Leo Sher, M.D.
My commentary, “Post-COVID syndrome and suicide risk” was published in the QJM: An International Journal of Medicine online ahead of print on January 24, 2021 and included in the February 2021 print issue of the Journal (1). A summary of my article is below:
A significant number of coronavirus disease SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) patients continue to have symptoms related to COVID-19 after the acute phase of illness. This post-COVID condition is sometimes called ‘post-COVID syndrome’, ‘long COVID’ or ‘post-acute COVID-19’. Persistent psychiatric symptoms among COVID-19 survivors such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic symptoms and cognitive impairment may be related to psychological factors and neurobiological injury. COVID-19 related neurological symptoms including anosmia, ageusia, dizziness, headache and seizures may persist for a long time after the acute COVID-19 illness. Many COVID-19 survivors experience persistent physical symptoms such as cough, fatigue, dyspnea and pain after recovering from their initial illness. There is a high probability that symptoms of psychiatric, neurological and physical illnesses, as well as inflammatory damage to the brain in individuals with post-COVID syndrome increase suicidal ideation and behavior in this patient population. COVID-19 survivors without post-COVID syndrome may also be at elevated suicide risk. Studies of suicidality in COVID-19 survivors are urgently needed and will be a new area of suicide research. An appropriate management of psychiatric, neurological and medical conditions may reduce suicide risk among COVID-19 survivors with or without post-COVID syndrome.
- Sher L. Post-COVID syndrome and suicide risk. QJM. 2021 Apr 27;114(2):95-98. doi: 10.1093/qjmed/hcab007.