At least one in three people passing by Covid-19, show a coronavirus-related mental or neurological disorder within the next six months of the initial infection, according to a new British-American scientific study.
The probability of a psychiatric or neurological diagnosis - either for the first time or due to recurrence - is higher in those who have had a severe Covid-19, but is not limited to them. Such a diagnosis is also more common after a coronavirus infection than after the flu or other respiratory infections. This, according to scientists, shows that Covid-19 leaves a greater psycho-neurological imprint due probably to the increased stress caused by the disease, but also to the direct impact of the coronavirus on the brain.
The most common psychological symptom after Covid-19 is the anxiety disorder (in 17% of patients in general and in 19% of those admitted to the ICU) followed by depression (14%), substance abuse (7%) and insomnia (5%). In the neurological field, 2% of patients had ischemic stroke, a rate that increases to 7% after hospitalization in an intensive care unit (ICU) and to 9% for those who had developed delirium. Nearly 1% of patients were diagnosed with dementia within the next six months of discharge, a rate that rises to 2% for those who needed ICU treatment. The incidence of psychotic disorder was almost 3% for those who had undergone ICU.
The researchers, led by Oxford University professor of psychiatry Paul Harrison, who published the study in the medical journal The Lancet Psychiatry, analyzed data from 236.379 patients. Covid-19 in the United States over the age of ten, comparing the likelihood of developing 14 neurological and mental disorders in them, compared with 106.000 people who had the flu and 236.000 who contracted other respiratory infections.
It was found that, six months after infection Covid-19, 34% of patients had developed a mental or neurological disorder, of which 13% for the first time. The percentage was slightly higher (38%) for those who had been hospitalized and even higher (46%), ie almost half, for those who had been admitted to the ICU.
Researchers estimate that there is a 44% higher risk of neurological or mental disorder after Covid-19 than after the flu and 16% higher risk than other respiratory infections.
"Although the individual risks after Covid-19 "For most disorders they are small, the impact on the whole population can be significant for public health and welfare systems, given the scale of the pandemic and the fact that many of these diseases are chronic," he said. Χάρισον.
Neurology professor Massoud Hussein of Oxford told the BBC that there was evidence that coronavirus penetrated the brain where it caused immediate damage, but could also have indirect effects, such as increasing the risk of thrombosis and stroke or exacerbating general inflammation in the body. which also has consequences for the brain.
Professor Till Wicks of the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at King's College London (King's) said: "The study confirms our suspicions that the diagnosis Covid-19 is not only associated with respiratory symptoms but also with psychiatric and neurological problems. These subsequent effects may occur much later than expected, which is not surprising for those suffering from the "long Covid-19”. "Although, as expected, the effects are more serious for those admitted to hospital, the study also shows that there may be serious problems for those who have not been hospitalized."
Link to the scientific publication: