Dr. Stacy Storey
For those of you who have had to endure covid, or know someone who has struggled through it, you know that the effects are long-lasting. One of the common ongoing, lasting, symptoms is covid depression. Covid depression has impacted almost half of the people who have contracted covid, and have been left with what they are calling “long covid”. According to multiple research studies, the people who are more impacted with severe symptoms, tend to experience more challenging depressive symptoms. The covid depression symptoms come from two different sources; the body’s response to the impact of the virus, and the psychological stress of the virus. When you are infected with covid the immune system will begin to produce different chemicals that are intended to support fighting off the virus. One of the chemicals that the immune system releases is cytokines, the higher the quality of the cytokines is usually a result of a worse case of the virus. The cytokines are released and if the body does not handle the chemicals, then ongoing challenges and inflammation occur. The various challenges from the onset of the cytokines include nerve inflammation, challenges with the blood-brain barrier, immune cells that invade the central nervous system, and even challenges with nerve transmission. While this does not necessarily mean that covid causes depression, these changes within the body all can lead to increased depressive symptoms and challenges with the release and uptake of neurotransmitters that can support the reduction of depression and anxiety.
What does covid depression look like? Covid depression would look similar to any kind of depressive state. Depressive symptoms look different on everyone, just would be characterized by a loss of interest in activities and hobbies, challenges with sleep either too much or too little, changes in dietary habits; either over or under eating, increased fatigue, and cognitive impairment. While cognitive impairment would not necessarily be a depressive symptom, the ongoing cognitive impairment that coincides with post-covid, could lead to an increase in depression and ongoing cognitive challenges.
While this article does bring light to some more concerning ongoing symptoms of covid, it is not intended to create fear or worry. Understanding the physical, and mental, impact of the virus can help you to work through the challenges. If you have had covid and have noticed increased depressive symptoms, then I hope this article helps to see why.
While this article does bring light to some more concerning ongoing symptoms of covid, it is not intended to create fear or worry. Understanding the physical, and mental, impact of the virus can help you to work through the challenges. If you have had covid and have noticed increased depressive symptoms, then I hope this article helps to see why. If you are struggling with increased depression or anxiety due to having covid, or just fear of covid, finding a mental health provider and getting support to work through the challenges can help. While covid depression is caused by the changes within your brain and body, finding tools and skills to help process and cope with the symptoms can help to reduce their impact on your day-to-day life.