Covid-19 Linked to New Schizophrenia Spectrum: Study

Covid-19 Linked to New Schizophrenia Spectrum: Study


In light of the continued worldwide impacts of SARS-CoV-2, it is vital to understand the possible long-term mental health implications. A various number of recent investigations have put forward a relation between COVID-19 and consequent mental health issues. This current study extends the analysis by focusing on Schizophrenia Spectrum and Psychotic Disorders (SSPD).Researchers have discovered a relation between severe covid-19 infection, schizophrenia and a psychotic illness.

What does study convey?

As per the study, the individuals having covid-19 infection are liked to be more diagnosed with schizophrenia which is more than four times compared to those who were not infected. In contrast to prior studies, this study used covid-19 laboratory negative cohorts (groups) & acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) as control groups in order to precisely measure the effect of COVID-19 on SSPD. To conduct the study, researchers used more the 193 lakh patients.

Interestingly, the study showed that younger people have an increasing high risk of SSPD after contacting with covid-19 infection; but this was not the case for the ARDS and covid-negative groups.

Also Read: Government issues alert for COVID-19 sub-variant, JN.1


It is a mental disorder which is characterized by psychotic symptoms and a break from reality. It refers to losing touch with reality and having own world which is different from reality. An Individual who suffers with this mental health illness are unable to understand reality in the same way that healthy people do. They may perceive things that are invisible to us, have hallucinations, delusions and exhibit abnormal behaviors. Schizophrenia has different types, include paranoid, disorganized, catatonic, undifferentiated and residual type. They could even put others or themselves at risk. Treatment and care for this condition must be provided for life. Early diagnosis and treatment may minimize the resulting symptoms or consequences.

Symptoms of schizophrenia

Schizophrenia has both positive and negative symptoms.

Positive symptoms are those symptoms which are added to an individual’s experience that is not normally experienced by other people. These are:
  • Hallucinations are the perceptions of an individual which are not real, but feel real for them. Hallucinations are in various forms: auditory, visual, olfactory, tactile, gustatory and general somatic hallucinations.
  • Delusions are another positive symptom of schizophrenia. It refers to believing in something false, even when there is evidence to prove that is not real. These are the false beliefs. Types of delusions are: persecutory delusions, control delusions, grandiose delusions, somatic delusions and ideas of reference.
  • Thought disorder: difficulty in speaking and organizing thoughts may result in stopping speech midsentence or adding meaningless words.
  • Disorganized behavior: this might show in a various ways, ranging from child like silliness to unpredictable agitation.

Also Read: Long Covid Neurological Symptoms Uncovered by Study

Negative symptoms refer to lack of feelings or behaviors that are usually present that is, absence of normal behavior. These are:
  • Avolition: Refer to lack of motivation and seeming absence of will/ interest in the ability to persist in routine activities such as self-care etc.
  • Flat effect: Lack of outward expression of emotion.
  • Alogia: Significant reduction in the amount of speech means does not talk much.
  • Anhedonia: Presumed loss of interest and experience of reported pleasure in activities that are typically considered pleasurable for everyone.
  • Asociality: Severe impairments in social relationships.
Apart from positive & negative symptoms, a third dimension is disorganized symptoms. They are:
  • Disorganized speech
  • Disorganized affect and behavior

Also Read: How to Cope with “Corona Phobia” Between the Rising Cases of Covid-19

Types of schizophrenia

  • Paranoid type: dominated by presence of delusions and hallucinations.
  • Disorganized type: show the following features – disorganized speech and behavior, flat affect.
  • Catatonic type: motor disturbances such as rigidity, agitation or odd mannerism are predominant.
  • Undifferentiated type: who do not fit into above three types would be included under this category
  • Residual type: who had at least one episode of schizophrenia, but may not any longer have major symptoms.
Treatment of schizophrenia

Prior to 1950s, treatment was very limited. Now some of the treatment options that are available are:

Biological treatment:

before anti-psychotic medicines, Insulin coma therapy was used in which insulin was injected to reduce blood sugar levels and cause coma in patients. Psychosurgery and prefrontal lobotomy were also used. In 1930, electroconvulsive therapy (ect) was employed for the treatment.

Psychosocial treatment:

Previously, psychotherapy was believed to help patients. But now it is clear that therapeutic interventions cannot cure schizophrenia. Psychologists use behavioral techniques to teach social skills, self-care etc. Psychoeducation is also helpful. Social skills training, family intervention, and vocational rehabilitation may be helpful.

  • Original source: National Library of Medicine

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