MIAMI (CBSMiami) – New research is revealing more about the psychological impact of the coronavirus.
Scientists in England found people diagnosed with COVID-19 are at a greater risk of developing a range of psychological and neurological conditions.READ MORE: Retired Police Major Explains How Miami-Dade Officers Are Trained Not To Mix Up Handgun & Taser
Researchers at Oxford University found one in three COVID patients in the U.S. developed brain or psychiatric disorders within six months of being infected.
“We compared those percentages with people who’ve been ill with a range of other conditions during the pandemic era,” said Oxford professor Paul Harrison.
Dr. Harrison’s team found COVID patients were treated more often for a range of disorders from common ones like anxiety and depression to rare conditions like dementia and psychosis.
They hope future studies will reveal why.
“Is this, for example, a direct effect of the virus getting into the brain and damaging the brain? Is it inflammation in the brain?” Dr. Harrison said.
In the study, published in The Lancet Psychiatry Journal, scientists also found the sicker people became from COVID, the more likely they were to develop mental health complications.
When travel photographer Ivan Agerton returned from his latest assignment, he was diagnosed with COVID.READ MORE: With J&J's Single-Shot Paused, Medical Expert Says People Shouldn’t ‘Try To Skimp At This Stage’ When It Comes To 2nd Dose Of Pfizer Or Moderna
“Because my symptoms were so mild, I wasn’t overly concerned,” Agerton said.
The father of three thought he recovered. But within days, his world turned upside down.
“It instantly, like a light switch, I felt this intense paranoia hit me. I couldn’t escape it. It kept every single person that I saw would trigger this intense fear,” Agerton said. “I was hearing voices outside the window, you know, I thought I heard people in the bushes.”
Doctors eventually linked his condition to COVID.
Agerton called it “absolutely the most terrifying thing I’ve ever experienced in my life.”
Months later, Agerton said he’s vaccinated and feeling better.
“It is under control right now to an extent,” Agerton said.MORE NEWS: 'Bed Tax' Change Backed In Florida House
Agerton hopes sharing his story will give others the courage to ask for help.