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3 teenagers experience severe psychiatric issues after contracting COVID-19

Three teens that had COVID-19 and said they experienced suicidal thoughts, paranoia, delusions, and brain fog.

A study found that the virus created anti-neural antibodies, which attack brain tissue.

The study was conducted by researchers with UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences and the UCSF Department of Pediatrics.


Over 5 months in 2020 a total of 18 adolescents were hospitalized with COVID-19 at the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital San Francisco. Three of the patients were the ones experiencing psychosis in the study.

Researchers obtained cerebrospinal fluid from the teenagers. Two teens who had a history of depression and anxiety had antibodies that showed COVID-19 was invading their central nervous system. Their COVID was mild or asymptomatic, and also had anti-neural antibodies in their spinal fluid.

The study determined that the immune system overcompensated and mistakenly attacked the brain, not the infection.


Adults have had autoantibodies in their cerebrospinal fluid that resulted in neurological issues like headaches, loss of smell, and seizures.

The three teens had their psychotic symptoms appear quickly and rapidly even though their COVID was mild.

They were in the hospital for weeks and put on psychiatric medications. The two teens that had the antibodies found in their spinal fluid were given an intravenous immunoglobulin to help inflammation in autoimmune disorders. One patient showed improved thoughts within 5 days.

The other showed improvement, but still had issues six months later.

Related: Half of the people infected with COVID-19 will suffer from long haul COVID symptoms



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