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mental health impact High rates of psychiatric disorders in Covid-19 survivors, study finds

A new study showed one in three Covid-19 survivors received a neurological or psychiatric diagnosis within six months of infection with the virus.





High rates of psychiatric disorders are being diagnosed in people who have caught Covid-19, a major study reveals today.

It comes as nine more Covid-related deaths were reported in Ireland and 443 more people were diagnosed with the virus yesterday.

Yesterday’s cases included 208 in Dublin, 32 in Cork, 24 in Kildare, 20 in Meath, 17 in Donegal with the remaining 142 spread across 19 other counties.

A new study, the largest to date, showed one in three Covid-19 survivors received a neurological or psychiatric diagnosis within six months of infection with the virus.

The findings are contained in an observational study of more than 230,000 patient health records published in The Lancet Psychiatry journal.

The study looked at 14 neurological and mental health disorders.

Professor Paul Harrison, lead author of the study, from the University of Oxford, UK, said: “These are real-world data from a large number of patients.

“They confirm the high rates of psychiatric diagnoses after Covid-19 and show that serious disorders affecting the ­nervous system such as stroke and dementia occur too.

“While the latter are much rarer, they are significant, especially in those who had severe Covid-19. Although the individual risks for most disorders are small, the effect across the whole population may be substantial for health and social care systems due to the scale of the pandemic and that many of these conditions are chronic.

“As a result, healthcare systems need to be resourced to deal with the anticipated need, both within primary and ­secondary care services.”

Since the Covid-19 pandemic began, there has been growing concern that survivors might be at increased risk of neurological disorders.

A previous observational study by the same researchers reported that Covid-19 survivors are at increased risk of mood and anxiety disorders in the first three months after infection.

However, until now, there have been no large-scale data examining the risks of neurological as well as psychiatric diagnoses in the six months after Covis-19 infection.

This new study analysed 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 older than 10 years and who became infected with the virus after January 20 last year, and were still alive on December 13 last were included in the analysis.

This group was compared with 105,579 patients diagnosed with influenza and 236,038 patients diagnosed with any respiratory tract infection.

Overall, the estimated incidence of being diagnosed with a neurological or mental health disorder following Covid-19 infection was 34pc.

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Irish Independent