Experts examine mental health, neurological issues following recovery from COVID-19

Study suggests large number of survivors struggle with mental health issues

The COVID-19 vaccines are offering hope for a light at the end of the tunnel but experts say another health crisis is just beginning.
The COVID-19 vaccines are offering hope for a light at the end of the tunnel but experts say another health crisis is just beginning.

The COVID-19 vaccines are offering hope for a light at the end of the tunnel but experts say another health crisis is just beginning.

When Kali Fields beat virus after a 17-day fight last June, she was relieved that it was over. But months later, she’s still dealing with neurological issues, like confusion, brain fog and memory loss.

“I can’t recall something that someone told me last week and they have to keep reminding me ‘This is what I said to you.’ I didn’t have those issues before COVID,” she said.

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A new study suggests a large number of COVID-19 survivors are struggling with mental health issues. British researchers looked at health records from more than 230,000 COVID patients, mainly in the United States.

A little more than a third were diagnosed with a neurological or mental health condition within six months of their infection.

“The mental health pandemic is just beginning,” said Dr. Madhukar Trivedi, professor of psychiatry at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

Trivedi said the most common diagnoses have been anxiety and mood disorders. He said the fear and uncertainty of a new COVID-19 diagnosis could trigger a disorder but so can changes in the brain that might be due to inflammation caused by the virus.

“That part of research is still beginning to be understood and we are doing some of that work now. We will find out in the next six months to a year,” Trivedi said.

If you are feeling signs of a mental health or neurological disorder, do not ignore it. Reach out to family or friends and talk to a medical professional for help.

Fields said she found support in the Survivor Corps Facebook group.

“How long it’s going to go on? Is this going to be for the rest of my life?” she said.


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About the Author:

Dr. McGeorge can be seen on Local 4 News helping Metro Detroiters with health concerns when he isn't helping save lives in the emergency room at Henry Ford Hospital.