Coronavirus Chronicles — A Case for Mental Health

In order to avoid obesity or any other disorder, it helps a lot if the family (or affinity group) has good mental health. It rarely takes more than one sentence to bring the subject around to obesity’s equally destructive twin, COVID-19.

A recent multi-author study described the fates of virus survivors. The work is titled “6-month neurological and psychiatric outcomes in 236,379 survivors of COVID-19: a retrospective cohort study using electronic health records.” The number of survivors, 236,379, is a generous number on which to base conclusions. The six-months part indicates that the patients were surveyed a full half-year after they were deemed recovered.

In summation,

— Various adverse neurological and psychiatric outcomes occurring after COVID-19 have been predicted and reported.
— COVID-19 is followed by significant rates of neurological and psychiatric diagnoses over the subsequent 6 months.
— The severity of COVID-19 had a clear effect on subsequent neurological diagnoses.

As would be expected, the report includes a plethora of unpleasant details, all physical in origin because the virus is a physical entity. But these maladies branch out into anxiety and mood disorders; nightmares, apnea, and other sleep disturbances; substance addiction or the collapse of recovery; psychotic episodes, dementia, and other emotional/psychological manifestations.

As always, scientists emphasize that more research is needed:

Finally, a study of this kind can only show associations; efforts to identify mechanisms and assess causality will require prospective cohort studies and additional study designs.

Main points

CNN associate feature writer Kristen Rogers identifies the germane issues. As straitened circumstances and never-ending challenges are added to already stress-filled lives, existence can “feel like a never-ending game of Whac-a-Mole.” It is just all so unrelenting. Burnout is definitely a factor.

Many people do not enjoy the opportunity or space to move around enough to serve either physical or mental health. Feelings of isolation and loneliness can be painful. The converse problem is the inability to attain isolation, as Americans lose jobs (or transportation) and move in with relatives and friends, and a lot of people are working and/or schooling at home.

Telehealth sessions with a therapist are a wonderful invention, but in a crowded environment, things might get awkward. And to be without a support system can set a person free to binge or whatever. Rogers writes:

Without support and accountability, some people’s recovery from eating disorders and substance use disorders has hit a wall. For those who aren’t ready to recover or are still active in their disorders, isolation has been an opportunity to sustain disordered behaviors — a chance for which some may be grateful, while others are distraught.

“Some disorders thrive in isolation,” the author says, and this is certainly true of eating disorders. If nobody comes over, the habit of hiding cheese all over the house is a non-problem.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “6-month neurological and psychiatric outcomes in 236 379 survivors of COVID-19…,”, 04/06/21
Source: “Mental health is one of the biggest pandemic issues we’ll face in 2021,”, 01/04/21
Image by Transformer 18/CC BY-ND 2.0

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About Dr. Robert A. Pretlow

Dr. Robert A. Pretlow is a pediatrician and childhood obesity specialist. He has been researching and spreading awareness on the childhood obesity epidemic in the US for more than a decade.
You can contact Dr. Pretlow at:


Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the American Society of Animal Science 2020 Conference
What’s Causing Obesity in Companion Animals and What Can We Do About It

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the World Obesity Federation 2019 Conference:
Food/Eating Addiction and the Displacement Mechanism

Dr. Pretlow’s Multi-Center Clinical Trial Kick-off Speech 2018:
Obesity: Tackling the Root Cause

Dr. Pretlow’s 2017 Workshop on
Treatment of Obesity Using the Addiction Model

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation for
TEC and UNC 2016

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the 2015 Obesity Summit in London, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s invited keynote at the 2014 European Childhood Obesity Group Congress in Salzburg, Austria.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2013 European Congress on Obesity in Liverpool, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2011 International Conference on Childhood Obesity in Lisbon, Portugal.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2010 Uniting Against Childhood Obesity Conference in Houston, TX.

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