COVID-19 patients presenting with mental illnesses – Experts


Kampala, Uganda | URN | COVID-19 patients and some of the recovered cases are presenting with a number of mental illnesses, mental health experts have revealed.

While studies show that COVID-19 mainly affects the respiratory system, medical experts say evidence from active patients and recovered cases show that it also affects their mental health.

According to mental health experts, while studies are still ongoing to establish the mental effects of COVID-19, some cases that have been treated in Uganda have presented with a series of mental conditions including anxiety, acute psychosis, delirium, depression and chronic fatigue.

Some of the patients continued presenting with signs of mental illness even after treatment.

Prof Noeline Nakasujja, the head of the psychiatry department at the college of Health Sciences, Makerere University, says that the most common mental health condition COVID-19 patients presented during treatment was anxiety and depression.

Dr Juliet Nakku, the Executive Director of Butabiika Mental National Referral Hospital says that while they are still studying the effects COVID-19 might have on humans, they have so far identified depression and chronic fatigue as the most comment effects.

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She explained that some of the patients who were admitted were suicidal. “During admission as they were getting treatment, some of the patients were very depressed that they developed suicidal tendencies. We had to carry out counselling,” she said.

Uganda has a total of 5,857 COVID-19 recovered patients. However, it’s not clear how many of the recovered patients might have suffered from an episode of depression or anxiety. Ideally, it takes a positive COVID-19 case fourteen days to recover from the illness.

In other countries, recovered patients have reported a number of conditions such as dementia, inflammation of the heart, persistent shortness in breathe and fatigue.