34% of COVID-positive people had their mental health affected

According to a study, several people who suffered from COVID-19 also developed mental disorders such as anxiety and dementia six months after contracting the disease.

Woman wearing a mask and touching her head

According to a study conducted by The Lancet Psychiatry, one in three people diagnosed with Covid-19 suffered a mental or neurological disorder six months after their recovery. Photo: Freepik

LatinAmerican Post | Brandon Martínez Salazar

Listen to this article

Leer en español: 34% de las personas COVID positivo vieron afectadas su salud mental

A study conducted by The Lancet Psychiatry assured that one in three people diagnosed with Covid-19 suffered a mental or neurological disorder six months after their recovery . This is equivalent to 34% of patients treated with coronavirus in the United States, who presented clinical pictures of anxiety and dementia .

Paul Harrison, who led the Oxford University team on the study , analyzed the history of more than 236,379 patients over the age of ten registered in the US TriNetX database and who had contracted coronavirus after a date January 20th 2020 and that they were alive as of December 13th of the same year.

According to the authors of the report, a comparison was made about the evolution of these people with 105,579 who had the flu and 236,038 who suffered from respiratory infections . After examining this data, the researchers were able to confirm that there is a 44% higher risk of being diagnosed with a mental disorder after having coronavirus, compared to those who have had the flu . In addition to 16% more than other respiratory infections.

However, for other reasons, the study highlights that, despite the results obtained in the analysis, further investigation should be carried out, since Covid-19 is directly related to psychiatric illnesses as a consequence of having suffered from it in distinction from other conditions.

In total, there were 80,368 people who presented clinical pictures related to mental health . Fourteen associated disorders were found, of which 17% of the patients suffered anxiety, followed by 14% who presented mood changes and another 5% with insomnia .

For the authors, these neurological examinations are inferior, but not unusual. Of the people who had been in serious condition due to the coronavirus, 0.7% were identified with dementia, 2% with stroke and 0.6% with stroke .

Also read: Coronavirus: third cause of death in 2020

"Although the individual risk for most disorders is low, the effect at the population level can be significant for healthcare, given the scale of the pandemic and that many of the disorders are chronic," says Paul Harrison.

The psychiatrist Max Taquet, at the press conference where the analysis was presented, made it clear that this issue should continue to be studied since the data that has been collected still has limitations and it cannot be established if there were changes later of those six months or other causes of the conditions identified.

Other hypotheses

However, the researchers highlight that these mental disorders found in patients are not necessarily due to the direct action of Covid-19 in the brain, but may be compromised with the personal and social effects of having suffered the disease or the impact of symptoms in those infected.

Neurologist Masud Husain said that, in relation to other studies, the coronavirus can enter the brain, but there is not much evidence that it actually establishes a direct attack on neurons. Although it could cause an inflammation with important consequences in that organ.