First, I apologize. Candidates for political office who try to manage too many aspects of their life wind up losing track of something, and in this case, the blog bit the dust for a bit. That’s my bad. Thankfully, I won reelection by a pretty good margin. I was planning on getting back to this last weekend, and then things went to heck again as I entered another election – this one also with good results!
Anyway, I’m back and hoping to get back to my one blog entry a week schedule.
Wish I had happier things to write about, though.
So, here’s the latest of the COVID-19 chronicles. A new study has revealed some devastating mental health information about the disease: 1 in 5 people who recover from COVID-19 develop a mental illness. This comes from a study that was published in The Lancet, one of the most prestigious medical journals in the world. According to the interpretation of the study:
Survivors of COVID-19 appear to be at increased risk of psychiatric sequelae, and a psychiatric diagnosis might be an independent risk factor for COVID-19. Although preliminary, our findings have implications for clinical services, and prospective cohort studies are warranted.
The study further warns that this does happen even to patients who had no previous diagnosis, with anxiety issues among the most commonly diagnosed issues that came in the aftermath of COVID.
There are a lot of implications from this study. The first may be the most frightening: Does COVID-19 cause long-term mental illness in some biological way? There is preliminary evidence to suggest that there may be long-term health concerns, although more evidence is unquestionably needed before definitive conclusions can be drawn.
Another possibility is something that we’ve spoken about regularly on this blog: The interaction between real life and mental health. Getting COVID-19 must be a terrifying experience. I’ve been lucky enough to avoid it so far, as has everyone in my life who I love, but let’s face it, we’ve all spent months absolutely terrified of the concept. We all hear the horror stories, see the businesses closing, the people retreating into isolation after a potential exposure. To get the disease – particularly if you have a difficult time coping with it or recovering – must be an exceptionally frightening experience.
Then add the socio-economic factors: The isolation from your family and friends. The inability to work and make money – particularly if you are economically insecure – and all the anxiety in the world makes sense.
Oh, and have we mentioned how the mental health system is going to be even more overwhelmed than it already is?
Is the news all bleak? No, of course not. We know it’s coming. We know that we need to spend more time and money on our mental health system. We have the chance to react. And hopefully, our federal and state governments will.
As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Any mental health experiences with COVID that you want to share? Let us know in the comments below!