by Dr. Lorin Bradbury
Question: What are some of the mental health effects of COVID?
Answer: To find an answer to your question, I searched the American Psychological Association (APA) data bases, WebMD, and Mayo Clinic website. COVID-19 is a new disease, and many effects are yet unknown. Some of the more common mental health problems reported, given the short time COVID has been around, are anxiety, depression, memory problems, trouble with concentration, and sleep problems.
Other Behavioral health problems are marital problems, parent-child problems, issues related to education, and an increase in suicide. Most of those have been related to the fear of catching the disease and/or the isolation created by schools being closed, long periods of quarantine, lack of peer interaction, and working remotely from home. Also, there is the frustration of parents trying to help their children with advanced academic subjects and either not feeling capable, or just not having the time.
Another area, that is of great concern is the number of students who lost a year of schooling and developed bad habits of staying up all night, sleeping daytimes, and becoming absorbed with varying forms of electronic media.
For those who have been infected with COVID, and particularly those who were sick enough to be hospitalized, long-term effects of the brain are emerging. Just as organs, such as heart, lung, liver, and kidneys can become a target of the COVID virus, the brain also can be a target of COVID. Autopsies of older adults who have died of COVID have revealed destruction of brain cells like that found in Alzheimer’s disease.
According to the Mayo Clinic website, even in young people, COVID-19 can cause strokes, seizures, and Guillain-Barre syndrome—a condition that causes temporary paralysis. Guillain-Barre syndrome can be fatal, especially if medical services cannot be accessed quickly. Researchers believe COVID-19 may also increase the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
The most prudent thing you can do for yourself, your family, and your community, if you have not already done so, is to get vaccinated as soon as possible.
Lorin L. Bradbury, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist in private practice in Bethel. For appointments, he can be reached at 543-3266. If you have questions that you would like Dr. Bradbury to answer in the Delta Discovery, please send them to The Delta Discovery, P.O. Box 1028, Bethel, AK 99559, or e-mail them to [email protected].