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Severe COVID, similar illnesses may raise risk for psychiatric disorders

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A new study shows that the more than 32,000 survivors of severe COVID-19 and more than 16,000 survivors of other severe respiratory infections studied in England were at significantly higher risk than the general population for new anxiety disorders, dementia, psychosis, bipolar disorder, and new neuropsychiatric drug prescriptions in the first year after hospital release.In the observational study, published today in JAMA Psychiatry, a team led by University of Oxford researchers analyzed data from all 8.38 million adults registered in national databases from Jan 24, 2020, to Jul 7, 2021.Risk of new psychiatric prescriptionsRelative to the general population, the 32,525 survivors of COVID-19 and 16,679 survivors of other severe acute respiratory infections (SARI) were at higher risk for subsequent diagnosis of neuropsychiatric illnesses, the investigators found, but they noted that the absolute risks were low.The hazard ratio [HR] for anxiety in SARI survivors was 1.86 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.56 to 2.21) and 2.36 (95% CI, 2.03 to 2.74) for COVID-19 survivors.

The HR for dementia was 2.55 (95% CI, 2.17 to 3.00) for SARI survivors and 2.63 (95% CI, 2.21 to 3.14) for those diagnosed as having COVID-19.In an analysis limited to SARI survivors as the reference group and COVID-19 as the comparator group, there were no significant differences in rates of newly diagnosed anxiety disorder (adjusted HR, 1.00; 95% CI, 0.79 to 1.27), dementia (HR, 0.88; 95% CI, 0.69 to 1.13), depression (HR, 0.63; 95% CI, 0.25 to 1.58), or bipolar disorder (HR, 0.74; 95% CI, 0.32 to 1.69).Nor did the two groups differ in their posthospitalization risk of new prescriptions for antidepressants (adjusted HR, 1.07; 95% CI, 0.90 to 1.27) or

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