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Has COVID Affected Your Mental Health? You’re Not Alone

The COVID-19 pandemic has been taking a toll on our health in many ways. Not only can contracting COVID-19 cause you to become very sick with respiratory symptoms but living during the time of the pandemic can cause you to become worried about finding things you can do to boost your immune system and sad about the fact that you cannot see your loved ones. 

Being depressed is more than just feeling sad. If someone’s worry or anxiety is overwhelming or negatively affecting their life, a mental health professional could help them toward a possible diagnosis to see if they are experiencing a mental health disorder such as anxiety or depression.

Many people have turned to therapy, especially online therapy since it is accessible remotely, in order to help manage the difficult emotions that can arise during a pandemic. You can find advice about maintaining mental health through sites like MyTherapist: https://www.mytherapist.com/advice/.

In addition to the other ways that COVID-19 precautions, like lockdowns, have taken a toll on our mental health, it has been suggested that those who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 can also develop neurological symptoms or mood disorders. 

These symptoms most commonly include changes in senses like taste and smell, brain fog and fatigue, and debilitating headaches, while mood disorders can include anxiety and depression. These symptoms and mood disorders are certainly not something to be taken lightly, and new studies show that they can occur in as many as one-third of all patients diagnosed with COVID-19.

What are the possible symptoms?
Loss of taste and smell
Tingling and/or numbness
Confusion 
Muscle weakness
Seizures
Stroke
Depression
Anxiety 

Much more research needs to be done to determine the exact connection between many of these symptoms and COVID-19. However, it is presumed to be due to the way that the COVID-19 virus enters the immune system and subsequently causes inflammation or harm to blood vessels in the brain. 

Some studies show a new distinction between neurological symptoms and psychiatric symptoms. While neurological symptoms increase in severity with a more severe diagnosis of COVID-19, psychiatric symptoms occurred at any rate of severity in COVID-19 patients. 

Noticing and researching these symptoms and their relation to the COVID-19 virus is the first step to finding treatment for the individuals who experience these distressing side effects. Encouraging help from mental health professionals and increasing accessibility could help those who experience these side effects.

What does this mean for COVID-19 patients?
A new study provided by Lancet Psychiatry has shown that as many as one in three patients are diagnosed with a mood disorder, strokes, or dementia after contracting COVID-19. Although more research needs to be conducted, this study includes evidence from millions of patients. 

However, it is also important to remember that this study does not necessarily prove that COVID-19 has caused these neurological and mood disorders, only that there is a correlation. Especially in the case of anxiety and depression, there can be many environmental factors that impact these diagnoses as well.

If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and noticed an increase in your anxiety and depression or have felt these emotions for the first time since contracting COVID-19, this is not unusual. No matter the cause, consider seeking help from a therapist in order to evaluate your feelings and possibly receive a diagnosis.

While it can be concerning to develop neurological symptoms or even mood disorders, many mental health treatments are available for those who are willing or able to seek it. The rollout of the vaccine across the country also shows that soon, fewer people may contract these symptoms along with the contraction of the COVID-19 virus.

Regardless of if your symptoms of worry and sadness are from the side effects of contracting COVID-19 or the result of living through the pandemic social precautions, consider seeking help from a mental health professional. Receiving a diagnosis and planning a treatment plan for any mental illness, including anxiety and depression, may be easier with the help of a therapist.
 

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Last modified: May 3, 2021

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