Covid-19 leaves long-lasting debilitating effects on a person’s health, and the road to recovery is quite long and winded in severe cases. All the organs are adversely affected, including the brain. It has been seen that one-third of the patients round the world have developed ‘long haul’ neurological and psychiatric conditions.
It has been observed that Covid-19 considerably increases the risk of heart attack and strokes due to blood clots – which can also cause temporary paralysis (Guillain Barre Syndrome). PostCovid-19, even the young population is seen to be vulnerable to strokes, seizures, brain haemorrhage, and an increased risk of developing diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s in later life. Multisystem inflammatory syndrome is also seen in many severe cases, wherein there is inflammation in the organ’s tissues.
Symptoms that may point towards adverse neurological effects of Covid-19 are as follows:
- Loss of sense of smell and taste;
- Lack of sleep;
- Chronic fatigue;
- Fogginess in the brain and inability to think clearly;
- Impaired cognitive skills;
- Poor concentration levels;
- Memory loss;
- Moodiness, anxiety, and depression;
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): Patients with a long and stretched recovery period have shown signs of PTSD. Coping with a long bout of Covid-19, hospital stay with possible ventilator support, living in isolation away from family and friends, dealing with a fear of mortality, and trying to edge back to a semblance of normalcy through post-Covid-19 health complications, and gradually inching towards complete wellness, can become too overwhelming and takes its toll on even the strongest people. Once PTSD is established, it is advisable to go for psychiatric counselling, psychotherapy, and medication to help cope with the built-up distress.
Although experts suggest a link between Covid-19 and neurological and mental health disorders, they, however, still require more data to carry out further studies to determine a definitive link and conclude whether these issues have arisen directly because of the Covid-19 virus or from psychiatric concerns alone. The Covid situation is still in its evolutionary stage and if symptoms persist for months, takes years to recover, and persist years after recovery from Covid, only then can any conclusion be reached with a fair amount of certainty.