NYMC Faculty Publications

Examining the Long-Term Sequelae of SARS-Cov2 Infection in Patients Seen in an Outpatient Psychiatric Department

Author Type(s)

Faculty, Resident/Fellow

Journal Title

Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment

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Second Department

Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences


BACKGROUND: The acute phase of Coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) is well known. However, there is now an increasing number of patients suffering from the post-acute sequelae of COVID-19 (PASC Post COVID-19 condition occurs in individuals with a history of probable or confirmed SARS CoV-2 infection, usually 3 months from the onset of COVID-19 with symptoms and that last for at least 2 months and cannot be explained by an alternative diagnosis), including neuropsychiatric symptoms. The purpose of this report is to describe the sociodemographic, diagnostic and treatment characteristics of patients evaluated in an outpatient psychiatric setting for PASC. METHODS: A retrospective review of 30 individuals with documented COVID-19 illness treated at a university hospital-based Post-COVID-19 Recovery Program were referred to an outpatient psychiatric department for consultation and treatment from December 2020 to July 2021. All individuals complained of neuropsychiatric symptoms including anxiety, depression, fatigue and cognitive problems. Data on sociodemographic characteristics, psychiatric diagnosis, prominent psychological themes and treatment prescribed were described and, where applicable, analyzed with SPSS software. RESULTS: The study population consisted of patients between 25 and 82 years old, with a predominance of women between 46 and 60 years. Approximately half of the patient population had a primary diagnosis of major depressive disorder, often combined with prominent anxiety. Over two-thirds of the patient population reported a combination of depression, fatigue and cognitive complaints, predominantly memory and slowed processing speed. Prominent stressors and psychological themes included social and occupational decline, isolation, lack of empathy and understanding from family, friends and employers, and apprehension about future ability to return to their baseline level of function. Treatments recommended included individual and group psychotherapy, medication and cognitive rehabilitation. Modafinil and antidepressants, often in combination, were the most commonly used medications, intended to target the pervasive fatigue, depressive, and anxiety these individuals were facing. CONCLUSION: Clinical experience from this patient population underscored the significant medical, emotional, neurocognitive and functional sequelae of PASC. Management of these individuals requires a collaborative approach with the availability of psychotherapeutic interventions, pharmacologic treatment, neurocognitive assessment and remediation to address these symptoms.