Dangers of coronavirus can include psychiatric or neurological illness, study shows

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — There is new information about why it is important to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

A just-released medical study found one in three patients who contracted the virus experienced side effects that range from mood disorders to stroke or dementia.

RELATED: Study: 1 in 3 patients with COVID-19 also experienced a psychiatric or neurological illness

It is one of the many reasons Bessie Cohran got her second dose of the vaccine Wednesday. She remembers how her daughter contracted COVID-19 and suffered but survived.

“She had, she had all of the stuff that came with COVID. She was sick for about a month,” said Cohran.

The medical road to recovery from COVID-19 has a new warning. A medical study published in The Lancet Psychiatry warns that one out of three patients suffered mood disorders at best, strokes or dementia at worst, six months after being diagnosed with the virus.

“Being very ill has a lot of effect on the brain, and in this case, COVID may have a direct effect on the brain,” said Ronald Cowan, MD and Ph.D. with the Department of Psychiatry at UTHSC.

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The study compared patients who had contracted COVID with those suffering from other illnesses such as the flu.

“They were at 44 percent higher risk of mental health disorder after COVID-19 than you are to having a flu-like condition,” said Judiann Jones, Ph.D. with Methodist LeBonheur Hospital.

Dr. Jones believes COVID-19 mental illness is compounded by isolation, job loss, and other restrictions to prevent the virus’s spread. Jones told FOX13, “Because the isolation, I think, in my own personal opinion, is contributing to a lot of these symptoms for a lot of these folks.”

For health care professionals, it is another example of the dangers of the coronavirus.

“There could be a direct effect of the virus on the brain causing depression, so we don’t know yet if it is the type of depression that we are used to seeing and might respond to typical treatment,” said Dr. Cowan.

The authors of the study did point out the worse the patient suffered from COVID-19 and has to be hospitalized, the higher the risk factor for stroke or dementia depending on age.