Association of psychiatric disorders with clinical diagnosis of long COVID in US veterans.

Publication date: Feb 05, 2024

Psychiatric disorders may be a risk factor for long COVID, broadly defined as COVID-19 conditions continuing three months post-acute infection. In US Veterans with high psychiatric burden, we examined associations between psychiatric disorders and clinical diagnosis of long COVID. We conducted a retrospective cohort study using health records from VA patients with a positive SARS-CoV-2 test from February 2020 to February 2023. Generalized linear models estimated associations between any psychiatric disorder and likelihood of subsequent diagnosis with long COVID (i. e. two or more long COVID clinical codes). Models were adjusted for socio-demographic, medical, and behavioral factors. Secondary models examined individual psychiatric disorders and age-stratified associations. Among 660 217 VA patients with positive SARS-CoV-2 tests, 56. 3% had at least one psychiatric disorder diagnosis and 1. 4% were diagnosed with long COVID. Individuals with any psychiatric disorder had higher risk for long COVID diagnosis in models adjusted for socio-demographic factors, vaccination status, smoking, and medical comorbidities (relative risk, RR = 1. 28, 95% CI 1. 21-1. 35), with the strongest associations in younger individuals. Considering specific disorders, depressive, anxiety, and stress-related disorders were associated with increased risk for long COVID diagnoses (RRs = 1. 36-1. 48), but associations were in the opposite direction for substance use and psychotic disorders (RRs = 0. 78-0. 88). Psychiatric disorder diagnoses were associated with increased long COVID diagnosis risk in VA patients, with the strongest associations observed in younger individuals. Improved surveillance, treatment, and prevention for COVID-19 and its long-term sequelae should be considered for individuals with psychiatric conditions.

Concepts Keywords
February long COVID
Psychotic post-COVID-19 conditions
Vaccination psychiatric disorders
Veterans veterans


Type Source Name
disease MESH psychiatric disorders
disease MESH long COVID
disease IDO acute infection
disease VO vaccination
disease MESH disorders depressive
disease MESH substance use
disease MESH psychotic disorders
disease MESH COVID-19
disease MESH sequelae

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