A recent study showed that schizophrenia is comparable to age in terms of the risk factor of dying from the new coronavirus infection (Covid-19). People suffering from schizophrenia have been known to have a greater risk of developing Covid-19. According to the study, schizophrenic patients are more likely to die when they have Covid-19.
A team of researchers at the Langone Institute of Health Psychiatry at New York University analyzed the medical records of 7,348 people who received Covid-19 treatment in New York in March, April, and May last year. 14% of the subjects suffered from schizophrenia, mood disorders, and anxiety. Among those, the study found that only people with schizophrenia are more likely to die of Covid-19. The research team said people with other mental health problems, such as mood and anxiety disorders, did not increase their risk of death due to the Covid-19 infection. Old age is still the most important risk factor of dying from Covid-19, but schizophrenia is a risk factor that surpasses heart, lung and kidney disease. The research team said that priority should be given to patients with schizophrenia in terms of vaccination against Covid-19 and that they should be encouraged to comply with safety precautions.
Symptoms of schizophrenia include hallucinations, delusions, and disorganized thinking. The study found that schizophrenic patients are almost three times more likely to die of Covid-19 than those without the disease. The research team explained that there may be an immune deficiency related to schizophrenia. The next stage of research is to investigate whether drugs used to treat schizophrenia affect the possibility of dying of Covid-19.
The research team also said exercise is known to improve the physical and mental health of patients with schizophrenia and recommended taking safety measures to prevent Covid-19 such as taking a walk outside.
The “Association of Psychiatric Disorders With Mortality Among Patients With COVID-19” was published in the American Medical Association’s Journal of Psychiatry.
Reference: Nemani K, Li C, Olfson M, et al. Association of Psychiatric Disorders With Mortality Among Patients With COVID-19. JAMA Psychiatry. Published online January 27, 2021. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2020.4442