The Neuropsychiatry of Long COVID and Post-Acute COVID-19 Syndrome: Update 2023 Review

Posted on:October 28, 2022
Last Updated: December 7, 2023
Time to read: 38–46 minutes

The term “Long COVID” has been used to describe the long-lasting and lingering physical and mental health effects experienced by some individuals following recovery from COVID-19.

This updated 2023 review article focuses on the neuropsychiatric aspects of Long COVID and post-acute COVID-19 syndrome.

It will explore the various neuropsychiatric symptoms associated with the condition, along with the current evidence and approaches for diagnosis, management and treatment.

The article will also discuss the potential implications for the future of Long COVID and post-acute COVID-19 syndrome.

By providing a comprehensive overview of the neuropsychiatric aspects of Long COVID and post-acute COVID-19 syndrome, this review article seeks to serve as a valuable resource for healthcare providers and researchers alike.

Long COVID is a term introduced in 2020 to denote the persistence of symptoms post-SARS-CoV-2 infection.  It is characterised by persistent heterogeneous symptoms affecting multiple organ systems.

COVID-19 infection first emerged in Wuhan province, China, in late 2019. [Crook et al., 2021]

Its impact has been felt in every part of the world, with around 3.97 million deaths now reported globally. [Dong et al., 2020]; [World Health Organization, 2021]

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-Cov-2), the virus which causes COVID-19, enters the body via the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE-2) receptor [Chen et al., 2020]

The clinical spectrum of disease is vast, varying from asymptomatic in the best cases to fatal. [Gupta et al., 2020]; [Kim et al., 2020]

Many variants of COVID-19 have now been discovered. The first variant, alpha, was found in Kent, UK, and as of 30 June 2021, it was confirmed in more than 275,000 cases in the UK and spread to at least 136 other countries. [UK Gov, 2021] Other investigated variants include Beta, Gamma, Zeta, Theta, and Kappa. [UK Gov, 2021]

New covid-19 variants will continue to emerge and spread as the pandemic progresses, for example, Eta and Delta, with the delta variant accounting for over 161,000 cases in the UK as of 30 June 2021. [UK Gov, 2021]

The Lambda variant is a more recent strain that needs to be fully evaluated to establish the outcome of any long-term complications. [UK Gov, 2021]

In this article we cover the pathophysiology of long COVID with a greater emphasis on the neuropsychiatric aspects.