COVID-19 Causing Mental Disorders: What Seniors Should Know

emotional impact of covid, anxiety disorder, clinical depression, covid mental issues

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A new study has found that those who had COVID-19 are more likely to be diagnosed with a mental disorder within 3 months of diagnosis — double the amount of those who didn’t have COVID-19. Nearly 1 in 5 people experienced depression, insomnia, PTSD, dementia, or other mental issues after having COVID-19. Dementia following coronavirus was more prevalent among older adults. 

The study was conducted at the University of Oxford, and it reviewed electronic health records of 69.8 million patients in the U.S., more than 62,000 of whom had COVID-19. The results were published in The Lancet Psychiatry

In addition, the study found that those with mental disorders are more likely to be diagnosed with COVID-19; the relationship between the two is bidirectional.

What to know

The results do not mean that everyone who has coronavirus gets a mental disorder, just that it is more likely for those who had COVID-19.

Some doctors are seeing more hopeful outcomes. “We’re seeing a lot of gratefulness — that feeling that friends and family were there for them in a way that they didn’t expect, and feeling really grateful for that. Feeling like celebrating life,” said Lauri Pasch of the University of California, San Francisco.  

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Along with trauma and complications, some doctors are seeing post-traumatic growth. Experts advise those suffering long-term complications that their suffering will subside, and to be patient as their healing might be gradual. 

Those suffering from Long COVID have symptoms such as brain fog, memory issues, fatigue, joint pain, coughing, loss of taste and smell, and difficulty sleeping. 

One main thing that can help with mental illness is talking about it and being open. For many, there is shame surrounding having any sort of mental issue. But talking about the problem can make it much easier to handle. For those with loved ones dealing with depression or other problems, the best thing you can do is to listen without trying to solve the person’s problems.  

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