Understanding COVID: How this Deadly Disease Cause PTSD to Survivors

Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic started its spread worldwide, it infected people and their livelihood, relationships with others, and basically any semblance of normalcy. Everyone on the planet has had to deal with the pandemic on some level. 

After more than a year of battling with the virus, we’re finally just starting to bounce back little by little. While that may be a good thing, some of those who experienced the wrath of the virus firsthand are still suffering from it even after recovery. A recent study has revealed that nearly one-third of COVID survivors who were part of the study developed PTSD, or at the very least, some symptoms associated with it.

COVID Survivors and PTSD

In a single-center Italian study published in the American Medical Association (JAMA Network) Journal, researchers have found about 30% of patients who recovered from COVID-19 developed post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). After everything they’ve been through, it looks like these COVID survivors are experiencing some long-term effects on their exposure to the virus.

The researchers analyzed 381 patients between 21 April 2020 and 15 October 2020. These people survived an acute form of COVID-19 that they endured anywhere between 30 and 120 days. The average age of the participants is 55 years old, and about 166 of them are women.

While the sample size seems small, it’s likely going to prompt additional analysis regarding the connection between PTSD and COVID. Researchers found that 115 or 30.2% of the participants have developed PTSD. About 66 of them had suffered from depressive episodes, while some were diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder.

Women Are More Susceptible to PTSD

Among the 115 patients who developed PTSD, 64 of them were women. According to Delfina Janiri, MD, of the Gemelli University Hospital in Rome, Italy, women had higher history rates of developing psychiatric disorders. They’re also more likely to have experienced delirium or agitation during their acute illness.

What the PTSD Study Means

Those researchers found something that wasn’t apparent when the pandemic started. This COVID-PTSD study revealed that this illness can harm people in ways that one cannot necessarily see physically. Not even considering all the other mental health challenges that people have experienced as an aftereffect of the pandemic. PTSD could be regarded as one of COVID’s long-term effects that could change how we deal with this illness. 

Perhaps one of the most troubling aspects of this is the continuing restrictions and changes required by COVID-19, which will probably continue even after the pandemic threat has diminished. In one way or another, it has left many people scarred, and restoring things back to the way it was before may pose an even more significant challenge than people might think.


The battle against COVID-19 has raged on for more than a year, causing damage to our health, society, economy, and even our culture. But it seems like the battle is far from over as we discover more things about the virus that we are not prepared for. Developing PTSD may just be the last thing a COVID survivor would want after all the physical hardship they’ve been through.

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