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New study suggests that having COVID-19 increases a person’s risk of developing psychiatric disorders, and that having a psychiatric disorder increases the chance of getting COVID-19. The study, published in The Lancet Psychiatry, used the TriNetX electronic health records of 69 million people in the USA including over 62,000 cases of COVID-19.

Facemask and open lock with lockdown written on it and a world map etched into it.

Researchers at the University of Oxford, Department of Psychiatry and NIHR Oxford Health Biomedical Research Centre, report the first large-scale evidence that COVID-19 survivors are at an increased risk of psychiatric disorders. 

  • Almost 1 in 5 people diagnosed with COVID-19 receive a psychiatric diagnosis within the next 3 months
  • 1 in 4 of these people had not had a psychiatric diagnosis before COVID-19
  • Patients with existing psychiatric disorders might be more likely to get COVID-19

In the 3 months following testing positive for COVID-19, 1 in 5 survivors were found to get a diagnosis of anxiety, depression, or insomnia, for the first time. This is about twice as likely as for other groups of patients over the same period. A diagnosis of dementia may also be commoner. COVID-19 was also associated with more new psychiatric diagnoses in people who already had a history of psychiatric problems. Overall, almost 20 per cent of people received a psychiatric diagnosis within 90 days of getting COVID-19. 

The full story is available on the Department of Psychiatry website