COVID infection increases risk of anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder

2022-05-16 21:52:27
COVID infection increases risk of anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder

COVID-19 typically causes symptoms similar to influenza, such as fever, sore throat, shortness of breath, body aches, and headache.

With COVID-19, however, some people also experience long-term effects. The novel coronavirus can affect many body systems and organs, including the heart, kidneys, and brain.

It can also cause psychiatric conditions such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and dementia.

A new study published in the journal Psychiatry reports that people with severe COVID-19 and other severe respiratory infections (SARI) are more at risk of developing a neuropsychiatric illness within 12 months of their condition.

Researchers looked at new mental health diagnoses that included anxiety, dementia, psychosis, depression, and bipolar disorder.

The researchers examined medical records of people who were discharged after COVID-19 or SARI-related hospital admission. Starting from a pool of 8 million people, scientists looked at medical records from 16,679 hospital discharges from a SARI and 32,525 from a COVID-19 hospitalization.

The researchers reported that for people who’ve had COVID-19 or SARI, the risk of developing neuropsychiatric illnesses within 12 months of hospital discharge was higher than those hospitalized for other medical conditions.

However, when comparing the results of COVID-19 and SARI, the researchers found similar results indicating that severe respiratory infections could result in a mental health diagnosis even after recovery.

“It is important to note that the people in this study had severe enough infections to require hospitalization,” Dr. Alex Dimitriu, a psychiatrist with expertise in sleep medicine, told Healthline.

“Hospitalization often means things got clinically bad enough to require a hospital stay – and this often means hypoxia, sepsis, or other illness symptoms that became severe. When the body is that sick, there are certainly impacts on the brain – from infection, inflammation, or low oxygen, and these can be damaging to brain tissue.”

A study published in February 2022 found similar associations between COVID-19 recovery and mental health diagnoses.

This study looked at 153,848 medical records for veterans in the United States who tested positive for COVID-19. Researchers compared those veterans with the medical records of 5 million veterans with no evidence of COVID-19 and a control group of close to 6 million veterans before the pandemic.

The researchers reported there was a significant increase in mental health diagnoses in the group who had COVID-19 even among those who did not require hospitalization.

Experts say the first step is to realize that mental health issues are real. They say people should be warned of mental health symptoms in people after they’ve recovered from COVID-19.

Experts also say the best place to start when seeking help for mental health issues is with your family doctor.

A primary care physician can typically complete initial screening and provide referrals to mental health specialists. If you don’t have a family doctor, reach out to mental health organizations that can give you the name of providers in your area.


Error! Error occured!