While COVID-19 is still debilitating the world as we perceive it. New symptoms as of late have come to light, regarding the mental status of patients. Some people are now reporting that they have developed severe psychotic symptoms.
While there are still many unknowns surrounding the virus, it was presumed that the indications of the virus were purely physical in means of fever, aches, cough, trouble breathing, etc. Now it is believed that COVID-19 may also be affecting the mind as seen with loss of taste and/or smell and now the apparent psychosis. While the link between COVID-19 and the subsequent onset of psychosis is not determined or proven, it has been presented enough to be called to attention by medical professionals. There is a working hypothesis that the symptoms can be developed as a result of stress from the unnatural times we are living in (exposed to the virus or not). And another working hypothesis is that if an individual has been infected with the virus, psychosis can be developed because COVID-19 generates an overproduction of immune cells causing an inflammatory response, which occurs when damaged cells release chemicals from blood vessels into the tissue resulting in swelling.
Psychosis is defined as a break from reality when an individual can no longer make the distinction between what is real and what is not. Psychosis is usually derived from a mental illness, physical illness, substance abuse, or extreme trauma and stress. And people suffering from some form of psychosis will experience hallucinations such as hearing and seeing things that aren’t there, delusions that don’t align with beliefs, irrational behavior, or incoherency.
So far the reports of psychosis in COVID-19 patients have been from people in their 30’s, 40’s and 50’s which is usually when mental illnesses with psychosis as a symptom manifest in a person, such as schizophrenia. And the occurring symptom of psychosis, in patients suffering from COVID-19, had no real bearing on the severity of an individual’s case. Interestingly enough, the Spanish Influenza pandemic in the twentieth century also had seen cases of psychosis following the infection of the virus. So, it is not abnormal to see developments of psychosis in those that have been exposed to a virus, such as COVID-19. Although very alarming, it is important to note that those who do suffer from psychotic symptoms can get better with therapy, a strong support system, and medication.