Can COVID-19 cause depression? (2023)

When Glo Lindenmuth contracted COVID-19 in December 2021, she felt congested and tired for about a week. her sense of smell and taste disappeared for two weeks. He knew about the symptoms before he contracted the virus and wasn't surprised. But weeks of sadness and difficulty sleepingRETURNHer recovery from COVID-19 surprised her.

"I was depressed as a teenager, but this time it was worse," said Lindenmuth, 30, who works in corporate communications in New York. Not only did he suddenly feel depressed, but he also suffered from insomnia and nightmares. When she awoke, her mind was clouded and sad thoughts—often of doing something harmful to herself—overcame her. Although she is usually extroverted and extroverted, she suffers from social anxiety. "I would cancel plans with friends, sleep all day on the weekends and avoid most calls and texts," she said.

Her symptoms lasted more than two months.

Lindenmuth began to feel better in the spring, but from mid-June to mid-August she was overcome by another wave of severe depression. She then went to a behavioral psychiatrist who diagnosed her with depression.

It is estimated that even though they believe they have recovered from COVID-19, millions of people still feel depressed, tired, apathetic, anxious or otherwise emotionally ill.

In a study of millions of people"We realized that our country is in trouble because of the chaos caused by the pandemic and the lockdown," said Ziyad Al-Aly, director of the Center for Clinical Epidemiology at Washington University of Missouri and co-author of the report. Al-Aly and his colleagues wondered whether people infected with COVID-19 might be at greater risk of developing mental health problems after the symptoms of the disease subside. "The answer isAbsolutely.People with COVID-19 are much worse.

(Video) COVID Could Cause Depression And Anxiety, Researchers Say

consideringResearch in the June 2022 issue of the journalCentral Nervous Systemmedicine35% of people experience symptoms of depression after recovering from COVID-19.They may not have just lost days or weeks of their normal lives due to COVID-19. Probably because they have a little known phenomenon calledDepression after the virus, which can be triggered by inflammatory changes, psychological stress and other factors.

These symptoms usually appear "within two to three months of the onset of COVID-19 and appear to persist for several months," says psychiatrist Madhukar Trivedi, founding director of the Center for Depression Research and Clinical Care at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. . explain. Dallas. "It's impossible to predict who will have a short-term or lasting impact."

spectrum of phenomena

The connection between viral diseases and depression is not new, but has been increasingly recognized and understood in recent decades. ONEJournal Research 2016Brain, Behavior and ImmunityFor example, the study found that people who had the flu in the past 30 to 180 days had a 57 percent higher risk of developing depression again, compared to people who had avoided the virus.Depression after the virusAccording to experts, it can also happen with Epstein-Barr virus and other non-specific viruses that cause mononucleosis.

Al AliResearch published in February 2022British Medical Journal,Study shows people with COVID-19 have 35% higher risk of anxiety and 39% higher risk of depression one month after illness. These spikes are associated with increased use of antidepressants and benzodiazepines.

This is by no means an isolated discovery. ONEResearch in the April 2022 issueJournal of NeurologyThe study found that levels of apathy and anxiety were generally elevated in COVID-19 survivors who developed fatigue eight months after their illness. and toA study in the May 2022 issueLanzette,Researchers tracked the mental health of people with coronavirus who were not hospitalized in six European countries and found that these people were more likely to experience depression in the following months, especially when they were bedridden with the disease.

mechanisms behind pain

(Video) Signs of depression after COVID diagnosis

Exactly how COVID-19 causes depression is not fully understood, but there are several hypotheses. Al-Aly explained that the SARS-CoV-2 virus can cause more inflammation in the brain and activate microglia, immune cells in the central nervous system that produce inflammatory molecules. "Inflammation affects the areas of the brain that regulate emotions and mood – it can turn them up or down."

Another theory, Al-Aly added, is that the virus may attack the lining of blood vessels, affecting blood and oxygen supply to the brain and disrupting areas that regulate mood.

Third Caseshowed that the virus can disrupt the diversity and balance of gut bacteria (gut microbiota) and change levels of certain neurotransmitters, chemical messengers that carry nerve signals throughout the body and brain and are involved in mood regulation, he said . "What is really clear is that the impact of the virus on mental health is a biological phenomenon – not imagination," Al-Ali said.

This does not mean that psychological factors are not at play. Prolonged periods of isolation and loneliness during illness can contribute to depression after COVID-19, according to Pravesh Sharma, a psychiatrist at the Mayo Clinic School of Medicine and Science in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. When it comes to depression after COVID-19, "sometimes people wonder why me?" Sharma said. "It creates a lot of negative thoughts and affects people's daily lives." These factors can create a vicious cycle that can lead people to depression.

To make matters worse, people with depression after COVID-19 often feel misunderstood. "Their families don't understand why they didn't get through it because they won't get sick again." Also, these "people don't know when their symptoms will stop or what will help them, and they" It's very common Experts say some are still worried about the possible long-term effects of the COVID-19 infection, which could lead to emotional instability after their illness.

Who is at risk and why?

(Video) INTERVIEW: Dealing with depression caused by COVID-19

Although little research has been done on this topic because COVID-19 is relatively new, experts believe that people with a history of depression or anxiety are at higher risk of depression after COVID-19. "What I've seen in clinical practice is that people become depressed after they have COVID-19, or if they've had depression in the past, COVID-19 makes the depression worse," Porter said. Or less serious.

Those at higher risk of depression after COVID-19 include those who had anxiety prior to infection.medical morbidity- obesity, asthma, hypertension, diabetes and more - and more serious diseases related to COVID-19.

In some cases, depression can be part of a long-term COVID-19 syndrome that includes persistent problems with memory, thinking skills, and concentration, mood swings, fatigue, and organizational skills (such as difficulty handling medications or money). The problem. Dyani Lewis, 44, saw the phenomenon firsthand after contracting the coronavirus in March 2022. Although the illness was mild — "I've had worse colds," he says — for about a week after the infection ended, he suffered from daily headaches, dizziness (which felt like constant nausea), fatigue and lack of motivation. She has been taking a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) for depression since 2019 and had her mood symptoms under control when things suddenly spiraled out of control.

"I'm trying to do my job and I don't have the energy to take care of my kids," said Lewis, a freelance science writer and mother of two in Melbourne, Australia. "I don't know to what extent SARS-CoV-2 directly worsened my depression or just created the environment that made me feel awful." Lewis is switching to a new medication for her depression and has resumed light exercise to help herself improve her depression. mood and increase their energy.

Experts said they had not found a clear gender pattern in depression after COVID-19. except oneResearch in the January 2022 issueJournal of Psychiatric ResearchAmong COVID-19 survivors with psychiatric symptoms in Italy, men were found to have high levels of anxiety and depression at 6 months and even worse symptoms at 12 months. The women experienced the worst depression immediately after infection, but symptoms decreased significantly by 6 months and continued to decrease by 12 months. The researchers suggested that this may be because men have a stronger pro-inflammatory immune response than women, which can lead to persistent inflammation in the brain and body after infection with the novel coronavirus. Another explanation is that they were less likely to seek professional help for mental health problems.

Get a better mindset

(Video) Post-COVID-19 syndrome: mental health

While some post-pandemic depression naturally subsides over time, there's no reason to sit around and suffer. "It's important not to say it's caused by the coronavirus and therefore not do anything because it can last longer than you think," Trivedi said.

To feel better mentally and emotionally, regular physical activity or exercise, which has anti-inflammatory and antidepressant properties, can help, Trivedi said. Seek social support by networking with friends and family and/or support groups in your community. And adopt healthy eating habits like the Mediterranean diet—high in fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, whole grains, fish, and olive oil—becauseResearchStudies have shown that it is associated with a lower risk of depression. In addition, a study inJournal PLoS One Issue 1 2019Research has shown that a healthy eating intervention can help alleviate symptoms of depression after just three weeks.

It's also important to set yourself up for better sleep, because "sleep problems and depression go hand in hand — it's a two-way street," says Porter. In short, poor sleep can affect your mood and depression can affect the quality of your sleep. "If you can sleep better, your mood usually improves," she says. To that end, she recommends improving your bedtime routine, specifically dimming the lights, avoiding digital screens at night, and going to bed and waking up at the same time each day to maintain a consistent sleep routine. sleep-wake cycle.

You don't have to stop feeling better with lifestyle changes. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, you may benefit from therapy, particularly cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which helps people change harmful thought patterns to more helpful ones. Another helpful approach is behavioral activation, a skill often incorporated into cognitive-behavioral therapy that involves setting goals to help you get out there and do something that improves your mood. in East Lansing.

With the help of antidepressants, talk therapy and sharing her experiences on social media, Lindenmoose began to feel better. Gradually, she began to exercise more and rediscovered her love of cooking, dancing and spending time with friends. "Now I feel good and have the energy I had before," he said. "I also found my creativity and a sense of clarity that I haven't had in a long time," Lindenmoos said. "I'm glad I got through the worst of it."

(Video) How COVID anxiety and personal distress lead to an increase in depression cases | COVID-19 Special

When it comes to experiencing depression and finding relief from COVID-19, Lindenmoose is in good company. "I want people to know that post-Covid-19 depression is very, very common and that there is hope – research has shown that there are many ways to treat post-Covid-19 depression, just like other forms of depression," Porter said. . "Although it is not fully understood, we are not reinventing the wheel."


Can COVID-19 cause depression? ›

While experts still need to study the long-term effects of COVID-19 on the brain, over half of a U.S. COVID-19 survivor sample reported symptoms of depression months after recovery, those with more severe COVID symptoms being more likely to have depression.

Did COVID cause a lot of depression? ›

It's not unusual to experience lower mood after being through a significant event such as coronavirus (COVID-19). It can take a while to process what you've been through and the impact this has had and may still be having on your life.

Can Covid leave you feeling depressed? ›

If you are recovering from COVID-19, you may have a range of emotions. These may include feeling depressed (low), tired, anxious or tearful. Your sleep may be disrupted or you may have distressing memories of your experience. There are things that you can do to help yourself cope with unpleasant feelings.

Can COVID mess with your mental health? ›

During the COVID-19 pandemic, you may experience stress, anxiety, fear, sadness and loneliness. And mental health disorders, including anxiety and depression, can worsen.

What impact did COVID have on mental health? ›

Over the course of the pandemic, many adults reported symptoms consistent with anxiety and depression, with approximately four in ten adults reporting these symptoms by early 2021, before declining to approximately three in ten adults as the pandemic continued (Figure 1).

What viruses cause mental illness? ›

Viruses that have been associated with schizophrenia and other chronic mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder, MDD, and autism include but are not limited to influenza viruses; human endogenous retroviruses; and the herpesviruses, such as cytomegalovirus, Epstein-Barr virus, and herpes simplex virus.


1. New study finds one-third of COVID survivors suffer mental health and neurological disorders
(CBS Mornings)
2. Doctors: Contracting COVID-19 can lead to PTSD, anxiety, depression
(FOX 13 News Utah)
3. Coronavirus and Mental health problems
(Dr. John Campbell)
4. Ways to Cope with COVID-19 -Related Depression
(Hartford HealthCare)
5. Anxiety and Depression are Surging During Covid-19
(Voice of America)
6. Is COVID-19 raising depression in young adults?
(Click On Detroit | Local 4 | WDIV)


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