COVID-19 survivors at increased risk of psychiatric sequelae, finds study
Researchers have recently found out that the survivors of COVID-19 appear to be at increased risk of psychiatric sequelae and a psychiatric diagnosis might be an independent risk factor for COVID-19, according to the study published in The Lancet.
From the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, concerns have been raised about its effect on mental health and on patients with mental illness. Yet several months later, there is little evidence about the mental health consequences of COVID-19 (its psychiatric sequelae) and the susceptibility of patients with mental illness to COVID-19 (its psychiatric antecedents).
Adverse mental health consequences of COVID-19, including anxiety and depression, have been widely predicted but not yet accurately measured. There are a range of physical health risk factors for COVID-19, but it is not known if there are also psychiatric risk factors. However, cohort studies of patients with COVID-19 with adequate control groups and follow-up are urgently needed to quantify the incidence and relative risks of psychiatric sequelae after infection.
Hence, Maxime Taquet and colleagues from the Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford, Warneford Hospital, Oxford, UK conducted an electronic health record network cohort study using data from 69 million individuals, 62 354 of whom had a diagnosis of COVID-19. They assessed whether a diagnosis of COVID-19 (compared with other health events) was associated with increased rates of subsequent psychiatric diagnoses, and whether patients with a history of psychiatric illness are at a higher risk of being diagnosed with COVID-19.
The authors used propensity score matching to control for confounding by risk factors for COVID-19 and for the severity of illness. They also measured the incidence of and hazard ratios (HRs) for psychiatric disorders, dementia, and insomnia, during the first 14 to 90 days after a diagnosis of COVID-19.
The following findings were noted-
- The incidence of any psychiatric diagnosis in the 14 to 90 days after COVID-19 diagnosis was 18·1% including 5·8% that was a first diagnosis.
- The incidence of the first diagnosis of dementia in the 14 to 90 days after COVID-19 diagnosis was 1·6% in people older than 65 years.
- A psychiatric diagnosis in the previous year was associated with a higher incidence of COVID-19 diagnosis.
Hence, the researchers inferred that "survivors of COVID-19 appear to be at increased risk of psychiatric sequelae and a psychiatric diagnosis might be an independent risk factor for COVID-19. Although preliminary, the findings have implications for clinical services and prospective cohort studies are warranted."