Psychological and Neurological Effects of COVID-19
So far, medicine has mainly focused on the acute physical effects and their mitigation in the case of COVID-19, but psychological and neurological consequences are also to be feared, which can significantly affect those affected in the long term. term.
The possible acute and chronic neuropsychiatric consequences of COVID-19 are discussed in a current article in the famous specialist magazine “BMJ”. First of all, it is clear that there are still massive uncertainties in this area today. In addition, the first results of the study are named and indicate acute central nervous system (CNS) damage and long-term complaints such as chronic fatigue or cognitive impairment due to COVID-19.
Damage to the central nervous system
Basically, “viral respiratory tract infections can have multi-systemic effects, including on the central nervous system (CNS), and thus trigger a spectrum of psychiatric and neurological disorders”, point out the authors of the specialized article. In the case of COVID-19, it is now also known that various CNS abnormalities can occur with potentially serious and long-term consequences.
Consequences of COVID-19
Various studies have also shown evidence of brain inflammation, leukoencephalopathy and micro-bleeding in the brain in severe courses of COVID-19, writes Matthew Butler’s team from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience. from King’s College London.
In addition, there are other biological mechanisms, including autoimmunity, which may be just as relevant to psychological sequelae as the psychological trauma of the life-threatening disease and the socio-economic stress associated with the pandemic. added the experts.
Delirium is a common symptom
According to the researchers, acute confusion (delirium) should be mentioned first as a possible neuropsychiatric symptom. It might also be the only hallmark of the disease in the elderly and people with dementia. Screening for delirium is therefore recommended, especially in the elderly or in people with pre-existing dementia. One-third of people with delirium reported cognitive and behavioral abnormalities even after discharge.
Other consequences of infection
Depression and anxiety are other possible complaints in the acute phase of the infection. In addition, the UK-based CoroNerve group has collected data on neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders from COVID-19, which shows psychoses, mood disorders and so-called catatonia as well as encephalopathies, encephalitis and other neurological disorders can occur, the researchers report.
Anxiety, depression, PTSD
The risk of anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is also relatively high among people hospitalized with COVID-19. Additionally, crippling fatigue and cognitive difficulties often occur after discharge, according to contributors. Even sick people who did not have to be treated in the hospital have reported a variety of symptoms that can occur months after an acute infection.
While it is too early to assess the full effect of long-term complications, looking to the future, it is assumed that the long-term consequences of COVID-19 “will lead to significant morbidity in the population with serious implications for the population. health and social welfare will lead, ”summarize the experts.
Further research that will inform clinical guidelines and advance our understanding of the mechanisms underlying COVID-19 is urgently needed, the researchers added. However, it can take years for a complete picture to emerge. (fp)
With COVID-19, there is also a threat of long-term neuropsychiatric consequences. (Image: Ahmet Aglamaz / Stock.Adobe.com)
Author and source information
This text complies with the requirements of specialized medical literature, medical directives and ongoing studies and has been verified by healthcare professionals.
Dipl. Geogr. Fabian Peters
Matthew Butler, Thomas A. Pollak, Alasdair G. Rooney, Benedict D. Michael, Timothy R. Nicholson: neuropsychiatric complications of covid-19; in: BMJ (published October 13, 2020), bmj.com
This article is provided for informational purposes only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. It cannot replace a visit to the doctor.