Serious infections during childhood have been tied to a subsequent increased risk of mental disorders in a new study. The study, published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry on Wednesday, found that infections requiring hospitalizations were associated with an about 84% increased risk of being diagnosed with any mental disorder and an about 42% increased risk of using psychotropic drugs to treat a mental disorder. Less severe infections treated with anti-infective medications, like antibiotics, were associated with increased risks of 40% and 22%, respectively, the study found. "The surprising finding was that the infections in general -- and in particular, the less severe infections, those that were treated with anti-infective agents -- increased the risk for the majority of mental disorders," said Dr. Ole Köhler-Forsberg, a neuroscientist and doctoral fellow at Aarhus University in Denmark, who led the study.
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