The news offers a never-ending smorgasbord of COVID-19 studies, but analyses like this one which bring together a lot of information into one presentation deserve special attention. Many are studying the aftereffects of COVID 19, something we call Post-COVID syndrome or Long-Hauler Syndrome. Countless symptom fingerprints are attributed to this unholy viral disease thrust upon us in 2020. This study focuses on a swath of neuropsychiatric lingering effects, providing groundwork for expectations and treatment of these patients.
The old-time family doctor offered a certain bit of wisdom for many cases. They recommended the ‘tincture of time’. Basically, there are times in which health symptoms will self-resolve if given some time for God’s design to address problems and overcome them. Sprains heal. Viral colds usually resolved. Food poisoning fades in a few days. From this study, one might argue that some of the initial post-COVID effects will fade out by themselves in a month or two. On the other hand, one can see that many post-COVID conditions do not resolve, but instead linger much longer, sometimes even permanently. Knowing the difference helps providers discern when and how aggressively to intervene.
Their study would suggest that mood disorders do seem to increase temporarily after COVID 19 initial acute infection. Yet, they argue that statistic indicate that within 2-3 months, the rates of mood disorders return to a prior baseline of those without having experienced COVID 19. On the other hand, several neuropsychiatric conditions do persist much longer. In many cases, dementia (as a diagnoses0 and cognitive deficits (as a symptom) have persisted for the two years and counting since the initial diagnosis. Psychotic disorders and epilepsy also appear to continue long term across age groups. In children, myoneuronal conditions such as neuropathy and nerve-muscle dysfunctions persist although this does not appear to be the case in adults.
As functional medicine providers like myself care for these patients, we take both the short-term symptoms and the long-term symptoms seriously. While tincture of time may relieve some mood imbalances, supporting our patients with natural therapies lessens the 1-2 month negative impact on their lives. Furthermore, helping the inflammation and dysfunction to resolve faster with anti-inflammatories and neuroplasticity stimulators (nootropics) helps them return to their prior baseline faster. Knowing that symptoms will resolve in 2 months does not mean we sit back and just watch the show until things get better. We push the clock forward.
For those symptoms that we recognize as potential longer-term issues, we work aggressively to limit the effects and prevent the permanent consequences. Besides attacking the underlying mechanisms of dysfunction directly, we also work from other angles. We identify any other factors which predisposed the patient in front of us to having Post-COVID issues. Sometimes, they have occult infections which need therapy. Sometimes, they had prior toxins which need removal. Sometimes, their lifestyle set them up for poor recovery. Sometimes, they have nutritional deficiencies which hinder restoration. Regardless, we identify and target each factor so that recovery can be optimized and faster.
Helping our patients restore healthier more abundant lives requires not only a deep understanding of the Post-COVID process on our part, but also a personalized step-by-step guidance of our patients towards full recovery. The half-treatment or watchful waiting approach of conventional medicine is not our approach. We want to coach, equip, and empower our patients to overcome as quickly as possible.
Taquet, M., Sillett, R., Zhu, L., Mendel, J., Camplisson, I., Dercon, Q., & Harrison, P. J. (2022). Neurological and psychiatric risk trajectories after SARS-CoV-2 infection: an analysis of 2-year retrospective cohort studies including 1 284 437 patients. The lancet. Psychiatry, S2215-0366(22)00260-7. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2215-0366(22)00260-7
Thanks to Epoch Times:
Long COVID-Induced Neuropsychiatric Risks Can Last for Over 2 Years; 1 Remedy to Protect From or Reverse the Situation. Epoch Times. Dr. Yuhong Dong and Merucra Wang. https://www.theepochtimes.com/long-covid-induced-neuropsychiatric-risks-can-last-for-over-2-years-1-remedy-to-protect-or-reverse-the-situation_4725558.html?welcomeuser=1 Published September 12, 2022. Accessed September 14, 2022.
Sanctuary Functional Medicine, under the direction of Dr Eric Potter, IFMCP MD, provides functional medicine services to Nashville, Middle Tennessee and beyond. We frequently treat patients from Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Ohio, Indiana, and more... offering the hope of healthier more abundant lives to those with chronic illness.