Mental issues possible after COVID recovery
People who have recovered from COVID-19 are still at risk of suffering from the disease’s impact on their mental health, a leading neurologist said on Thursday.
Dr. Epifania Collantes, stroke services chief at Philippine General Hospital, said COVID-19’s effect on brain functions could be seen long after the patient had recovered from the severe respiratory disease.
“Patients who recover from COVID have higher risk of neuropsychiatric and neurocognitive conditions,” Collantes said in a press briefing.
These conditions may include depression, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) or psychosis, Collantes said.
Two years after recovery
Neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease may manifest perhaps two years after the COVID-19 patient’s recovery, she added.
Collantes urged COVID-19 survivors who have follow-up checkups regularly to also get examined for signs of serious impairment of their mental faculties.
Doctors have noticed that some COVID-19 patients who have recovered have shown behavioral changes.
“They can’t sleep at night, they are afraid, there is fear of having another infection and dying,” Collantes said.
Some who have recovered cannot think clearly, which affects their relationships and work, she said.
“Some have hallucinations and they need to be treated,” she added.
“In a few years we will see the effect,” she added, referring to Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills.
Parkinson’s disease is a progressive brain disorder that leads to shaking, stiffness, and difficulty with walking, balance and coordination.
Collantes said doctors were still gathering data on how many COVID-19 patients had been affected neurologically.
“Soon we will have the data,” she said.
A COVID-19 patient may fully recover physically after about six months, “but for cognitive conditions, they should be screened beyond six months,” Collantes said.
“There are certain tools we have to screen for cognitive impairment. Even if the family has not noticed any signs, [COVID patients] should consult so the doctor can pick up signs of initial memory decline early,” she said.
The Department of Health (DOH) has recorded fewer than 2,000 COVID-19 cases daily for 17 straight days, but deaths due to the coronavirus disease continued to increase in double digits.
On Thursday, the DOH reported 1,392 additional infections, bringing the total confirmed cases to 424,297.
Eight out of the past 17 days saw fewer than 1,500 new cases.
The DOH said 27 more patients had died of COVID-19, including nine people who were previously tagged as recovered, which brought total deaths to 8,242.
It said 328 more patients had recovered, raising the overall number of COVID-19 survivors to 387,266.
The recoveries and deaths left the country with 28,789 active cases, of which 84 percent, or 24,182, were mild; 8.3 percent, or 2,389, showed no symptoms; 0.26 percent, or 74, moderate; 2.6 percent, or 748, severe, and 4.9 percent, or 1,410, critical.
The DOH said 1,367 tested positive for the virus out of 24,558 tests conducted, for a positivity rate of 5.6 percent.
But nine laboratories were unable to submit their data.
Among cities and provinces, Caloocan City had the most new cases, 77, followed by Cavite and Laguna (73 each), Davao City (62) and Quezon province (60).
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