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1 in 3 COVID Survivors Suffer This Scary Symptom Months Later

Anxiety and mood disorders are the most common diagnosis.
FACT CHECKED BY Alek Korab
depressed Indian woman holding head in hands, sitting alone on couch at home

One of the scariest aspects of COVID-19, is that many people infected with the virus are left with a wide range of lingering physical and neurological symptoms—a health condition experts have dubbed post-acute sequelae of COVID-19 (PASC.) Now, according to a new study, up to one in three individuals infected with the virus experience longer term mental health or neurological complications as a result. Read on to learn about the new research—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Signs Your Illness is Actually Coronavirus in Disguise.

Neurological or Psychological Conditions Plague 34% of COVID Survivors

According to the study published on Tuesday in Lancet Psychiatry surrounding 236,000 COVID-19 patients, 34 percent of COVID survivors receive either a neurological or psychological condition diagnosis within six months of their infection, with 17 percent diagnosed with anxiety and 14 percent, mood disorders. Researchers noted that hospitalized patients endured the most severe neurological effects. 

"That rate increased progressively as the severity of the Covid-19 illness increased. If we look at patients who were hospitalized that rate increased to 39%," Maxime Taquet, an academic clinical fellow in psychiatry at the University of Oxford, and a co-author of the new study, told CNN. "Our results indicate that brain diseases and psychiatric disorders are more common after Covid-19 than after flu or other respiratory infections, even when patients are matched for other risk factors. We now need to see what happens beyond six months."

As part of the study, researchers compared data from those suffering from COVID to those experiencing respiratory tract infections during the same time frame. They found that those with COVID were at a 44 percent increased risk for neurological and psychiatric illness compared to people recovering from flu. They also determined that one in 50 experienced an ischemic stroke

"Two important negative findings were related to parkinsonism and Guillain-Barré syndrome," Taquet said. "Both of those conditions are neurological conditions that we know are sometimes associated with viral infection. We did not find that they were more common after Covid-19 and after the other respiratory tract infections that we looked at."

RELATED: Most COVID Patients Did This Before Getting Sick

Neurological Follow-Ups Must Be Done, Researchers Say

The study emphasizes the importance of allocating resources to those who may fall into this category. "Given the size of the pandemic and the chronicity of many of the diagnoses and their consequences (eg, dementia, stroke, and intracranial haemorrhage), substantial effects on health and social care systems are likely to occur," the researchers write. "Our data provide important evidence indicating the scale and nature of services that might be required. The findings also highlight the need for enhanced neurological follow-up of patients who were admitted to ITU or had encephalopathy during their COVID-19 illness."

Contact a medical professional if you fear you might have this condition, get vaccinated when it becomes available to you, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.