Psychiatric and post-traumatic stress disorders among COVID-19 survivors




COVID-19, PTSD, psychiatric disorders, tele-health


Evidences related to neuropsychological impact of COVID-19 and its long-term side effects are beginning to emerge that may take years to catalogue the number of diseases and their treatments. Nonetheless, as neuropsychologists are evaluating COVID-19 survivors, a debate related to the psychiatric and neurocognitive sequels of past outbreaks, along with the recurrent co- occurrence of PTSD and acquired brain injuries, may be enlightening. This paper is highlighting the emergence of mental health issues that can be addressed and treatments can be provided according to the need of time. Technology has also been increasing day by day according to the current needs of public. COVID- 19 crisis has now shifted the focus towards the role of digital health care. For ensuring the best and right use of tele-health and app tools in such crises, it is suggested that there is a need for training of mental health professionals to ensure proper protocols for improved efficacy.

Author Biographies

Ammar Ahmed

PhD Scholar, Clinical Psychology, National Institute of Psychology, Centre of Excellence, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad, Pakistan

Naeem Aslam Chughtai, PhD

Assistant Professor, National Institute of Psychology, Centre of Excellence, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad, Pakistan

Qurat- ul- Ain

MPhil Scholar, National Institute of Psychology, Centre of Excellence, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad, Pakistan


Wiersinga WJ, Rhodes A, Cheng AC, et al.: Pathophysiology, transmission, diagnosis, and treatment of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19): A review. JAMA. 2020; 324(8): 782-793.

Troyer EA, Kohn JN, Hong S: Are we facing a crashing wave of neuropsychiatric sequelae of COVID-19? Neuropsychiatric symptoms and potential immunologic mechanisms. Brain Behav Immun. 2020; 87: 34-39. DOI: 10.1016/j.bbi.2020.04.027.

Kaseda ET, Levine AJ: Post-traumatic stress disorder: A differential diagnostic consideration for COVID-19 survivors. Clin Neuropsychol. 2020; 34: 1498-1514.

Sheehy LM: Considerations for postacute rehabilitation for survivors of COVID-19. JMIR Public Health Surveill. 2020; 6(2): e19462.

Halpin SJ, McIvor C, Whyatt G, et al.: Postdischarge symptoms and rehabilitation needs in survivors of COVID-19 infection: A cross-sectional evaluation. J Med Virol. 2020. DOI: 10.1002/ jmv.26368.

Morbelli S, Ekmekcioglu O, Barthel H, et al.: COVID-19 and the brain: Impact on nuclear medicine in neurology. Eur J Nucl Med Mol Imaging. 2020; 47(11): 2487-2492.

Richardson S, Hirsch JS, Narasimhan M, et al.: Presenting characteristics, comorbidities, and outcomes among 5700 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in the New York City area. JAMA. 2020; 323(20): 2052-2059.

Park HY, Park WB, Lee SH, et al.: Posttraumatic stress disorder and depression of survivors 12 months after the outbreak of Middle East respiratory syndrome in South Korea. BMC Public Health. 2020; 20: 1-9.

Lee SH, Shin H-S, Park HY, et al.: Depression as a mediator of chronic fatigue and post-traumatic stress symptoms in Middle East respiratory syndrome survivors. Psychiatry Investig. 2019; 16(1): 59.

Mollers M, Jonges M, Pas SD, et al.: Follow-up of contacts of middle east respiratory syndrome coronavirus–infected returning travelers, The Netherlands, 2014. Emerg Infect Dis. 2015; 21(9): 1667.

Liu Y, Cao L, Li X, et al.: Awareness of mental health problems in patients with coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19): A lesson from an adult man attempting suicide. Asian J Psychiatr. 2020; 51: 102106.

Raison CL, Rutherford RE, Woolwine BJ, et al.: A randomized controlled trial of the tumor necrosis factor antagonist infliximab for treatment-resistant depression: The role of baseline inflamma-tory biomarkers. JAMA Psychiatr. 2013; 70(1): 31-41.

Ellul M, Varatharaj A, Nicholson TR, et al.: Defining causality in COVID-19 and neurological disorders. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2020; 91(8): 811-812.

Köhler O, Benros ME, Nordentoft M, et al.: Effect of anti-inflammatory treatment on depression, depressive symptoms, and adverse effects: A systematic review and meta-analysis of rand-omized clinical trials. JAMA Psychiatry. 2014; 71(12): 1381-1391.

Wang C, Pan R, Wan X, et al.: Immediate psychological responses and associated factors during the initial stage of the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) epidemic among the general popu-lation in China. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020; 17(5): 1729.

Xiang Y-T, Yang Y, Li W, et al.: Timely mental health care for the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak is urgently needed. Lancet Psychiatry. 2020; 7(3): 228-229.

Sommer IE, Bakker PR: What can psychiatrists learn from SARS and MERS outbreaks? Lancet Psychiatry. 2020; 7(7): 565-566.

Olufadewa II, Adesina MA, Oladokun B, et al.: “I Was Scared I Might Die Alone”: A qualitative study on the physiological and psychological experience of COVID-19 survivors and the quality of care received at health facilities. Int J Travel Med Global Health. 2020; 8(2): 51-57.

Wakam GK, Montgomery JR, Biesterveld BE, et al.: Not dying alone—Modern compassionate care in the Covid-19 pandemic. N Engl J Med. 2020; 382(24): e88.

Flynn HA, Warren R: Using CBT effectively for treating depression and anxiety. Curr Psychiatry. 2014; 13(6): 45-53.

Mondiale de la Santé O, World Health Organization: Neglected tropical diseases: Impact of COVID-19 and WHO’s response. Wkly epidemiol rec. 2020; 95(39): 461-468.

Logie CH: Lessons learned from HIV can inform our approach to COVID-19 stigma. J Int AIDS Soc. 2020; 23(5): e25504.

Brooks SK, Webster RK, Smith LE, et al.: Rapid review. Lancet. 2020; 395: 912-920.

National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health: Common Mental Health Disorders: Identification and Pathways to Care, vol. 123. Leicester, UK: British Psychological Society, 2011.

Wu P, Fang Y, Guan Z, et al.: The psychological impact of the SARS epidemic on hospital employees in China: Exposure, risk perception, and altruistic acceptance of risk. Can J Psychiatry. 2009; 54(5): 302-311.

Resick PA, Nishith P, Weaver TL, et al.: A comparison of cognitive-processing therapy with prolonged exposure and a waiting condition for the treatment of chronic posttraumatic stress disorder in female rape victims. J Consult Clin Psychol. 2002; 70(4): 867.

Bormann JE, Thorp SR, Smith E, et al.: Individual treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder using mantram repetition: A randomized clinical trial. Am J Psychiatry. 2018; 175(10): 979-988.

Lebowitz ER, Marin C, Martino A, et al.: Parent-based treatment as efficacious as cognitive-behavioral therapy for childhood anxiety: A randomized noninferiority study of supportive parent-ing for anxious childhood emotions. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2020; 59(3): 362-372.

Galea S, Merchant RM, Lurie N: The mental health consequences of COVID-19 and physical distancing: The need for prevention and early intervention. JAMA Intern Med. 2020; 180(6): 817-818.

Wind T, Rijkeboer M, Andersson G, et al.: The COVID-19 pandemic: The ‘black swan’ for mental health care and a turning point for e-health. Internet Interv. 2020; 20: 100317.

Torous J, Myrick J, Rauseo RN, et al.: Digital Mental Health and COVID-19: Using technology today to accelerate the curve on access and quality tomorrow. JMIR Mental Health. 2020; 7(3): e18848-e18848.

Kathirvel N: Post COVID-19 pandemic mental health challenges. Asian J Psychiatry. 2020; 53: 102430-102430.