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One in 16 Covid survivors is diagnosed with fear "within three months of the illness".


According to a study, almost one in five people with Covid-19 receives a psychiatric diagnosis three months after being infected.

And one in 16 Covid-19 survivors will be diagnosed with anxiety, depression, or some other psychiatric disorder for the first time within just three months of the disease ending, scientists have found.

Oxford University researchers said the study of nearly 70 million people in the US confirmed their fears that Covid-19 is linked to poor mental health.

It has also been found that people with an existing mental health problem are at higher risk of getting Covid-19. Experts speculated that this could be because their drugs make it easier for the coronavirus to infect cells.

In people who already had a psychiatric illness, the risk of developing Covid-19 was 65 percent higher than in people who did not have one.

This is the "most surprising" result, claimed the scientists. However, the team warned that it was not so important that this group had to "shield".

Almost 20 percent of Covid survivors had a psychiatric diagnosis within 90 days of their illness, but only six percent of those were new.

The researchers said it is possible that the coronavirus is directly affecting the brain, causing biological changes that have a direct impact on mental health.

However, they admitted that this could also be explained by the fear of the pandemic and the "traumatic experience" with Covid-19 as it is a new and deadly disease that appears to have long-term health consequences.

One in 16 (5.8 percent) of Covid survivors will be diagnosed with a new psychiatric disorder after recovery. This corresponds to 2.8 percent for flu patients

Professor Paul Harrison, the psychiatrist who led the Oxford study, suggests that the link between Covid-19 and psychiatric disorders is a mix of the coronavirus, which has a real impact on the brain, and the impact of the pandemic on the mental one People's health.

He said, "I think the later factor, the Covid environment, the knowledge you had about Covid and the concerns you must have for your future health … I think this is very likely an important factor.

& # 39; Likewise, it is not at all implausible that Covid could have a direct impact on the brain and mental health. But that still has to be demonstrated.

"We don't want anyone to conclude from this study that Covid is directly causing mental health problems."

The study compared Covid-19 to a number of other "health events" that occurred during the pandemic using electronic health records.

These were influenza, “other respiratory infections” such as pneumonia, skin infection, gallstones, kidney stones and a broken bone.

Experts recorded the number of diagnoses among the 62,300 Covid-19 survivors three months after their illness and then compared them to patients with other diseases.

If there were more psychiatric diagnoses in Covid-19 survivors, it would suggest that the disease has a greater impact on mental health than other diseases.

With the help of further analysis, the team was able to find out how strong the association was due to the impact on the pandemic or the coronavirus itself.

Professor Harrison said, "The bottom line is that a diagnosis of Covid is about twice the likelihood of getting a psychiatric diagnosis compared to any other health event we have measured."

Thoughts of suicide have tripled

The number of people seeking help with thoughts of suicide has increased dramatically since the initial lockdown, an investigation found.

Psychiatrists warned the UK of a "mental health pandemic" claiming that NHS services were already "overcrowded" with hundreds of patients.

And medical professionals expect to have to deal with another “tsunami” of cases in the coming months after the introduction of the second lockdown.

Analysis by Rethink Mental Illness found that the number of people who reached out to their website in support of suicidal thoughts tripled in the first six months of the lockdown, rising to 232,271 by August, compared to 80,298 in the six Months ago.

Loneliness, unemployment and post-traumatic stress, triggered by the nationwide shutdown, have led to the increase, according to experts.

According to Rethink Mental Illness, visits to the counseling sites have doubled in the six months since the lockdown, rising from 829,000 in the previous six months to 1.69 million.

Dr. Adrian James, president of the RCP, said The Telegraph's mental health services are "way too hot" and some patients travel hundreds of miles to receive treatment.

& # 39; We ran with our fur full. Our services before Covid were already stretched. All signs point to a sharp rise in mental illness as a result of the pandemic – we call this the tsunami.

It comes after 90 mental health experts wrote to the government warning that the second lockdown will have a devastating impact on people's mental health.

In an open letter to the government, they said: "The lockdown is intended to prevent Covid's death.

"But it is also certain that more deaths will occur, not only from other physical illnesses like cancer, but also from alcoholism, addiction and suicide – which have already risen sharply this year."

"It will also lead to intense loneliness and depression, and in the elderly, these are killers closely linked to poor physical health."

According to a survey of nearly 700 members by the Royal College of Psychiatrists, six in ten were dealing with more emergencies than before the pandemic, The Telegraph reported.

The NHS figures also showed that July, the last date data is available, saw a record number of emergency and emergency referrals in July, the date data is available. 2,276 more than at the same time last year.

And the London Ambulance Service has seen a 68 percent increase in suicides and attempted suicide since the lockdown on March 23.

A spokesman said their crews were visiting 37 such cases a day in October, compared with 22 at the same time last year. Five years ago they attended 17 daily.

About 5.8 percent of Covid-19 patients had a new diagnosis – twice as many as 2.5 to 3.4 percent of patients in the other groups who received a new psychiatric diagnosis after illness.

Another 12.3 percent of Covid-19 patients had a relapse into a psychiatric disorder from their past.

The researchers couldn't explain why the coronavirus "triggered" a pre-existing disorder to return.

Professor Harris said, "The simple answer is that we don't know why the people who have relapsed did this (when others didn't). It is possible that Covid-19 was acting as a stressor, and we know that stressful life events in general, but not always, can lead to new episodes of depression and anxiety. & # 39;

Overall, the incidence of a psychiatric diagnosis three months after the Covid 19 diagnosis was almost one in five (18.1 percent).

It is comparable to 13 percent after influenza, 14.1 percent after another respiratory infection, 14.8 percent after a skin infection, 15.1 percent after gallstones, 13.7 percent after kidney stones and 12.7 percent after a bone fracture.

Professor Harrison said, “People were concerned that Covid-19 survivors were at higher risk for mental health problems, and our results in a large and detailed study show that it is likely.

“Services have to be ready to provide care, especially since our results are likely to underestimate the actual number of cases. We urgently need research to investigate the causes and identify new treatments. & # 39;

The most common diagnosis was for anxiety disorders (12.8 percent), which include general anxiety, panic attacks, PTSD, and social anxiety. Mood disorders followed (9.9 percent), which included depression and, to a much lesser extent, bipolar disorder.

There was a low probability of diagnosing a psychotic disorder (0.9 percent relapse and 0.1 percent new), including schizophrenia.

The researchers said Covid-19 patients may have had more intense concerns about death or long-term health problems than from other illnesses, which could explain the higher rate of mental illness.

Dr. Max Taquet, who carried out the analyzes, said: “There is a strong possibility that people will have psychiatric consequences after Covid because you believe that dying from Covid is a threat. That has traumatic consequences. & # 39;

However, the study didn't just include patients in the hospital who might have feared they might die. People with mild illnesses who were at the same high risk of being diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder were also examined.

The researchers add that the pandemic "likely plays a role" in driving psychiatric disorders in Covid-19 patients.

Dr. Taquet said, "It is not enough to explain the whole story." Professor Harris added, “There is still something left of Covid-19.

"I certainly wouldn't disagree that part of what we found is the non-specific effects of the pandemic, and part of the numbers is related to the impact of a health condition on your mental health three months later.

"But beyond any portion that explains this, there is clearly an effect of Covid that cannot be explained by any of these analyzes that we have tried to try to completely eliminate the effect of Covid."

The study also found diagnoses of dementia skyrocketed; Around 1.6 percent of the survivors said they suffered from a memory-robbing disease.

Professor Harris said some of these patients may already have had dementia, but doctors weren't made aware of this until they contracted Covid-19.

But he added that it was "not unlikely" that the virus "affects the brain through inflammation or by affecting blood vessels in the brain."

The other part of the study looked at whether people who already had a psychiatric disorder were at a higher risk of getting Covid-19.

It found that a diagnosis of a psychiatric disorder in the year before the pandemic was linked to a 65 percent increased risk of Covid-19.

It did so even after considering other Covid-19 risk factors these people may have had, such as: B. Obesity or high blood pressure.

The incidence of a psychiatric diagnosis in the 14 to 90 days after the Covid-19 diagnosis (orange line) was almost one in five (18.1 percent). This compared with 13 percent after influenza (upper, blue line) and 14.1 percent after a further infection of the respiratory tract (lower, green line)

The incidence of a psychiatric diagnosis in the 14 to 90 days after the Covid-19 diagnosis (orange line) was almost one in five (18.1 percent). This compared with 13 percent after influenza (upper, blue line) and 14.1 percent after another respiratory infection (lower, green line)

The overall risk of a new psychiatric disorder (left), a depressive disorder (middle) and an anxiety disorder (right) in both Covid-19 patients (orange) and flu patients (blue)

The overall risk of a new psychiatric disorder (left), a depressive disorder (center) and an anxiety disorder (right) in both Covid-19 patients (orange) and flu patients (blue)

The overall risk of a new psychiatric disorder (left), a depressive disorder (center) and an anxiety disorder (right) in both Covid-19 patients (orange) and patients with respiratory infections (green)

The overall risk of a new psychiatric disorder (left), a depressive disorder (center) and an anxiety disorder (right) in both Covid-19 patients (orange) and patients with respiratory infections (green)

Dr. Taquet said: We thought this was important because it suggests that this population may be more vulnerable.

& # 39; This finding was unexpected and needs to be investigated. In the meantime, a psychiatric disorder should be added to the list of risk factors for Covid-19. & # 39;

However, the researchers didn't say the risk found was sufficient to justify adding people with mental health problems to the list of more than 2 million people in England to be eligible for protection.

Professor Harris added, "One possibility is that the biology of a psychiatric disorder, or the treatment or drugs that make you more at risk, may have implications."

It could also be something much more indirect, like people with mental health problems being more likely to smoke – which can increase their risk for Covid-19.

Dr. Michael Bloomfield, Counseling Psychiatrist at University College London (UCL), said: “This well-conducted study adds to growing body of evidence that COVID increases the risk of a range of psychiatric conditions, including post-traumatic stress disorder.

"More resources need to be freed up immediately so that NHS services can meet patient needs and researchers can better understand the relationship between COVID and mental illness."

David Curtis, a retired consulting psychiatrist and honorary professor at University College London and Queen Mary University of London, said: "It is difficult to judge the significance of these findings.

"These psychiatric diagnoses are often made when people are present with doctors, and it may not be surprising that this is a little more common in people with Covid-19 who understandably feared and have been seriously unwell enduring a period of isolation. & # 39;

He said the finding that people with a psychiatric disorder who are at higher risk of developing Covid-19 was "not unexpected" as it was with other physical health problems.

Professor Sir Simon Wessely, a Regius Professor of Psychiatry at King & # 39; s College London, agreed.

He said: “We know from previous pandemics (e.g. influenza, SARS) that, for example, depression before infection increases the risk of depression after infection. It would have been very surprising if this hadn't been the case with Covid-19.

& # 39; Covid-19 affects the central nervous system and can therefore directly aggravate subsequent disorders.

"But this research confirms that that's not the whole story."

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