The long term effects of COVID-19 are widely unknown since this is a relatively new matter. Given the traumatic experience of contracting the corona virus and potentially staying in the ICU, there are some findings on psychological effects including delusions, night terrors and panic attacks. There are chances of brain damage that might go unnoticed because the long-term effects are undetermined. Anxiety is a common symptom during a pandemic for the general population but also for survivors. Tightness in the chest and shortness of breath are common symptoms for anxiety as well as for COVID-19 patients and survivors, so professionals must  be aware of the various possible explanations for a patient’s complaint.

As the long term effects of COVID-19 are still undiscovered, symptoms presented by patients could be misdiagnosed as Covid Related Anxiety, similar to how some neurological symptoms are diagnosed as Conversion Disorder, only to later be recognized as a medical condition. 

In Conversion Disorder, a patient who’s physical symptoms cannot be explained by physical injury or illness, is understood to be having a psychological issue that is manifesting within a physical organ or other part of the body.

It is important for physicians and mental health workers to be vigilant when treating survivors of COVID-19, to be educated as to the long term effects of COVID-19. As these long-term complaints from COVID-19 survivors are surfacing, we want to be careful their concerns are not prematurely dismissed as “in their head.”

Research and Writing Credit: Rachel Benowitz and Deekshitha Tella