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New Reports Highlight COVID-19 May Cause Psychosis in Rare Cases

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What happened: A new report is highlighting the possible effects of COVID-19 that can linger even after a patient overcomes the infection. The story by The New York Times detailed accounts from psychiatrists who say they’ve seen several cases of patients presenting with psychotic symptoms despite no previous history of mental illness. In many cases, the only outstanding medical history is previous COVID-19 infection.

The report also explained that some studies have started to note the potentially severe mental impacts of the virus on patients, with one British study detailing new-onset psychosis. While doctors are seeing psychosis more often in relation to COVID-19, it’s still rare and the connection is unclear.

We don’t know what the natural course of this is. Does this eventually go away? Do people get better? How long does that normally take? And are you then more prone to have other psychiatric issues as a result? There are just so many unanswered questions. — Dr. Hisam Goueli, The New York Times

The Frontlines: Several studies have now identified possible mental health impacts associated with COVID-19 infection ranging from mild to severe.

  • Research from the U.K. showed that 1 in 5 patients went on to develop mental illness.
  • Among the most common illnesses noted in this study were anxiety, depression and insomnia.
  • In another study, 55% of respondents who were hospitalized due to COVID-19 presented with a clinical score of at least one mental health disorder.
  • In addition to mental health concerns, doctors are worried the virus could cause issues with cognition in some patients.

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A Mighty Voice: The pandemic is leaving a major mark on mental health globally. The virus isn’t just affecting the mental health of those infected but also those who already live with mental illness. Our contributor Kyle Alexander said, “At the moment here in Australia, people with mental health issues are very much being ignored. I am sure there are so many people in the same situation as myself who are worried about going to their local supermarkets and worried about their medication or whether they will be able to continue therapy and currently those issues aren’t being addressed.” You can submit your first-person story, too.

Add your voice: Join The Mighty’s Coronavirus group by downloading our app or comment below.

Other things to know: Here is what other Mighty contributors are saying about mental health and the pandemic:

How to take action: You can learn more about the reports of psychotic illness and COVID-19 by reading the full in-depth piece from The New York Times here.

Header image via Maryviolet/Getty Images

Originally published: December 29, 2020
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