Covid and Depression Part 1

Covid illustration
Photo by Quinten Braem on Unsplash

I recently heard that depression is a risk factor for covid. It was actually in a commercial. In the commercial, a bunch of celebrities with various risk factors were telling people with those risk factors to be extra careful. It surprised me. I have depression, but never thought it put me at higher risk for severe covid. So, I did some digging. It turns out, I’m behind the times. The CDC started listing depression, among other mood disorders and schizophrenia, as a risk factor at the end of 2021. There are several theories about why depression makes covid riskier.

The first, and I don’t really feel like this counts, is that people with mood disorders tend to have comorbidities (they have depression and diabetes or depression and hypertension). The reason I don’t think this counts is there’s no way to tell if it’s the depression or the comorbidity putting the patient at higher risk.

Another reason, and this feels more legitimate, is that people with mood disorders often don’t take good care of themselves. That seems like an obvious risk factor that I’m surprised I didn’t think of on my own. And another reason is that people with mood disorders are much more likely to be homeless or imprisoned. That prevents access to high quality health care and forces people to live in crowded conditions, which makes covid spread more easily.

But, most surprisingly (for me at least), even if those three reasons are not present, there are no comorbidities, the person takes good care of themselves, and is not homeless or imprisoned, mood disorders still put them at higher risk. They don’t seem to know why this is the case, but one theory is that people with mood disorders, no matter what their overall health is like, seem to suffer from “dysregulation of their immune system.” That could let covid get a foothold and make it harder to fight off.

After reading about it, it’s beginning to make some sense to me. Depression and other mood disorders are hard enough to deal with on their own. It sucks that we now have something else to worry about.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.