60% of COVID-19 survivors develop a mental disorder, study finds

As we learn more about COVID-19, it has become clear that the toll of the virus doesn’t always end after a patient’s fever drops or their cough subsides. From kidney damage to chronic fatigue, the influence of COVID-19 lingers on survivors in many alarming ways. And the coronavirus isn’t just affecting your physical health, it’s also wreaking havoc on your mental health. In fact, a recent study found that 56% of COVID-19 survivors develop a mental disorder after recovering from the virus.

The new study from San Raffaele Hospital in Milan, Italy, looked at 402 patients – 265 men and 137 women – one month after they were discharged from hospital after being treated for COVID-19. Using clinical interviews and self-report questionnaires to assess patients’ symptoms of various mental health disorders, the researchers found that almost 56% of the patients studied “exhibited a clinical score for at least one mental disorder” . The researchers also hypothesize that inflammation plays an important role in the development of these mental disorders in COVID-19 survivors, citing that “the worst inflammation causes[s] to worse depression.”

The results show that COVID-19 not only has the ability to trigger the development of a mental disorder in patients who have never had one before, but that the virus also exacerbates mental disorders in patients who already have one. . “Patients with a positive prior psychiatric diagnosis showed increased scores on most psychopathological measures, with similar baseline inflammation,” the authors wrote.

Many of these mental illnesses are considered “high-burden non-communicable conditions associated with years of life lived with disability”. So not only will COVID-19 survivors have to deal with the effects of the virus on their bodies, but many will also have mental health issues that could stay with them for life. Read on to find out which mental health issues COVID-19 survivors face most often, ranked from least common to most common. And for more persistent coronavirus symptoms, check out These are the coronavirus symptoms you could have forever.


There have been several reports that coronavirus makes OCD worse, but according to this new study, 20% of COVID-19 survivors develop OCD due to the virus.

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Given the trauma that can accompany battling the coronavirus, it’s probably no surprise that 28% of people with COVID-19 in the Italian study had PTSD. And for more on what it’s like to fight the virus, check out: I’m a nurse who hasn’t been sick in years. The coronavirus almost killed me.

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COVID-19 affects the brain in many ways, and depression is one of the ways it can manifest. In the new study, 31% of COVID-19 survivors were found to be clinically depressed. And for more ways the coronavirus sticks with survivors, check out Most People With Severe Coronavirus Can’t Get Rid of These 2 Symptoms.

Woman can't sleep suffering from stressed insomnia

While some people report fatigue from the coronavirus, 40% of COVID-19 survivors in the Italian study suffered from the opposite effect: insomnia. And for more up-to-date information, sign up for our daily newsletter.

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In the study, the most common mental health disorder reported among coronavirus survivors was anxiety, at 42%.

Additionally, the study found that men’s mental health fared far better than women’s. Women were more likely to struggle with both anxiety and depression, “scoring higher on all measures”. And for more on the COVID-19 gender divide, check out This Is Why Coronavirus Is Killing More Men Than Women, New Study Finds.

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