One in Every Three COVID-19 Patients Develop a Mental Health or Neurological Condition Within Six Months

Published on April 14, 2021

One in Three COVID-19 Survivors Develop a Mental Health or Neurological Condition Within Six Months

Bronson Doctors See Similar Trend in Southwest Michigan

Nationally, a third of patients with COVID-19 develop a neurological or psychological condition within six months of their diagnosis. For patients who were hospitalized with severe cases of COVID-19, the trend increases to around 50 percent. These statistics were recently published in The Lancet Psychiatry.

According to the researchers, anxiety (17%) and mood disorders (14%) were the most common neuropsychiatric diagnoses. More rare findings include 0.6% developed a brain hemorrhage, 2.1% experienced an ischemic stroke, and 0.67% were diagnosed with dementia.

Although there is no local data specifically evaluating the long-term effects of COVID-19,Bronson Neuroscience experts confirm that they have seen nearly the full spectrum of these post-COVID-19 neurologic and psychiatric illnesses occurring in patients here.

For neurological conditions, this includes:

  • Central nervous system diseases, like strokes and meningitis
  • Peripheral nervous system diseases, like Guillain-Barré syndrome

Some of the most devastating post-Covid-19 complications are related to an increased risk of blood clotting, resulting in heart attacks, strokes and blood clots in the lungs of otherwise healthy individuals.

Similarly, psychiatric conditions such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Dementia
  • Depression
  • Psychosis

“The cause of these conditions is a result of whole body inflammation and in some cases a chronic lack of sufficient oxygen in response to the virus. There is also mounting evidence to suggest that the virus is able to directly infect brain cells,” says Dr. Larry Morgan, neurocritical care specialist at Bronson Methodist Hospital. “It also is likely due in part to the psychological stress of dealing with the unknowns once someone realizes they are sick.”

If someone who has had COVID-19 starts experiencing symptoms, they should contact their doctor right away. These symptoms include memory loss, difficulty concentrating, brain fog and trouble sleeping, as well as mental health issues such as anxiety.

“Any symptoms that interfere with your quality of daily life, such as anxiety, depression or cognitive changes, should be brought to your doctor’s attention,” says Bronson neuropsychiatrist Dr. Nadeem Mirza. “It is important to closely monitor mood and behavior changes, regularly talk with family and friends, and seek guidance from your doctor. There has also been some literature about how keeping physically and mentally active can be important to recovery.”

Individuals who do not have a primary care provider or who are seeking a Bronson specialist for neurological or psychological care, can find one using Find A Doctor.

COVID-19 information and vaccine scheduling is also available. Learn more about COVID-19 and the COVID-19 vaccine.