Covid-19 infection triggers fatigue, mental illness and sleep problem: Study

The research conducted by a team from the University of Manchester is based on the electronic primary healthcare records of 2,26,521 people from across the UK between February 2020 and December 2020. There was an almost six-fold increase in the likelihood of a covid infected person reporting fatigue, showed the results, published in JAMA Network Open.

There is a risk of mental illness, fatigue and sleep problems in the people who tested positive for Covid-19 (confirmed by a PCR test), according to a new study.

The research conducted by a team from the University of Manchester is based on the electronic primary healthcare records of 2,26,521 people from across the UK between February 2020 and December 2020.

There was an almost six-fold increase in the likelihood of a covid infected person reporting fatigue, showed the results, published in JAMA Network Open.


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Further, a three time increase in the risk of sleep problems among a covid-19 patient compared to a non-infected person was also observed, according to the study.

There was also an 83 per cent increase in mental illness following a positive PCR test. However, there was also a 71 per cent increase in the risk of mental illness for people who received a negative PCR test compared to the general population.

 

However, researchers believe this throws some doubt about whether Covid-19 is directly causing mental illness, because it is clear that those who get a test are more likely to have risk factors for mental illness, for example pandemic-related anxieties.

 

"While fatigue is clearly a consequence of Covid-19 the risk of experiencing sleep problems is also very high. However, we are sceptical regarding the extent that Covid-19 is directly causing people to become mentally ill, or whether those with a predisposition to mental illness are more likely to get tested," said lead researcher Dr Matthias Pierce, from the varsity.

 

Other studies also showed similar results revealing elevated risks of mental illness, self-harm, fatigue, and disrupted sleep patterns among people testing positive for infection during the pandemic.

 

The researchers said that it is vital that general practitioners recognise the long-term impact of Covid-19 infection on their patient population. Offering follow-up to people who test positive for Covid-19 infection may help identify persisting symptoms.

 

"The increased risk of developing mental health problems in people who tested negative may be due to health anxiety in these patients, and primary care has a role in identifying and supporting such patients," said Carolyn Chew-Graham, Professor of General Practice Research at Keele University in the UK.