COVID-19 Survivors May Develop Mental Illness Later

Over time, we’re finding that the adverse health effects of COVID-19 don’t necessarily end when a patient no longer has an active infection. In fact, according to a new study from the medical journal The Lancet Psychiatry, one in five COVID-19 survivors develop a mental illness a short time after being diagnosed.

Did the study find a link between COVID-19 and mental illness? 

The study’s data included the health records of nearly 70 million people in the U.S. Among the cases analyzed, more than 62,000 were patients with confirmed positive cases of COVID-19. When reviewing the aftermath of the three months following a diagnosis, 20% received a mental illness diagnosis – with 6% being diagnosed for the first time. 

Those with an existing mental illness are more likely to be diagnosed with COVID-19 as well, by as much as 65%. This could be due to common conditions seen among those with psychiatric disorders, including obesity, hypertension and diabetes. 

What kind of diagnoses were most commonly found?

The mental health effects of COVID-19 were prevalent in the study. The illnesses most commonly found among the patients were anxiety, depression and insomnia. Compared to patients without a previous COVID-19 infection, these patients were two times more likely to struggle with mental illness. For those who had been hospitalized as a result of the coronavirus, the numbers were even higher.

Other patients report ongoing issues with short-term memory loss and mental fog following COVID-19 – even those who had otherwise mild infections. While experts aren’t entirely sure why COVID-19 causes brain fog, they believe it might be based on early data that shows the virus can invade the brain and nearby areas. Even symptoms like loss of smell could be an indicator of this, as the nerves linked to your sense of smell are directly connected to the brain. 

What to do if you’re a COVID survivor 

Even months after an infection, COVID-19 survivors can develop a mental illness. If you’ve previously had a COVID-19 infection, and you’re experiencing new or existing mental health symptoms, know that you’re not alone. We’re here to help you navigate any long-haul concerns from COVID-19, from connecting you to mental health services to providing expert treatment when you need it. Avail Hospital is open 24/7/365, and we know how to provide the care that you need to heal.

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