When Mental Illness Trumps COVID-19
When psychosis infects your brain and reality retires on vacation, anything can hit you and you’ll likely remain oblivious. That’s because psychosis takes over your thoughts and the way you interpret reality. Imagine the part of your mind that is in tune with reality laying on the beach holding a corona and stating, “I’m done . . . I can no longer deal with his psychosis. Peace.” What’s left in your brain is psychosis with an evil smile stating, “My turn.”
The problem with psychosis is that even patients who are infected with COVID-19 may not be aware of their symptoms . . . or they may be aware but not fully comprehend the nature and severity of their illness and situation. You may try to explain to them that they are infected with a deadly disease and they may look at you like, “COVID? Is that a satellite dish detecting gray space folks?”
When a patient suffers from psychosis and COVID-19, oftentimes, the psychosis trumps the physical disorder. That’s because psychosis takes over the mind and when the mind is distracted, physical symptoms become slowly buried. Unless severe pain is involved, shortness of breath and fever are no match in the ring versus auditory hallucinations and delusional fantasies.
So what becomes of this situation is the question. The patient will end up being treated for the coronavirus and hopefully recover, while quarantined that is. But as far as their insight goes, they will not care that much about their physical symptoms. They may complain that their cough is getting worse or even their shortness of breath, but as compared to a person with no psychosis, their complaints will be minor.
It’s always important to keep in mind that a psychotic patient cannot always relate to reality as well as other people can. It depends on the severity of their psychosis, but psychosis is psychosis at the end of the day . . . something is still off in their thought process and content. That’s why we have to be extra cautious with patients suffering from a mental illness and who are COVID positive . . . they may never report their symptoms in the first place.
Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)