Study Shows COVID-19 Has Adverse Effect On Mental Health 2 Years Post-Infection

The study found that risk profiles and trajectories vary in children compared with adults and older adults, and differ between variants of COVID-19.

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A group of researchers conducted a study on how COVID-19 is associated with the heightened risk of mental illness and brain disorders

In a recent study published in The Lancet Psychiatry, researchers collected data from electronic health records of 1.25 million people infected with COVID-19 from different countries, including the US, Australia, Malaysia, and Taiwan. Most of the patients are Americans.

The patients consisted of adults aged 18 to 65 years and children aged under 18.

The researchers tracked major brain and psychiatric diagnoses of these patients for up to two years.

The findings of the study suggested that after COVID-19 infection, some risks that increase are temporary

The patients were found to have had a higher risk of common psychiatric disorders such as anxiety and depression post-infection, but the risk rapidly subsided.

Children, however, did not have an increased risk of these disorders at any stage of infection.

Besides, ex-COVID-19 patients were found to not have a high risk of getting Parkinson's disease.

On another note, results also showed that some diseases have a sustained risk after COVID-19 infection

Even while they were generally still low, the chances of developing certain illnesses, such as psychosis, seizures or epilepsy, brain fog, and dementia, increased during the course of the two years following the COVID-19 infection.

Researchers also found that there was an ongoing risk of psychosis and seizures in children who were infected by COVID-19.

Although the results showed that the current delta variation is far more severe than the omicron variant, survivors continued to have a similar risk of developing neurological and mental disorders.

"However, given how recently omicron emerged, the data we have for people who were infected with this variant only goes up to about five months after infection. So the picture may change," wrote one of the researchers, Paul Harrison, in The Conversation.

However, it is important to note that the study has a few drawbacks

There is a potential for the researchers to have missed the people who were infected by COVID-19 but did not have any symptoms, hence were not being included in their health records.

Harrison also noted, "We cannot fully account for the effect of vaccination because we didn’t have complete information about vaccination status."

Some of the patients had COVID-19 before the vaccines were available.

The risks observed are also in relation to those who have had other respiratory infections, without taking those who did not have an infection into account.

"We also don’t know how severe or long-lasting the disorders were," Harrison added.

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