Covid linked with worse mental health, lower life satisfaction

A Lancet study, involving an Indian-origin researcher, has linked symptoms of Covid-19 with worse mental health and lower life satisfaction.

Researchers from King’s College London and University College London in the UK found that rises in psychological distress, depression, anxiety, and lower life satisfaction were associated with prior self-reported Covid-19.

The associations with poorer mental health did not lessen over time after infection, highlighting the potential enduring impacts of the disease and the need for a longer follow-up process from healthcare providers.

“This study brings together many of the UK’s longitudinal studies to provide a comprehensive overview of the impacts of COVID-19 infection on population mental health,” said senior study author and professor Praveetha Patalay from University College London, also an Osmania University graduate from Hyderabad.

The study, part of the COVID-19 Longitudinal Health and Wellbeing National Core Study, was published in The Lancet Psychiatry.

Self-reported Covid-19 was consistently associated with psychological distress, regardless of whether people tested positive for antibodies to the virus.

These effects of infection were felt similarly in different groups of gender, ethnicity and socio-economic circumstances.

The study suggests that the infection of Covid-19 might impact mental health most in older people as people with self-reported infection aged 50 years and older showed a stronger association with poorer mental health.

This might reflect that older people are more likely to experience more severe Covid-19 symptoms, greater worry around infection, and increased risk of blood vessel (microvascular) or brain (neurological) changes after infection.

“These findings suggest that there were prolonged mental health consequences of Covid-19 infection for some people at the beginning of this pandemic,” said Dr Ellen Thompson from King’s College London.

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