BMJ Study, Health News, ET HealthWorld
More than 403 million people worldwide and 77 million in the United States have been infected with the virus since the start of the pandemic.
“To put this into perspective, COVID-19 infections likely contributed to more than 14.8 million new cases of mental health disorders worldwide and 2.8 million in the United States,” the author said. principal of the study, Ziyad Al-Aly, referring to the data of the study.
“Our calculations do not take into account the countless number of people, probably millions, who are suffering in silence due to mental health stigma or a lack of resources or support,” said Al-Aly, clinical epidemiologist at the University of Washington.
Researchers used data from the US Department of Veterans Affairs National Health Care Databases to estimate the risk of mental health problems among people who survived at least 30 days after a positive PCR test result between March 2020 and January 2021.
They compared mental health outcomes in the COVID-19 dataset with two other groups of people not infected with the virus: a control group of more than 5.6 million patients who did not have COVID-19 during the same period; and a control group of more than 5.8 million patients from March 2018 to January 2019, well before the start of the pandemic.
The majority of study participants were older white men.
However, due to its large size, the study included more than 1.3 million women, more than 2.1 million black participants, and a large number of people of various ages.
The Covid-19 group was further divided into those who were or were not admitted to hospital during the acute phase of infection.
Information was also collected on potentially influencing factors, including age, race, gender, lifestyle and medical history.
The researchers then followed the three groups for a year to estimate the risks of predefined mental health outcomes, including anxiety, depression and stress disorders, substance use disorders, neurocognitive decline and disorders. some sleep.
Compared to the uninfected control group, people with COVID-19 showed a 60% higher risk of any mental health diagnosis or prescription at one year.
When researchers looked at mental health disorders separately, they found that Covid-19 was associated with 24 in 1,000 more people with sleep disorders at one year, 15 in 1,000 with depressive disorders, 11 in 1,000 with neurocognitive decline and 4 in 1,000 with any substance use disorder.
Similar results were found when the Covid-19 group was compared to the historical control group.
The risks were highest in people admitted to hospital during the initial stage of Covid-19, but were evident even among those who were not admitted to hospital.
People with Covid-19 also showed higher risks of mental health disorders than those with seasonal flu, the researchers said.
People admitted to hospital for Covid-19 showed increased risks of mental health disorders compared to those admitted to hospital for any other reason, they said.
The researchers cautioned that this was an observational study, so cannot establish cause, while acknowledging that misclassification bias may have occurred.
The study included mostly older white men, so the findings may not apply to other groups, they added.
Research suggests that people who survive the acute phase of Covid-19 are at increased risk of developing a range of incident mental health conditions, and that tackling mental health conditions in survivors of the disease should be a priority.