As many as one in three people infected with Covid-19 have longer term mental health or neurological symptoms, researchers reported Tuesday.
They found 34% of Covid-19 survivors received a diagnosis for a neurological or psychological condition within six months of their infection, according to the study published Tuesday in the journal Lancet Psychiatry.
The most common diagnosis was anxiety, found in 17% of those treated for Covid-19, followed by mood disorders, found in 14% of patients.
And while the neurological effects are more severe in hospitalized patients, they are still common in those who were only treated as outpatients, the researchers note.
“That rate increased progressively as the severity of the Covid-19 illness increased. If we look at patients who were hospitalized that rate increased to 39%,” said Maxime Taquet, an academic clinical fellow in psychiatry at the University of Oxford, and a co-author of the new study.
“Our results indicate that brain diseases and psychiatric disorders are more common after COVID-19 than after flu or other respiratory infections, even when patients are matched for other risk factors. We now need to see what happens beyond six months. The study cannot reveal the mechanisms involved, but does point to the need for urgent research to identify these, with a view to preventing or treating them,” Taquet added.
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