One in eight suffer from mental health disorder after receiving coronavirus diagnosis, study reveals

Around one in eight people who test positive for Covid-19 are diagnosed with a mental illness for the first time within six months, a major study has revealed.

The research, published by the University of Oxford, underlines existing evidence linking the pandemic to poor mental wellbeing.

To carry out the study, the researchers analysed the medical records of 236,379 patients who were diagnosed with the coronavirus between January and December 2020 and compared the findings to a separate group diagnosed with the regular flu and another diagnosed with respiratory tract infections.

It was found that over a third (33.6 per cent) of those diagnosed with Covid-19 were also diagnosed with a new or existing neurological or psychiatric condition within six months.

The study also discovered that one in nine patents were diagnosed with a mental illness or other physical illness, such as stroke, while in hospital for Covid-19.

Commenting on the findings, lead author Dr Max Taquet said further research is required to explore how long mental illness persists after suffering from Covid-19.

“I don’t think we have an answer to that question yet,” he said. “For diagnoses like a stroke or an intracranial bleed, the risk does tend to decrease quite dramatically within six months … but for a few neurological and psychiatric diagnoses we don’t have the answer about when it’s going to stop.”

The latest figures suggest that around one in four people in the UK experience a mental health problem each year, with the most common illnesses being anxiety and depression.

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