination alters people’s mental health symptoms and other post-COVID-19 symptoms, as many of the patients became infected before vaccinations were widely available. Dr. Al-Aly is Head of Research and Development at VA St. Louis Health Care System and a clinical epidemiologist at Washington University in St. Louis. Louis.

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