February 17, 2022

COVID-19 patients at increased risk of mental health disorders

Editor's Note

This study by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine and the Veterans Affairs St Louis Health Care System finds that those who have had COVID-19 were 60% more likely to experience mental health problems for up to a year.

The analysis involved 153,848 patients who survived the first 30 days of COVID-19 infection and two control groups—a contemporary group with no evidence of COVID-19 (5,637,840) and an historical control group that predated COVID-19 (5,859, 251).

Those in the COVID-19 group:

  • were 35% more likely to have anxiety disorders
  • were nearly 40% more likely to experience depressive or stress related disorders
  • had a 55% increase in the use of antidepressants
  • had a 65% increase in use of benzodiazepines to treat anxiety
  • were 41% more likely to have sleep disorders
  • were 80% more likely to have neurocognitive decline, such as forgetfulness, confusion, and lack of focus
  • were 34% more likely to develop opioid use disorders
  • were 20% more likely to develop illicit drug and alcohol use disorders
  • were 46% more likely to have suicidal thoughts.

The risk of mental health disorders was consistently higher in the COVID-19 group admitted to the hospital, but it also was higher in those not admitted to the hospital.

Compared with a group of 72,207 seasonal flu patients, COVID-19 was associated with increased risk of mental health outcomes in those admitted and not admitted to the hospital.

The researchers conclude that tackling mental health disorders in COVID-19 patients should be a priority.


Get OR Manager Updates

Sign Up Now
Latest Issue of OR Manager
October 2023
Video Spotlight
Live chat by BoldChat