For people who have become ill with COVID-19 over the past year, PTSD can be added to the list of long-term effects, such as headaches, shortness of breath, difficulty concentration, and fatigue. Researchers have found that mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and insomnia appear in COVID-19 patients – sometimes months after receiving treatment for the virus. Many are also showing signs of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). One study found that one in five Covid-19 survivors was diagnosed with a mental health issue within 90 days of infection. Many of these people had no history of a psychiatric disorder before the pandemic.

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Signs of PTSD in COVID-19 long-haulers

One huge factor in developing mental health issues after a COVID-19 diagnosis depends on if the case was severe enough to require a stay in the intensive care unit. Post-ICU syndrome is a condition that involves symptoms such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Many struggle with flashbacks, nightmares, intrusive thoughts, and avoidance symptoms. Avoidance behaviors occur in an attempt to avoid memories associated with traumatic events. Reminders such as people, objects, and situations can cause flashbacks or panic attacks. Sights, sounds, and even smells can trigger bad memories.

Even for those not hospitalized, COVID-19 has taken a toll on their mental health. Six months past diagnosis, many have “brain fog,” fatigue, and anxiety. COVID long haulers don’t know what long-term effects COVID-19 will have on them or what their future will hold since there are still so many unknowns about the virus.

Why does PTSD cause brain fog?

One of the most common symptoms of COVID long-haulers is the “brain fog” that won’t seem to go away. PTSD can cause brain fog because when a person has PTSD, their brain isn’t functioning optimally. The lack of clarity and inability to focus can have drastic consequences at home and in the workplace. Not recovering from an illness as fast as one would hope is frustrating and stressful. The fact that it could potentially affect your performance on the job or impact your ability to manage everyday life at home is equally anxiety-inducing.

Although there’s still so much that remains unclear about how COVID-19 attacks the body, we do know that respiratory illness has the potential to have harmful effects on cognitive functioning. The human brain requires a constant amount of oxygen. Suppose someone’s ability to breathe is compromised, and their oxygen saturation remains low over an extended period of time. In that case, it’s no surprise that the brain could be affected in some way.

Why mental health treatment is essential in COVID-19 recovery

Many people may not even realize that what they’re experiencing is a mental health issue because many of their symptoms are physical. They assume it’s a lingering effect of the virus. If you’re experiencing any symptoms of PTSD after recovering or while recovering from COVID-19, don’t be embarrassed to seek help. The sooner you get treatment, the better off you’ll be in the long run.

Telehealth expands access to those who may not feel comfortable leaving their homes because of physical or mental health issues. Serene Health offers appointments through our unique app, so you can speak to a therapist without having to leave your house. We also provide late-night and weekend appointments. Call 844-737-3638 or visit our website to book an appointment today.