A large proportion of people who have recovered from the deadly novel coronavirus are likely to be at a greater risk of developing mental illness. According to the study conducted by Oxford University, 20 per cent of people who are infected with COVID-19 are diagnosed with a mental health disorder within 3 months.
Anxiety, insomnia and depression were among the most commonly reported mental health conditions among coronavirus patients. Oxford researchers also discovered significantly higher risks of dementia. "People have been worried that COVID-19 survivors will be at greater risk of mental health problems, and our findings... show this to be likely," according to Paul Harrison, a psychiatry professor at Oxford.
The study took into consideration the electronic health records of 69 million people in the US, which included more than 62,000 COVID-19 cases. The findings in this research are likely to be applicable to those affected by COVID-19 globally. In 3 months after testing positive for COVID-19, one in five survivors were reported as having a first time diagnosis of anxiety, depression or insomnia. This was 50 per cent more likely for other groups of patients in the same period.
Harrison said that it was imperative for doctors and scientists to urgently investigate the causes and identify new treatments for mental illnesses post COVID-19. Researchers also found that people with a pre-existing mental health condition were 65 per cent more likely to be diagnosed with COVID-19 than those without, according to a Reuters report.
Meanwhile, more than 51 million coronavirus cases and over 1.2 million fatalities have been reported globally, with the US reporting the highest number of infections at over 10 million and 245,799 deaths.