Fuelling additional anxiety about coronavirus and its newly-emerged more infectious strain, there's a new impact that has been detected in a small number of coronavirus patients. Doctors across the world have now said that they have seen patients experience severe psychosis. Doctors have said that they have now come across people demonstrating these problems within weeks of contracting coronavirus. What seems to be concerning is that most of them did not suffer from a severe case of COVID-19.
Experts believe that this could be another example of the virus impacting neurological and cognitive abilities. According to a report in the New York Times, a 42-year-old woman in New York visited a psychiatrist sobbing and saying that she keeps seeing her children being gruesomely murdered and that she herself plotted to kill them.
Psychiatrist Dr. Hisam Goueli said he was not sure if this case was related to coronavirus but then he saw multiple cases emerge. A 36-year-old woman got so paranoid that her children would be kidnapped that she tried to pass them through a fast-food joint's drive-thru window, a 30-year-old got convinced that his cousin would murder him so he tried to strangulate the cousin in order to save himself, a 55-year-old woman was convinced that a family member has been replaced by an impostor, a 49-year-old man believed he was the devil and a 34-year-old woman began carrying a knife, disrobing in front of strangers and putting hand sanitiser in her food, doctors reported.
A British study of psychiatric complications in 153 patients found that 10 people have "new-onset psychosis", while a study in Spain identified 10 such patients in a hospital. Experts believe that such extreme psychiatric dysfunction would affect only a small proportion of patients. But these cases indicate that unlike what was initially thought, coronavirus does not only cause respiratory distress. Experts also believe that brain-related effects may be linked to the immune system's response to coronavirus.
Reports also indicate that most of these patients did not get very sick from coronavirus. Most of the patients have been in their 30s, 40s and 50s. It is still unclear whether genetic makeup or perhaps an undetected predisposition for psychiatric illness could be a factor.
Dr. Robert Yolken, a neurovirology expert at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine believes that this could be a result of the immune systems being unable to shut down or remaining engaged due to a 'delayed clearance of a small amount of virus'.
The period of treatment also varies from patient to patient.