A new study has found that those who have been exposed to COVID-19 in the previous six months were more likely to develop anxiety, depression and other mood disorders.
The more severe the case the higher the risk
Researchers explain that about a third of COVID survivors went on to either develop or revisit previous psychological or neurological conditions. But this proportion only grew for those who were admitted to hospitals and those who were in need of intensive care. These side affects are said to be the result of both stressed induced by the coronavirus as well as the direct effect on the human brain.
The study was conducted by looking through the electronic medical records of more than half a million patients in the US before analysing their likelihood of developing common psychological or neurological conditions, such as: dementia, psychosis and other mood and anxiety disorders.
Results found that mood disorders were among the most commonly diagnosed following exposure to the coronavirus which scientists conclude to be due to the stress generated from the experience of becoming very ill and hospitalised.
COVID-19 related to psychiatric and neurological problems
When comparing a group of people who had suffered from COVID-19 with two other groups—one with the common flu and the other with an unspecified respiratory infection– the researchers from Oxford University found that COVID-19 was conducive to a higher percentage of developing brain conditions.
Those afflicted with the coronavirus were 16% more likely to develop a psychological or neurological disorder than those of the group with the unspecified respiratory infection and 44% more likely than those with the flu. Professor at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King's College London, Dr. Dame Til Wykes explained that:
The study confirms our suspicions that a COVID-19 diagnosis is not just related to respiratory symptoms, it is also related to psychiatric and neurological problems.
Looking over six months after diagnosis has demonstrated that the after-effects can appear much later than expected - something that is no surprise to those suffering from long COVID.