According to a new study by researchers at Oxford Brookes University, a substantial number of people who previously tested positive for COVID-19 may be affected by neuropsychiatric and cognitive problems in the long-term.
Released in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, the study aimed at establishing the short and long-term effects of COVID-19 infection on the mental health of sufferers.
Although prior studies uncovered a common prevalence of neurological symptoms among people infected with COVID-19, the development of psychiatric symptoms remains unexplored and may be of more importance in future research.
In the new study, however, it was found that brain pathologies associated with COVID-19 may result in a long-term effect on cognitive processes. The potential for neuropsychiatric disorders as a result of COVID-19 was also a consideration.
“The short-term neuropsychiatric and cognitive complications following COVID-19 are varied and affect a large proportion of COVID-19 survivors,” the study reads.
“In the medium- and long-term period, there is going to be an influx of patients with psychiatric and cognitive problems who were otherwise healthy prior to COVID-19 infection. Increased neuropsychiatric manifestations could be observed in the form of an increase in cases of depression, anxiety, PTSD, and in certain cases severe mental illnesses.”
“Early intervention for emerging cognitive problems will be critical for independent functioning and improved quality of life for many COVID-19 survivors,” researchers determined in their study.