One in three people who overcome Covid-19 suffers from a neurological or psychiatric diagnosis six months on, according to the largest study so far published on the mental toll that long-Covid takes on survivors. 

Authors said the printed Wednesday in The Lancet Psychiatry journal, proved that Covid-19 patients were significantly more likely to develop brain conditions than those suffering from other respiratory tract infections.

Studying the health records of more than 230,000 patients who had recovered from Covid-19, they found that 34 per cent were diagnosed with a neurological or psychiatric condition within six months.

The most common conditions were anxiety (17 per cent of patients) and mood disorders (14 per cent). For 13 per cent of patients the disorders were their first diagnosis of a mental health issue.

Incidence of neurological disorders such as brain hemorrhages (0.6 per cent), stroke (2.1 per cent) and dementia (0.7 per cent) was lower overall than for psychiatric disorders but the risk for brain disorders was generally higher in patients who had severe Covid-19.

The authors also examined data from more than 100,000 patients diagnosed with influenza and more than 236,000 diagnosed with any respiratory tract infection.

They found there was overall a 44 per cent greater risk of neurological and mental health diagnoses after Covid-19 than after flu, and a 16 per cent higher risk than with respiratory tract infections.

They found there was overall a 44 per cent greater risk of neurological and mental health diagnoses after Covid-19 than after flu, and a 16 per cent higher risk than with respiratory tract infections.