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Long after the Covid war is won, survivors battle with mental ...

World

Long after the Covid war is won, survivors battle with mental health

Study indicates after-effects of the virus could be far worse than initially feared, and may last a lifetime

Jason Gale

Early Covid-19 survivors were at higher risk of anxiety, depression and a raft of other mental health problems up to a year after their infections, according to a large US study that widens the scope of the pandemic’s economic and societal impact.

Even patients who were never sick enough to be hospitalised for Covid-19 were still 68% more likely than their non-infected counterparts to be diagnosed with a sleep disorder, 69% more likely to have an anxiety disorder and 77% more likely to have a depressive disorder. The relative risk of developing the conditions was significantly higher still in patients hospitalised for Covid-19, and translates into dozens of additional mental health conditions for every 1,000 coronavirus cases.

The findings, based on an analysis of the US department of veterans’ affairs’s electronic healthcare databases, were published on Wednesday in the journal BMJ. They indicate that the burden of neurological disorders — estimated to afflict more than 200-million Americans in 2017 — will balloon as a consequence of the pandemic and have wider medical and social complications, including more substance abuse and suicides...

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