Study shows nearly 1 in 5 COVID-19 survivors develop psychiatric disorder in 90 days

A study analyzed electronic health records of 62-thousand individuals who tested positive for COVID-19. The full data set included 69.8-million patients in order to compare COVID-19 patients with other unrelated health events. The study found that 18.1% (nearly 1 in 5) of COVID-19 patients were diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder within 90 days of their first diagnosis of COVID-19.

A total of 18.1% of COVID-19 patients developed a psychiatric disorder within 90 days, "including 5.8% (5.2-6.4) that were a first diagnosis." At time of diagnosis, a whopping 25.6% of COVID-19 patients were diagnosed positive for a psychiatric illness.

The 5.8% metric accounts for those COVID-19 patients that developed a psychiatric illness inside 90 days and had NEVER had a psychiatric illness diagnosis before.

Findings were compared to six other health events, including influenza, other respiratory tract infections, skin infection, cholelithiasis, urolithiasis, and fracture of a large bone. COVID-19 patients were between 1.8-2.5 times as likely to have incidence of any psychiatric diagnosis as patients with influenza (the flu).

Anxiety disorder was the most frequent psychiatric diagnosis for COVID-19 patients. The study found that the probability that a COVID-19 patient would develop an anxiety disorder within 90 days was 4.7%. Anxiety disorders developed by COVID-19 patients included adjustment disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and "to a lesser extend, post-traumatic stress disorder and panic disorder."

It's important to note that the study excluded all patients who had died by the time of the analyses. It's also important to pay heed to the interpretation section of the study, which says "Although preliminary, our findings have implications for clinical services, and prospective cohort studies are warranted."

For more information on the study, take a peek at the paper Bidirectional associations between COVID-19 and psychiatric disorder: retrospective cohort studies of 62 354 COVID-19 cases in the USA as published November 9, 2020 in the scientific publication The Lancet. This paper can be found with code DOI:10.1016/S2215-0366(20)30462-4 as authored by Maxime Taquet, PhD, Sierra Luciano, BA, Prof John R Geddes, FRCPsych, and Prof Paul J Harrison, FRCPsych.