By VOA News
A study conducted by Britain’s Oxford University suggests COVID-19 can increase a person’s risk of developing a psychiatric disorder within three months of catching the virus.
The study, published Monday in the Lancet Psychiatry Journal, indicates one in five surviving COVID-19 patients was found to be diagnosed with a mental disorder within 90 days of a positive coronavirus test. The researchers say that is about twice the normal rate.
The most common disorders diagnosed were anxiety, depression and insomnia, while patients were also found to have significantly higher risks for dementia.
One of the researchers on the study, Oxford professor of psychiatry Paul Harrison, said the study confirms common fears about the virus. “People have been worried that COVID-19 survivors will be at greater risk of mental health problems, and our findings …show this to be likely.”
Harrison suggested health services need to be prepared to deal with new mental health cases and doctors and researchers around the world urgently need to investigate the causes and identify new treatments for mental illness.
The researchers also found that people with a pre-existing psychiatric diagnosis were 65 percent more likely to be diagnosed with COVID-19 than those without, even when the known risk factors for the virus were considered.
For their study, researchers reportedly examined electronic health records of 69 million people in the United States including over 62,000 cases of COVID-19.