The Risk of Psychiatric Diagnosis Increases After Exposure to Covid-19

Covid-19 survivors may be at higher risk for neurological disorders.

REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, JAKARTA – One in three survivors of COVID-19 received a neurological or psychiatric diagnosis within six months of being infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus. This is based on an observational study of more than 230 thousand patient health records published in journals The Lancet Psychiatry.

The study looked at 14 neurological and mental health disorders. Professor Paul Harrison of the University of Oxford, lead author of the study said that this is real-world data from a large number of patients.

They confirmed the high rate of psychiatric diagnosis after COVID-19, and showed that serious disorders affecting the nervous system such as strokes and dementia also occur.

“Although dementia is much less common, it is quite significant, especially in those who suffer from severe COVID-19,” said Prof. Harrison, reported at Eureka Alert, Wednesday (7/4).

Although the individual risk for most disorders is small, the effects across populations may be large for health and social care systems. As a result, the health care system needs to find resources to address anticipated needs, in both primary and secondary care services.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, there have been concerns that survivors may be at higher risk for neurological disorders. An earlier observational study by the same research group reported that survivors of COVID-19 were at increased risk of mood and anxiety disorders in the first three months after infection.

However, to date, there has been no large-scale data examining the risks of neurological or psychiatric diagnosis within six months of infection with COVID-19.

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The latest study analyzed data from the electronic health records of 236,379 COVID-19 patients from the US-based TriNetX network, which includes more than 81 million people. Patients who were over 10 years old and who were infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus after January 20, 2020, and were still alive on December 13, 2020, were included in the analysis.

This group compared 105,579 patients diagnosed with influenza and 236,038 patients diagnosed with respiratory infections (including influenza).

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