COVID and Comorbidity

COVID and Comorbidity

COVID-19 stands out among physical illnesses right now for its unprecedented affect on mental illness. A study of over 69 million people in the United States revealed disturbing results. Out of those diagnosed with COVID, nearly 20% developed a new mental health issue, like anxiety or dementia.

“Given the novelty and scope of the pandemic, there is little-to-no framework, particularly during the lifespan of the majority of the population alive, for how to manage the threat to health, lifestyle, and societal change,” says Jessica Stern, PhD, a psychologist and clinical assistant professor with the Department of Psychiatry at NYU Langone Health.

Visible and Invisible Pain

The comorbidity of physical and mental illness is a deeply felt problem that ought to be talked about more. Some illnesses, like Parkinson’s, can change the brain physically and induce and/or exacerbate mental illness. We have some examples of the comorbidities between physical illnesses like COVID-19 and mental illness below.

  • Isolation, physical and relational. Not being able to work around others or spend time with our partners, friends, etc. is difficult.
  • Physical pain that takes away focus, mobility, and endurance, whether that be a headache, shortness of breath, joint pain, and much more.
  • New stress. So many people have been given new or greater caregiver duties when they may be sick themselves.
  • Emotional fallout from combined circumstances, which makes everything worse.
  • Severe anxiety about the present and future, even panic attacks.
  • Many people struggle to get care for themselves or to make time for self care.
  • Sheer fatigue from pain, exertion, and stress.

Dangerous Allies

When the stressors of being physically sick combine with mental conditions like major medical depression (MDD), it produces an extremely negative situation, even a dangerous one. Prevention and monitoring are essential to help alleviate the effects. We want to see mental health care included in everyone’s health care regimen.

Stronger Together

Contact us today to talk about your needs and options. We offer telepsychiatry services plus in-person services like transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). TMS is seeing wider use in part due to its efficacy and because of the negative effects COVID-19 and other illnesses have had on mental health. It is FDA approved to help with treatment resistant MDD. Check out our blog for more. Always consult a general physician before beginning any new treatment.