Small number of COVID-19 patients may develop PSYCHOSIS
Psychosis may be another symptom of COVID-19: Study suggests some people suffer HALLUCINATIONS after contracting coronavirus
- Study found evidence up to 4% of patients could suffer some form of psychosis
- Comes from Australian scientists who reviewed 14 pieces of research
- Can be treated with low doses of anti-psychotic medication, study suggests
- Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19
A small number of COVID-19 patients may develop psychosis as a side-effect of their infection, according to a team of Australian researchers.
This can manifest itself as hallucinations and hearing voices, the scientists say.
A review of 14 scientific papers assessed how people living with psychosis were impacted by an epidemic, including MERS, SARS, COVID-19 and swine flu.
The study found evidence of between one and four per cent of people infected with virus developing psychosis-like symptoms.
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A team of Australian researchers claim a small number of COVID-19 patients may develop psychosis as a side-effect of their infection. This can manifest itself as hallucinations and hearing voices (stock photo)
While these symptoms may be seen in only a small number of COVID-19 patients, they pose considerable difficulty to clinicians when treating them.
‘Maintaining infection control procedures when people are psychotic is challenging,’ Professor Richard Gray of La Trobe University said.
‘In order for them not to become potential transmitters of the virus, clinicians and service providers may benefit from specific infection control advice to mitigate any transmission risk.’
The academics say common mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety are important to tackle during the COVID-19 pandemic, but adds that people living with conditions at the most severe end of the mental health spectrum can be affected as well.
Dr Ellie Brown, co-author of the research from Orygen, a non-profit mental health organisation based in Australia, told MailOnline: ‘Psychotic symptoms need to be picked up quickly and effectively treated.
‘There is evidence that a low dose of antipsychotic medication is effective.
‘Clinicians also need to have good communication skills to talk to people experiencing psychosis who will – inevitably – be distressed and agitated. Clinicians may also benefit for taking advice from mental health specialists (psychiatrists, psychologists).’
The study found evidence of between one and four per cent of people infected with virus developing psychosis-like symptoms. While these symptoms may be seen in only a small amount of COVID-19 patients, they pose considerable difficulty to clinicians (stock photo)
Experts warn of mental health impact of COVID-19 pandemic
A global mental health crisis is looming from the coronavirus pandemic because people are struggling to cope with economic hardships and lockdown isolation, the UN warned today.
‘After decades of neglect and underinvestment in mental health services, the COVID-19 pandemic is now hitting families and communities with additional mental stress,’ UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned in a video message launching the brief.
‘Even when the pandemic is brought under control, grief, anxiety and depression will continue to affect people and communities,’ he said.
The UN brief highlighted the mental strains on people fearing that they or loved ones will be infected or die from the novel coronavirus, which has killed nearly 300,000 people worldwide since it first emerged in China late last year.
It also pointed to the psychological impact on vast numbers of people who have lost or are at risk of losing their livelihoods, have been separated from loved ones or have suffered under drastic lockdown orders.
Professor Gray adds: ‘This is a group that’s probably going to need more support, with isolation, physical distancing, hand washing etc, and clinicians may be the ones who need to be thinking and working on this to assist this vulnerable population,’ he said.
As well as exposure to the virus, psychological stress induced by the pandemic may increase the prevalence of psychosis, the researchers say.
Dr Ellie Brown says: ‘COVID-19 is a very stressful experience for everyone, particularly those with complex mental health needs.
‘We know that psychosis, and first episodes of psychosis, are commonly triggered by substantial psychosocial stresses.
‘In the context of COVID-19, this could include stress relating to isolation and having to potentially remain within challenging family situations.
‘People with psychosis are a population that are particularly vulnerable in the current COVID-19 pandemic and their needs are often overlooked.
‘This research shows that their thoughts around contamination, and their understanding around concepts such as physical distancing may be different from the wider population.’
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