The most important study dealing with the impact of Covid-19 on mental health has been published recently. According to the researchers, one in three patients suffers from neurological or psychological disorders after recovering from the coronavirus. If the most recurring problems are not the most serious, the researchers have nonetheless evoked a third wave of psychiatry.
The largest study on the subject
Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, doctors have sometimes reported neurological and psychiatric sequelae in cured patients. However, data to assess the effects of the coronavirus on the brain was lacking. According to a study published in The Lancet Psychatry on April 6, 2021, one in three patients was diagnosed with neurological or psychiatric disorders within six months of infection. The team at the University of Oxford (United Kingdom) behind this work examined medical data from 236,379 former patients of the coronavirus. This is the largest study to date on the effects of coronavirus on the brain.
Among the most frequent diagnoses, we find anxiety (17%) and mood disorders (14%). In addition, more serious disorders are much less frequent, such as stroke (2.1%), dementia (0.7%) or cerebral hemorrhages (0.6%). Small precision which is important, these results do not concern not just severe cases or requiring hospitalization. They also concern the simple forms of the disease.
A third wave of psychological disorders?
British scientists also looked at data from more than 100,000 patients diagnosed with the flu. They also took into account information from more than 236,000 patients diagnosed with respiratory infections. However, the risk of neurological or psychiatric diagnoses was overall 44% higher after Covid-19 than after influenza and 16% more than after respiratory tract infection. For researchers, the risk at the individual level of most of these neurological and psychiatric disorders remains low. However, they did mention a possibly considerable effect for health systems, simply because of the scale of the pandemic.
In addition, many of these disorders are chronic so the effects of the coronavirus could last for many years. Thus, the scientists of the study argue for adaptation and thus endow health systems with resources in order to face the needs in order to take charge of everyone during what already seems to be a third wave of psychiatric order.