Half of Covid sufferers develop depression, doctors warn – the 5 signs to watch for

ALMOST half of those struck down with Covid-19 develop depression, new research has found.

Experts revealed that a high number of patients have been suffering with mental health issues as well as common coronavirus symptoms.

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The three main symptoms of Covid-19 include a new persistent cough, a high temperature and a loss of taste and smell.

If you have any of the above symptoms then you need to get a test and isolate.

British scientists from Anglia Ruskin University have now warned that symptoms you can't see – such as depression could be more common than experts previously thought.

Study co-author Professor Shahina Pardhan said those who are more vulnerable were more likely to suffer from depression.

The experts warned that 48 per cent of participants were categorised as having moderate to severe depression.

The findings were taken from 1,002 patients aged 18 to 81 over September and October.

Researchers found that those most prone to suffer from depression included those with persistent symptoms, low family income and poor overall health status.

Prof Pardhan said: "Our study revealed considerable depression among people who had been infected."

But what are the key signs to look out for when it comes to depression?

The NHS states that there are a range of symptoms associated with depression including mental and physical signs.

1. Low mood

If you're suffering with a low mood and feel as though you're in a rut it could be a sign of depression.

The NHS states that you should see a doctor if your low mood has been going on for two weeks or more.

People who are experiencing a low mood could also feel panicky and anxious.

The NHS says: "It's usually possible to improve a low mood by making small changes in your life. For example, resolving something that's bothering you or getting more sleep."

2. Not wanting to do things you enjoy

The NHS states that if you're struggling to take enjoyment out of life then this could be a sign of depression.

The pandemic has meant that many of us are currently unable to do things we enjoy.

But during this time many people have developed new hobbies and pastimes both in and outdoors.

While it's difficult to make plans with the people you love at the moment, if your loved one keeps refusing plans and doesn't want to go out or doesn't want to speak on the phone or on Zoom then this could be a sign that they are depressed.


The NHS states that as well as mental symptoms, people who are depressed can also show physical signs.

The physical symptoms of depression include:

  • moving or speaking more slowly than usual 
  • changes in appetite or weight (usually decreased, but sometimes increased) 
  • constipation 
  • unexplained aches and pains
  • lack of energy
  • low sex drive
  • changes to your menstrual cycle
  • disturbed sleep – for example, finding it difficult to fall asleep at night or waking up very early in the morning

3. Being irritable

Sometimes when people are depressed they find it hard to think about anything else – this makes everything else seem insigificant to them.

If your loved one is snapping at your or is getting annoyed at small things then try and ask them how they are feeling.

If they don't feel comfortable talking to you about these issues then there are online tools and help lines available where they will be able to talk to people.

4. Withdrawing from others

Some people find it hard to communicate if they are feeling depressed and because of this they may become withdrawn.

Your loved one could stop talking to you or become less affectionate towards you.

They may also struggle to hold conversations and may seem to lose interest in what you have to say.

5. Having suicidal thoughts

If you're depression has been going on for a while then you might start to have thoughts about harming yourself.

These feelings are debilitating but it's important that you know you're not alone.

Suicide doesn't discriminate and every 90 minutes in the UK a life is lost to suicide.

That is why The Sun launched the You're Not Alone campaign.

The aim is that by sharing practical advice, raising awareness and breaking down the barriers people face when talking about their mental health, we can all do our bit to help save lives.

You’re Not Alone

EVERY 90 minutes in the UK a life is lost to suicide.

It doesn't discriminate, touching the lives of people in every corner of society – from the homeless and unemployed to builders and doctors, reality stars and footballers.

It's the biggest killer of people under the age of 35, more deadly than cancer and car crashes.

And men are three times more likely to take their own life than women.

Yet it's rarely spoken of, a taboo that threatens to continue its deadly rampage unless we all stop and take notice, now.

That is why The Sun launched the You're Not Alone campaign.

The aim is that by sharing practical advice, raising awareness and breaking down the barriers people face when talking about their mental health, we can all do our bit to help save lives.

Let's all vow to ask for help when we need it, and listen out for others… You're Not Alone.

If you, or anyone you know, needs help dealing with mental health problems, the following organisations provide support:

  • CALM, www.thecalmzone.net, 0800 585 858
  • Heads Together,www.headstogether.org.uk
  • Mind, www.mind.org.uk, 0300 123 3393
  • Papyrus, www.papyrus-uk.org, 0800 068 41 41
  • Samaritans,www.samaritans.org, 116 123
  • Movember,www.uk.movember.com

Experts have warned that if you are feeling depressed then you should seek help.

Scientists at Anglia Ruskin said a quarter of patients who took part in the study had attempted to self-medicate with over-the-counter drugs – rather than contact health services.

In the UK, Office for National Statistics (ONS) research suggests the pandemic in general has doubled rates of depression from one in ten people to one in five.

Prof Pardhan said that issues caused by the pandemic such as spatial distancing, isolation, quarantine, and economic hardships may lead to or exacerbate depression, frustration, fear, grief, anger, shame, desperation, boredom, stress, and panic.

She added that while a lot of research has already been conducted into Covid-19, more needed to be done.

Prof Pardhan added: "The findings suggest a need for appropriate interventions for Covid-19 patients to promote physical and mental wellbeing."

She said that the link between depression and Covid is important as it will help people understand the impact on their health and wellbeing.

Prof Pardhan said: "Such information may help policy, prevention and treatment efforts."

She added: "Mental health counselling through e-health may be one approach for treating depression among people during times of spatial distancing.

"Our findings provide baseline information that may help guide healthcare provision and policy."

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