Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Importance: Individuals surviving severe COVID-19 may be at increased risk of neuropsychiatric sequelae. Robust assessment of these risks may help improve clinical understanding of the post-COVID syndrome, aid clinical care during the ongoing pandemic, and inform postpandemic planning. Objective: To quantify the risks of new-onset neuropsychiatric conditions and new neuropsychiatric medication prescriptions after discharge from a COVID-19-related hospitalization, and to compare these with risks after discharge from hospitalization for other severe acute respiratory infections (SARI) during the COVID-19 pandemic. Design, Setting, and Participants: In this cohort study, adults (≥18 years of age) were identified from QResearch primary care and linked electronic health record databases, including national SARS-CoV-2 testing, hospital episode statistics, intensive care admissions data, and mortality registers in England, from January 24, 2020, to July 7, 2021. Exposures: COVID-19-related or SARI-related hospital admission (including intensive care admission). Main Outcomes and Measures: New-onset diagnoses of neuropsychiatric conditions (anxiety, dementia, psychosis, depression, bipolar disorder) or first prescription for relevant medications (antidepressants, hypnotics/anxiolytics, antipsychotics) during 12 months of follow-up from hospital discharge. Maximally adjusted hazard ratios (HR) with 95% CIs were estimated using flexible parametric survival models. Results: In this cohort study of data from 8.38 million adults (4.18 million women, 4.20 million men; mean [SD] age 49.18 [18.45] years); 16679 (0.02%) survived a hospital admission for SARI, and 32525 (0.03%) survived a hospital admission for COVID-19. Compared with the remaining population, survivors of SARI and COVID-19 hospitalization had higher risks of subsequent neuropsychiatric diagnoses. For example, the HR for anxiety in survivors of SARI was 1.86 (95% CI, 1.56-2.21) and for survivors of COVID-19 infection was 2.36 (95% CI, 2.03-2.74); the HR for dementia for survivors of SARI was 2.55 (95% CI, 2.17-3.00) and for survivors of COVID-19 infection was 2.63 (95% CI, 2.21-3.14). Similar findings were observed for all medications analyzed; for example, the HR for first prescriptions of antidepressants in survivors of SARI was 2.55 (95% CI, 2.24-2.90) and for survivors of COVID-19 infection was 3.24 (95% CI, 2.91-3.61). There were no significant differences observed when directly comparing the COVID-19 group with the SARI group apart from a lower risk of antipsychotic prescriptions in the former (HR, 0.80; 95% CI, 0.69-0.92). Conclusions and Relevance: In this cohort study, the neuropsychiatric sequelae of severe COVID-19 infection were found to be similar to those for other SARI. This finding may inform postdischarge support for people surviving SARI..

Original publication




Journal article


JAMA Psychiatry

Publication Date





690 - 698