A report from the Czech Psychiatric Society suggests that up to 20% of people who have contracted the coronavirus eventually experience depression and/or insomnia after the virus has left their body.
Martin Anders, vice-president of the CPS and head of the Psychiatric Clinic at General University Hospital, said that he observed this phenomenon with his patients, as well as himself.
“The reports show that up to 20% of those who have contracted COVID-19 experience psychological problems. Most often its anxiety, depression, or sleep disorders.”
“I’ve noticed it myself. After I had COVID-19, I went through 2 weeks of complete insomnia.”
Anders says that COVID-19 causes a spike in the immune system that releases cytokine proteins, which are the likely cause of the patients’ mental disorders. Cytokines are known to restrict serotonin which can create problems in mood and sleep. Those who have already experienced a mental disorder in their life are especially vulnerable to these symptoms after contracting the virus.
The psychiatrist observes that the psychological effect of the coronavirus now is different than it was during the first wave.
“The impact of the first wave was reflected on the population in a much more subtle way because it was still a relatively new situation that no one had experienced before. But now, the current pressure is quite long-term, with different components all layered on top of each other… Above all, the economic impact of the pandemic is increasing and will continue to increase. Having to live with a feeling of existential insecurity is a stress factor. The threat of losing your job usually affects mental health even more than being unemployed.”
According to an OECD study from 2018, mental health problems, constantly on the rise, cost EU nations roughly 4% of GDP each year.