6 June 2024

A senior doctor at Thailand’s Chulalongkorn University said, today (Friday), that the coronavirus should not be considered as being similar to the common cold or influenza, due to its potentially long-term effects on mental health.

In his Facebook post today, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Thira Woratanarat of the Faculty of Medicine, cited a study, published in the British Medical Journal, by clinical epidemiologist Yuchen Xie and her research team, carried out on 153,848 recovered COVID-19 patients. They were compared with people who have not been infected, revealing the increased risk of the development of mental health disorders during the post-acute phase of COVID-19.

According to Dr. Thira, the study shows that those already infected with COVID-19 are at a 39% higher risk of developing depressive disorders. They also have a 35% higher risk of developing stress and adjustment disorders, an 80% greater risk of developing memory disorders and a 41% higher risk of experiencing sleep disorders.

Facebook: Thira Woratanarat

Compared to people with influenza, those infected with COVID-19 are 1.43 times more likely to develop mental health disorders.

The research, said Dr. Thira, is a confirmation that COVID-19 is not like the common cold or influenza and the disease may have long-term effects, or Long COVID, on not just mental health system, but other body systems, such as the heart, brain, blood vessels, the digestive system and the endocrine system.

Long COVID, he added, will affect the ability to pursue a normal life, individually or within the family, and may have an impact on relationships with the other people.

The best defence, he said, is not to get infected with COVID-19.