It is worth emphasizing that the research did not involve questioning people who had had Covid-19 (which could give false results because many people do not want to admit to strangers that they have mental problems), but a huge database of patients. They show that convalescents report anxiety, depression or insomnia twice as often as people suffering from other diseases. "Many people feared that Covid-19 survivors would be at increased risk of developing mental illness, and unfortunately our large and detailed research suggests that they are," explains study cinemascanner Paul Harrison.
The team of scientists has analyzed 70 million medical records, of which 62,000 covid patients. Within 90 days of being tested positive for coronavirus, 18.1% of them have been diagnosed with some type of mental illness - anxiety, memory problems, depression and insomnia are some of them. To show that the relationship between Covid-19 and mental problems is not typical, scientists also created control groups of people suffering from other conditions, such as the flu, skin infections, kidney stones and bone fractures, because, of course, fighting any disease affects our mental health, so understanding why Covid-19 is unique in this regard is key.
The conclusions of these studies, however, are difficult to interpret unequivocally - on the one hand, a clear picture of certain threats to convalescent emerges, which may depend on the severity of the course of the disease, the length of isolation and all its consequences, and, on the other hand, it is with every pandemic because they have their own rules. This is what Simon Wessely of King's College London suggests, but it also does not exclude such a connection with Covid-10 itself: - Covid-19 affects the central nervous system, so it may directly increase susceptibility to further diseases. However, these studies show that this is not a complete story and that this risk is increased by prior illness, she adds.
In the new study, scientists indicate that while they currently do not know the physiological mechanism linking Covid-19 to an increased risk of mental illness, the results clearly indicate that something is up and urgent. Whatever the cause, it seems clear that Covid-19 will inevitably trigger a higher risk of mental illness in the months and years ahead, so healthcare must be prepared for it, they explain. This means that the results should be interpreted primarily as a call to action for specialists from around the world, because there can be many such cases, especially since researchers are convinced that their results are underestimated.