COVID-19 Survivors Report Mental Health Or Neurological Issues

While the light of the tunnel in the pandemic does seem in sight, experts say the mental health crisis is just beginning

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When Kali Fields beat COVID-19 after a 17-day fight last June, she told us how relieved she was her nightmare was over.

At the time, she told NBC 5, "it was an experience I never want to experience again."

On Thursday, 10 months after her initial interview, she told us, she's still dealing with neurological issues, like confusion, brain fog and memory loss.

"I can’t recall something that someone told me last week and they have to keep reminding me. I didn’t have those issues before COVID! I didn’t have them," said Fields.

A new study out this week suggests that a large number of COVID-19 survivors are struggling with mental health issues as well.

British researchers looked at the health records from more than 230,000 COVID-19 patients, mainly in the U.S.

A little more than a third were diagnosed with a neurological or mental health condition within six months of infection.

The most common diagnoses were anxiety and mood disorders.

Madhukar Trivedi, M.D., Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at UT Southwestern Medical Center said there could be two major reasons why.

The fear and uncertainty of a new COVID-19 diagnosis could trigger a disorder.

So can changes in the brain, that might be happening because of inflammation caused by the infection.

"That part of research is still beginning to be understood and we are doing some of that work now. We will find out in the next six months to a year," said Trivedi.

The mental health pandemic is just beginning," said Trivedi.

He said anyone who feels signs of a mental health or neurological disorder shouldn't ignore the symptoms and talk to someone, whether it's a friend, family member or a medical professional.

Fields found support in the Survivor Corp Facebook group, but just like everyone, has unanswered questions.

"How long on is it going to go on? Is it going to be like this the rest of my life?" said Fields.

The answers will only come with time.

Please call the toll-free HHSC COVID-19 Mental Health Support Line at 833-986-1919 to speak with a mental health professional for help dealing with stress, anxiety, or depression.

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