Health services alerted to conclusion
One in five COVID-19 patients are diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder such as anxiety or depression within 3 months of testing positive for the virus, new research suggests.
“People have been worried that COVID-19 survivors will be at greater risk of psychiatric disorders, and our findings in a large and detailed study show this to be true,” principal investigator Paul Harrison, BM, DM, professor of psychiatry, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom, said in a statement.
Health services “need to be ready to provide care, especially since our results are likely to be underestimates of the actual number of cases,” said Harrison.
The study also showed that having a psychiatric disorder independently increases the risk of getting COVID-19 ― a finding that’s in line with research published earlier this month.
“Having a psychiatric illness should be added to the list of risk factors for COVID-19,” study co-author Maxime Taquet, PhD, University of Oxford, said in the release.
The study was published online November 9 in The Lancet Psychiatry.
The investigators took advantage of the TriNetX analytics network, which captured de-identified data from electronic health records of a total of 69.8 million patients from 54 healthcare organizations in the United States.
Of those patients, 62,354 adults were diagnosed with COVID-19 between January 20 and August 1, 2020.
To assess the psychiatric sequelae of COVID-19, the investigators created propensity score-matched cohorts of patients who had received a diagnosis of other conditions that represented a range of common acute presentations.
In 14-90 days after being diagnosed with COVID-19, 5.8% of patients received a first recorded diagnosis of psychiatric illness. Among patients with health problems other than COVID, 2.5% to 3.4% of patients received a psychiatric diagnosis, the authors report. The risk was greatest for anxiety disorders, depression, and insomnia.