A new study reveals that the brain fog that many COVID-19 survivors express is actually a representation of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Similar neurological conditions were seen in the previous incidences of the SARS outbreak and MERS outbreak which is why it seems believable that these people have passed a trauma. The complete findings of this study are published in the journal The Clinical Neuropsychologist.
The common problems after recovering from COVID-19 include headache, stress, insomnia, fatigue, memory-related problem, and difficulty concentrating. Some people fear that these changes may leave them with a long term cognitive impairment which makes them more stressed. However, researchers believe it is a timely condition and common after someone goes through a traumatic experience.
One of the authors of this study, Dr. Andrew Levine from the School of Medicine at UCLA is a neuropsychologist who has referred how previous pandemics left their survivor with similar conditions.
According to Dr. Levine, this study aims to explore how a health-related incidence can disturb a person even after recovering from it. Not just for the patient but the neuropsychologist should also pay attention don when does his patient needs help. Although post-traumatic stress disorder is not specifically diagnosed in COVID-19 survivors the cognitive impairment and emotional hardships are characterized as signs of PTSD.
If there is a patient coming for the neuropsychological evaluation, he is typically representing himself best in front of a physician. But it is the physician who has to identify If there is an underlying problem and how his symptoms are affecting his mental health, performance, and capabilities. Based on this in-person evaluation, the individual treatment is planned for every person until these symptoms are resolved and under control.
Sometimes medicine and therapy both are required to pass these symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among COVID-19 survivors. Once the treatment is started, it helps to remit these neurological problems and complaints that these patients make to the doctors.
All neuropsychologists in the country have to keep an eye on new updates, guidelines, and literature that are coming on the neuropsychological evaluation of coronavirus patients and survivors. It is possible for some patients to exhibit more obvious signs than others. Some patients are well-informed of their symptoms and they are able to express in better during evaluation but for others, its more like a ‘lost’ phase, and the physician has to evaluate him by himself. If ignored, there are high chances that it will develop into something more damaging such as a psychiatric illness.
COVID-19 Pandemic is no less than trauma and just because most people have recovered from it doesn’t justify the deaths caused by this virus. The experience of passing the quarantine period, treatment, and the fear of the unknown makes it impossible to forget. Many of these patients experience hallucinations even after recovering.
This diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder in COVID-19 survivors is not a good thing but it is treatable. Right now, there are many researchers trying to understand the aftereffects of this dreadful pandemic and how to control it. Hopefully, there will be a solution in the coming months to make life better for the COVID-19 survivors.