An observational study has revealed that every one in three Covid-19 patients suffers from Covid-linked psychological conditions during the six-month period after recovering. This is the largest study to date with over 230,000 patients included which were analyzed for 14 different mental health issues and neurological disorders.
The complete study findings are now published in The Lancet Psychiatry journal. Dr. Paul Harrison from the University of Oxford is the lead author of this study. According to him, this data is based on real patient records confirming the mental health issues mainly associated with Covid-19. These patients may not even have a history of any mental illness before and for them, it has shown up as a side effect of the deadly Covid-19.
This analysis reveals that the risk factor for these Covid-linked psychological or neurological conditions are low but having so many people suffering from them increase their overall impact. Right now when the world is going through a difficult time, any small issue can lead to a huge issue because millions of people are involved. It is necessary for the healthcare system to be ready for whatever comes its way, and it includes primary healthcare services as well as secondary healthcare services.
This pandemic has not only affected the physical health but also the mental health of the public. After coming across millions of cases where Covid-19 survivors had to battle depression, anxiety, and other conditions, it is now clear that covid-linked psychological issues are very much real and a potential threat even after beating the pandemic.
This new study reports that the first three months are very critical for a Covid-19 survivor as he is at the highest risk of mood disorder, sleeping disorders, and anxiety disorders during this time. But it was only a general observation with no real-world data to support it. This current study is now marked as the large-scale data analysis understanding the risks of psychological and neurological issues within six months after beating Covid-19.
In this study, the patient records from nearly 236,379 cases were taken using a TriNetX network, which is a US-based database having the details of 81million people. This record included patients over 10 years of age, who contracted the virus and become a victim to Covid-19 from the period January 20th, 2020 to December 13th, 2020. This study also compared the results with influenza patients (105,579 cases) and all respiratory infection patients (236,038 cases)
The results reported that Covid-linked psychological conditions were 34% prevalent and in 13% of these patients, it was their first-ever time of getting diagnosed with a mental health issue. It suggests that the risk of these Covid-19 linked psychological and neurological conditions is high even for people who never experienced mental health problems in the past.
Among these most common issues after beating Covid-19, top of the list were anxiety disorders (17% prevalent), mood disorders (14% prevalent), insomnia (5% prevalent), and substance abuse disorders (7% prevalent). In the neurological disorders, the top of the list was ischaemic stroke with 2.5% incidence, followed by dementia (0.7% prevalence) and brain hemorrhage (0.6% prevalence).
What makes it more interesting is that this risk of mental health issues is not limited to the severe Covid-a9 patients only as it is also affecting those with mild symptoms. Nearly 38% of these patients who were found with Covid-linked psychological conditions were hospitalized, 46% of them were in intensive care and 62% of patients suffered from encephalopathy while battling with the virus.
Overall, this whole study confirms that brain diseases and mental health issues are more likely to hit a Covid-19 survivor within six months after recovery. What happens after these six months is still under discussion and would need more comprehensive data analysis to find the new risks.