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Getting bouts of anxiety and panic might be symptoms of covid-19: Study

Published on:16 July 2020, 13:29pm IST
Not just physical, covid-19 can also have mental health manifestations like depression mood and bouts of anxiety.
Team Health Shots
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Anxiety and covid-19 might just be connected. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Have you been feeling dull and anxious? Has your mood hit an all-time low? Then you need to know that according to a new study published in The Laryngoscope, anxiety and depression are two symptoms that are closely related to covid-19. 

Basically covid-19 can toy around with your central nervous system and that’s the main reason why you see a sudden change in your senses like smell and taste. 

The study noted that depressed mood and/or anxiety exhibited in covid-19 patients may possibly be a sign the virus affects the nervous system. 

The more severe symptoms of covid-19 still are shortness of breath, cough, or fever
“If you had asked me why would I be depressed or anxious when I am covid positive, I would say it is because my symptoms are severe and I have shortness of breath or I can’t breathe or I have symptoms such as cough or high fever,” said study co-author Ahmad Sedaghat from the University of Cincinnati in the US.

Sedaghat explains:

None of these symptoms that portended morbidity or mortality was associated with how depressed or anxious these patients were.

He said the only element of covid-19 that was associated with depressed mood and anxiety was the severity of patients’ loss of smell and taste.

However, the study cautioned that there may not be a causal link between the disruption of the sense of smell in SARS-CoV-2 and the psychological symptoms.

Emotional turmoil is also witnessed in affected patients
“Our study should be interpreted within the context of its limitations, the most conspicuous of which is that we cannot show any direct causal link between chemosensory dysfunction in coronavirus and emotional disturbance,” the researchers wrote.

The researchers conducted a prospective, cross-sectional telephone questionnaire study that examined the characteristics and symptoms of 114 patients who were diagnosed with covid-19 over a six-week period.

From the data collected, the scientists assessed the severity of the loss of smell or taste, nasal obstruction, excessive mucus production, fever, cough, and shortness of breath during covid-19.

At the time of enrolment in the study, when participants were experiencing covid-19, the researchers said 47.4% of participants reported at least several days of depressed mood per week.

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They said nearly a fifth of the participants reported depressed mood nearly every day.

Sadly in terms of severity, the study noted that 44.7% of the participants reported expressing mild anxiety while 10.5% reported severe anxiety.

“The unexpected finding that the potentially least worrisome symptoms of covid-19 may be causing the greatest degree of psychological distress could potentially tell us something about the disease,” Sedaghat said.

“We think our findings suggest the possibility that psychological distress in the form of depressed mood or anxiety may reflect the penetration of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, into the central nervous system,” the researchers noted.

Sedaghat believes there may be more central nervous system penetration of the virus than previously reported.

“This really opens up doors for future investigations to look at how the virus may interact with the central nervous system,” he concluded.

Is there a way to deal with the anxiety that comes with this pandemic in any case?
Of course, there is. Yoga and meditation are adjunctive ways to calm your nerves. Having said that, you need to practice it with utmost discipline and perseverance as it is not a quick fix. 

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But if still things are not getting in control and severe mood swings are knocking you down then don’t hesitate in talking to an expert so that you can rightly do the damage control. 

(With inputs from PTI)

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