Health

COVID-19 Patients More Susceptible to Mental Illness, Study Suggests

Again, medical and scientific experts have sounded the alarm, wanting people to understand that COVID-19 is not the flu or a common cold, and recovery may not be permanent.

According to a new study, 20 percent of recovering coronavirus patients develop mental illness within 90 days.

Researchers at Oxford University in Great Britain noted that first-time diagnosis of anxiety, depression, and insomnia increased twofold in patients after they’ve recovered from COVID-19.

Further, they discovered that COVID-19 survivors also found 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,” Paul Harrison, a professor of psychiatry at Oxford, told Reuters.

“[Health] services need to be ready to provide care, especially since our results are likely to be underestimates [of the number of psychiatric patients],” he added.

The study, published in The Lancet Psychiatry journal, analyzed electronic health records of 69 million people in the U.S., including more than 62,000 cases of COVID-19.

The findings are likely to be the same for those afflicted by COVID-19 worldwide, the Oxford researchers noted, according to Reuters.

In the three months following testing positive for COVID, 1 in 5 survivors was recorded as having a first-time diagnosis of anxiety, depression, or insomnia – about twice as likely as for other groups of patients in the same period, the researchers said.

The study further revealed that people with a pre-existing mental illness were 65 percent more likely to be diagnosed with COVID-19 than those without.

As of Wednesday, more than 10 million Americans have been diagnosed with the coronavirus, and over 240,000 have died.

African Americans comprise more than 20 percent of the total deaths in the U.S.

Blacks and other communities of color continue to suffer disproportionately from the economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Urban Institute.

Over one-quarter of adults in Black households surveyed between August 19-31 used savings or sold assets to meet economic needs on the previous week.

Twenty-four percent of Black adults lived in households that were behind on rent payments. And approximately one-third of African Americans shared a home with someone expected to lose employment income this month.

“COVID-19 affects the central nervous system, and so might directly increase subsequent disorders,” Simon Wessely, Regius professor at King’s College London, told Reuters. “But this research confirms that is not the whole story and that this risk is increased by previous ill health.”

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Stacy M. Brown

I’ve worked for the Daily News of Los Angeles, the L.A. Times, Gannet and the Times-Tribune and have contributed to the Pocono Record, the New York Post and the New York Times. Television news opportunities have included: NBC, MSNBC, Scarborough Country, the Abrams Report, Today, Good Morning America, NBC Nightly News, Imus in the Morning and Anderson Cooper 360. Radio programs like the Wendy Williams Experience, Tom Joyner Morning Show and the Howard Stern Show have also provided me the chance to share my views.

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