COVID patients may suffer mental illness study says

Published: Nov. 27, 2020 at 5:45 PM PST
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Most of us have seen the pictures taken from intensive care units nationwide. Patients lay helpless in bed, unable to breathe, hooked up to machines. It is the worst-case scenario.

Other patients may suffer fewer debilitating effects or no effects at all from COVID.

What researchers have found though is that many of these same patients may develop a mental illness.

“Stress is a part of our daily lives now so if you get it, you end up getting COVID, then it could trigger some great deal of anxiety in an individual. So they end up with an actual mental illness,” says Kenji Sax Ph.D. in Neuropsychology.

The study appears in the journal Lancet Psychiatry. 69,000,000 patient records were analyzed, and of those 62,000 patients were diagnosed with COVID. Approximately 20% of them were also diagnosed with a mental disorder like anxiety or dementia. About 6% had never been diagnosed with such a problem before.

“It was their very first episode. And that is unusual. Especially in such a short period of time,” says Sax.

Sax says it wouldn’t seem out of the realm for patients to have insomnia or anxiety after a traumatic medical episode. But the study seems to point to issues beyond experience.

What he does say, many of these patients may seek mental health treatment on an already burdened system.

Like COVID toe and permanent internal organ damage, we just don’t know the full destructive capability of the Coronavirus.

As with preliminary studies like this, there are more questions that remain than answers. For instance, did COVID bring on an underlying psychiatric condition, or did it cause it? And are the effects temporary or permanent?

More studies will need to be done.

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