Nearly one-fifth of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) patients presented with a psychiatric diagnosis within 14 to 19 days of being tested positive for the infection, according to a recent Oxford University study published in the medical journal, the Lancet.
It reached this conclusion based on a research conducted on as many as 69 million individuals, 62,354 of whom had Covid-19.
Insomnia, dementia and anxiety disorder were most common among people infected with Covid-19, even if they had no previous psychiatric history. The probability of being diagnosed with dementia was increased after a diagnosis of Covid-19 among patients older than 65 years, the study found.
“Among anxiety disorders, adjustment disorder, generalised anxiety disorder, and, to a lesser extent, post-traumatic stress disorder and panic disorder were the most frequent,” the study said.
According to the study, existing mental health problems put a person at higher risk of Covid-19 infection. “The elevated risk of psychiatric sequelae after Covid-19 diagnosis compared with control health events could not be readily explained by differences in illness severity. Patients with Covid-19 who required in patient admission were at a higher risk of psychiatric sequelae than patients not requiring admission,” the study found.
“Having a diagnosis of psychiatric disorder in the year before the Covid-19 outbreak was associated with a 65% increased risk of Covid-19,” the study said.
However, despite showing increased diagnoses in all major anxiety disorder categories, it was still unclear if patients’ anxiety would have attributes of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
“Our data show increased diagnoses in all major anxiety disorder categories, and it remains unclear whether post-Covid-19 anxiety will have a particular post-traumatic stress disorder-like picture,” the study said.