A study done by Oregon State University in the United States found that people who have recovered from Covid-19 have a 25% higher risk of developing a psychiatric disorder in the four months after infection, compared to people who have other respiratory tract infections. .
The authors warn of the need for patients and healthcare professionals to be more proactive when it comes to dealing with mental health issues following infection with the novel coronavirus.
In work published in the journal World Psychiatry, researchers analyzed data from the National Covid Cohort Collaborative (N3C), which included 46,610 individuals. Of these, a part tested positive for Covid-19, while others, used as a control group, were diagnosed with other respiratory tract infections.
The psychiatric diagnoses considered occurred in two periods: from 21 to 120 days after Covid-29 and from 120 to 365 days after the positive result for the disease. Only patients with no previous diagnosis of the disease were included.
The results showed that 3.8% of patients with Covid-19 had a psychiatric disorder in this period, compared to 3% for patients with other respiratory tract infections. The 0.8% difference equates to an increased relative risk of about 25%. The correlation held only for anxiety disorders, but not for mood disorders.
The new study confirms previous research and has as positive points the large sample size and the fact that this cohort of data is drawn from all over the country. Lauren Chan, co-author of the study, warns of the need for patients to be aware of their mental health after Covid-19 and to seek help, in the presence of symptoms. And also for healthcare professionals to screen for these psychiatric conditions in people who have recovered from the disease.