As COVID-19 variants cause an increase in mild cases, you might expect that contracting the disease wouldn’t be so bad. The illness can cause physical symptoms like body aches, fever, headaches, congestion, and coughing. The COVID-19 symptoms may resolve quickly, but some people experience adverse effects on their mental health. Anxiety, depression, and other issues may develop or worsen.
In some people, mild COVID-19 infections have triggered a sudden onset of significant neuropsychiatric illness. For instance, a case study in the journal Biological Psychiatry showed how a 30-year-old man with mild COVID-19 symptoms began experiencing extreme anxiety, paranoia, delusions, and violent outbursts. In addition, he experienced alternating episodes of hypersomnia and insomnia. He would sleep 22 hours per day. Then he would go through periods of sleeping only 3 to 4 hours per day. The journal JAMA Neurology has also published cases of sudden severe psychiatric symptoms in patients with mild COVID-19.
However, some patients develop mental health issues more slowly. Typically, the symptoms aren’t as severe. Some people have generalized feelings of anxiety or sadness several weeks to months after COVID-19 symptoms. If you test positive for COVID, be sure to pay attention to any changes in your mental health and talk to your doctor early.
COVID-19 effects on mental health
A growing body of emerging research shows that contracting COVID-19 can trigger or worsen mental health problems like depression or anxiety, in addition to other brain-related issues. Let’s take a look at some of the evidence about COVID-19 mental health links.
A 2021 study in The Lancet analyzed data from 236,379 people diagnosed with COVID-19 and found that 34% of people developed psychiatric or neurological problems within 6 months following infection. The most common mental health issues included the following:
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