A new study published in the Lancet Psychiatry found out that one in three people who were severely ill with COVID-19 were diagnosed with a mental health condition.

Mental Health
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A person experiencing a mental health condition.

Patients Critically Sick With COVID-19 May Suffer Mental Health Conditions

According to a new study published in The Lancet Psychiatry, one in every three individuals who were seriously ill due to coronavirus was diagnosed with a neurological or mental illness within six months of diagnosis.

In a recently published article in The Guardian the study, which is the first of its kind, used electronic health reports from 236,379 patients. The majority of the patients were from the United States. The study discovered that 34% of them had mental health or neurological problems as a result. The most prevalent is fear, which affects 17 percent of people.

Strokes and dementia were less frequent but not unheard of among people who had become chronically ill during the outbreak. Seven percent of patients admitted to intensive care had a stroke, and almost two percent were diagnosed with dementia.

The published study also mentioned that these diagnoses were found to be more frequent in Covid-19 patients than in patients who had the flu or respiratory tract infections over the same period.

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Experts Warned of the Results of the New Study

Experts cautioned that healthcare services would need to be re-tooled to deal with the influx of patients, which might be "substantial" considering the pandemic's scope. They believe it would have a long-term effect on healthcare systems.

The lead author of the study Prof Paul Harrison 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 is much rarer, they are significant, especially in those who had severe Covid-19."

He also added that because of the pandemic's size and the fact that all of these diseases are persistent, the impact on health and social care services around the whole community might be important. As a result, healthcare facilities must be resourced to meet the expected demand, both in primary and secondary care settings.

Anxiety disorders (17% of patients), mood disorders (14%), alcohol abuse disorders (7%), and insomnia were the most popular diagnoses following COVID-19 (5%). Neurological effects were less common, with 0.6% having a brain hemorrhage and 0.7% having dementia.

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Views from Other Experts

Co-author of the study Dr. Max Taquet also shared that it is now necessary to wait six months to see what happens. The report does not disclose the processes at work, but it does highlight the need for immediate studies to classify them to deter or handle them.

Dr. Jonathan Rogers, who was not involved in the study, added that both in terms of methodology and consequences, the research looks to the future. Unfortunately, since many of the diseases found in this sample are persistent or recurring, they would expect COVID-19 to have a long-term effect on the community.