Having COVID-19 puts you at greater risk of mental health problems, says new study

Jennifer Savin
·2-min read

From Cosmopolitan

With over 1.21 million reported cases of coronavirus in the UK alone, it's likely that by now you'll probably know somebody who has fallen ill with the virus, or maybe even experienced it yourself. Every day we're learning more about the way it operates, with many now sharing their stories of having Long COVID too.

New research is happening all the time, looking at not only the physical effects, but also the mental health implications of becoming poorly – and Oxford University scientists have recently announced that one in every 17 people who've had COVID-19 may be diagnosed with anxiety, depression or insomnia for the first time. The study was published in The Lancet.

Psychiatry professor Paul Harrison, the study's lead author, said those who have had COVID-19 "will be at greater risk of mental health problems". His team garnered their data by analysing over 69 million US patient's health records (62,354 of whom had a diagnosis of COVID-19), which also showed existing psychiatric patients were 65% more likely to be diagnosed with coronavirus.

One theory as to why is that their physical health may also be impacted, or that the medication they take to treat disorders could leave them more open to virus – but at this stage no firm reasons can be given. The research team urged that such patients should be given appropriate care, but said it wasn't necessary for them to be placed on the shielding list.

Photo credit: PM Images - Getty Images
Photo credit: PM Images - Getty Images

Dr Michael Bloomfield, of University College London, hypothesised that the link down to "a combination of the psychological stressors associated with this particular pandemic and the physical effects of the illness", reports the BBC.

Not wanting to sound all doom and gloom – yesterday brought the optimistic news that scientists from Pfizer and BioNTech are close to having a vaccine against coronavirus, but of course, it still needs to go through the final stages of testing before it can be dispensed safely to the public.

The information in this story is accurate as of the publication date. While we are attempting to keep our content as up-to-date as possible, the situation surrounding the coronavirus pandemic continues to develop rapidly, so it's possible that some information and recommendations may have changed since publishing. For any concerns and latest advice, visit the World Health Organisation. If you're in the UK, the National Health Service can also provide useful information and support, while US users can contact the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

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