According to a large and comprehensive study released Thursday that looked at millions of health records over the course of a year, people who have recovered from COVID-19 — even mild cases — are at a significantly increased risk of developing a variety of mental health Disorders, including anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and cognitive impairment.
For the study, Al-team Aly’s employed the VA’s strong electronic health record system. They tracked over 150,000 VA patients who were given COVID-19 between March 2020 and January 2021 for a year. Researchers compared the group to a “contemporary cohort” of almost 5 million other patients who did not get COVID-19 but experienced similar pandemic symptoms like lockdowns, disrupted schooling or day care, loneliness, unemployment, and the loss of friends or family.
The likelihood of using opioids increased by 76%, while the likelihood of cognitive decline increased by 80%. According to Al-Aly, the study is the most comprehensive on the subject to date because of the number of participants, breadth of mental health Disorders, and study length. The study’s participants were mostly men, with an average age of 61. Al-Aly, on the other hand, claimed that because of the vast number of people surveyed, there were enough women and people of different ages to obtain the same conclusions.