Risk of Mental Illness Following COVID-19
November 23, 2020   

Aside from severe physical illness and potential death, one of the issues of great concern with SARS-CoV2 (COVID-19) infection is the effect of COVID-19 infection of mental health. In this network cohort study examining electronic health record data from 69 million individuals (62,354 with COVID-19 infection), the authors sought to find associations between COVID-19 infection and psychiatric antecedents and sequelae. With psychiatric antecedents, the question is whether having a psychiatric diagnosis increases one’s risk of COVID-19 infection whereas for psychiatric sequelae, the question becomes whether COVID-19 infection increases one’s risk of developing a psychiatric condition (Figure). The authors found that, regardless of physical risk factors that may increase one’s chance of getting infected with COVID-19, individuals with a psychiatric condition (including a mood disorder, an anxiety disorder, or a psychotic disorder) were at 65% increased risk of having a COVID-19 diagnosis. On the other hand, in the 14-90 days following a COVID-19 diagnosis, individuals were at much higher risk of having a subsequent diagnosis of a mood, anxiety, or psychotic disorder, insomnia, or dementia. Although further and more long-term studies are needed, these alarming data may have an impact on the psychiatric risk assessment associated with COVID-19 infection and may inform clinical care in both patients with COVID-19 as well as those with mental health conditions.

Figure. Psychiatric Antecedents and Sequelae Associated with COVID-19 Infection


Taquet M et al. Lancet Psychiatry 2020; Epub ahead of print. Abstract

     Additional Resources:

NEI Podcast
Coping in Times of Crisis: Mental Health Consequences of the COVID-19 Pandemic
This Month in Psychopharmacology
Psychotropic Medications and COVID-19
NEI Resources
Topic: COVID-19