COVID-19 is a respiratory disease, but it can also cause mood swings and problems with brain function in some people. Mood disorders, brain fog, anxiety, depression, and other life-limiting conditions have seen a spike since the pandemic began, showing a link between COVID-19 and other health problems. And now, anecdotal evidence from providers is backed by hard science.
Because COVID-19 is a new virus, scientists across the world have conducted many studies to try to understand its long-term effects on the body. And as research has continued, we have learned more and more about the link between COVID-19 and mood problems. Thankfully, non-drug neurofeedback treatments can help you to regain a balanced mood and improve your post-COVID brain function.
At NeuroZone, Erin Badour CCC-SLP provides custom protocols for a wide range of mood, attention, and cognition problems. To meet with her to discuss your treatment options, and to see how neurofeedback can help you deal with mood swings, call us to book your personal consultation or fill out an inquiry form with your request.
- 1 What is NeuroFeedback?
- 2 Post-COVID Mood Problems
- 3 Anxiety & Depression
- 4 The Social Effects of the Pandemic
- 5 Personal Consultation
- 6 Cost of Post-COVID Mood Treatment in Santa Monica
- 7 FAQ
- 8 References
What is NeuroFeedback?
Neurofeedback training is a therapy modality that helps people to “retrain their brain”. Treatments are known as protocols, and there may be a specific protocol, or combination of protocols that could help you improve your everyday life considerably! The services you receive will depend on what you need them for, but they can be of great help if you are:
- Struggling with new mood swings
- Having memory or “brain fog” issues
- Facing academic challenges
- Facing behavioral challenges
- Returning to work after illness-related absence
- Feeling like your brain is “slower” after COVID-19
Whether you’re returning to work or school after illness with COVID-19, you’re experiencing COVID-related mood swings, or pandemic-related stresses have become overwhelming, the professionals at NeuroZone can help you!
Post-COVID Mood Problems
A wide range of debilitating conditions may appear, or get worse, after COVID-19 infection. These symptoms are known as post-acute sequelae, or symptoms that happen, or continue, after recovery from an initial infection. Several studies have linked COVID-19 with changes in mood, cognition issues such as brain fog, and ongoing problems with fatigue, depression, and anxiety.
The scientific name for mood swings is mood dysregulation. We may feel stressed out, sad, or short-tempered every now and again, which isn’t a huge concern, as long as it doesn’t happen very often. But when mood swings continue over a longer period of time, it may indicate something more serious is going on.
There is strong evidence to suggest that COVID-19 impacts emotional regulation in many sufferers. Researchers have gathered enough data to show that some people have a protracted, (long-term) reaction to COVID-19 infection, which may lead to noticeable changes in mood and cognitive difficulties. This reaction may be due to the body’s response to prolonged inflammation. (1)
What Does Dysregulation Look Like?
Sometimes it can be difficult to pin down exactly what is wrong, especially if we aren’t feeling our best. So what are some of the signs that could mean your mood is dysregulated?
- You experience overly intense emotions that seem out of character.
- You have an unusually “short fuse” with the people around you.
- You quickly get frustrated or flustered with everyday problems.
- You feel extreme sadness for long periods (two weeks or more).
- You find concentrating on daily tasks more challenging.
- You’re less able to calm down after something upsets you.
- You don’t feel “sharp” as you did before, which may cause frustration.
- You’re experiencing more conflict with family, friends, or colleagues.
ADHD, ASD, & DMDD
Some disorders, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may already affect how you or your child responds to things emotionally. There are also conditions like disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (DMDD), which is specifically related to mood.
DMDD is a newly classified disorder in the DSM-V that affects children and adolescents. It is much more severe than a “bad mood”, and has the following symptoms. (2)
- Severe verbal or behavioral outbursts three or more times per week
- Ongoing outbursts and tantrums for at least 12 months
- Continuing irritable or angry mood for most of the day, nearly every day
- Irritability affects functioning at home, and school, and with friends
If you have an existing condition, post-COVID-19 mood dysregulation could make things worse. Get help for mood issues by connecting with NeuroZone here.
Anxiety & Depression
Some mental health conditions can make emotional regulation and generally staying on top of your mood more challenging. Symptoms of mental health issues like anxiety and depression may affect you more intensely following COVID-19, particularly in cases of “Long COVID” where people may experience chronic problems with fatigue.
People with pre-existing mental health conditions are at a greater risk of their symptoms getting worse after COVID, and children are extremely vulnerable to the prolonged stresses, disruption, and uncertainties of a post-COVID world. (3) But sometimes, symptoms can appear, even though you may never have experienced any prior mental health issues.
There are some important warning signs to know about stress, no matter your mental health history. The American Medical Association identifies the following symptoms of stress to look out for.
- More anxiety/worry
- Feelings of powerlessness
- Lack of motivation
- Feeling exhausted or burned out
- Feeling “low” more frequently
- Difficulty concentrating
- Difficulty getting to or staying asleep
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing, even for people who have never tested positive for the virus. It has caused many problems in our daily lives, affecting how we socialize, how we work, how we go to school, and how we receive medical care. At its peak, employers switched from on-site to work-from-home, and schools implemented remote, then hybrid education plans for students. The uncertainty and stress these changes caused cannot be overlooked. And although necessary, pandemic precautions came at a cost.
Struggling at School?
Research shows that students’ social and academic lives have suffered during the pandemic. Many students have found making friends, completing homework, staying motivated, and getting the grades they need more challenging. COVID-related absences mean students are more likely to develop the following. (4)
- Acute Stress
- Maladaptive Habits
- Mental Health-Related Dropout
Non-Medication Treatment for Students
If your child has faced education-related difficulties since the beginning of the pandemic, such as trouble completing work, test anxiety, poor organization, there are ways to help! In fact, there are some very effective behavioral intervention strategies that don’t require any medications.
Find out more about executive function training, attention training, and neurofeedback for test anxiety on our website. Book a free consultation with us for an evaluation and get a personalized neurofeedback protocol for your child at NeuroZone.
At your personal consultation in Santa Monica, Playa del Rey, or Redondo Beach, Erin will meet with you (and your child if you are seeking treatment on their behalf) to discuss the challenges you are facing. She will take down any relevant information about your experience with COVID-19, and how it has affected your everyday brain function and mood. She may perform testing and evaluation using qEEG mapping to get the most accurate information to inform your treatment at NeuroZone.
qEEG Brain Mapping
Qualitative brain mapping collects live data from the brain by measuring brain wave activity. By simply preparing your scalp and placing electrodes at specific points on your head, we can record and interpret activity in your brain in real time using a computer algorithm. Erin interprets this data, specific only to you, to create a color visualization, or “brain map” of your cognitive functioning.
QEEG brain mapping is a valuable tool that helps us to better identify what the problems are and where the problems lie. This information also helps us to inform your future care at Neurozone. Once Erin has reviewed all the relevant data, she will then propose the most effective treatment protocol, or combination of protocols for your needs!
Find out more about qEEG brain mapping here.
Cost of Post-COVID Mood Treatment in Santa Monica
Find the right neurofeedback protocol for your needs at NeuroZone! Come for a free personal consultation for help with COVID-related mood issues and more. Contact our Playa del Rey office at (310) 821-3640, or complete a simple inquiry form to request your appointment.
Get more information about cognition issues, and the neurofeedback protocols that can help by reading the NeuroZone blog.
Why is my mood up and down after COVID?
COVID-19 may have long-term effects that include changes in mood. Research indicates that these differences could be the result of prolonged inflammation and increased stress during and after COVID infection.
Can COVID-19 cause mental health problems?
COVID-19 infection may make existing mental health conditions like anxiety and depression worse. It may also affect mood and brain function in people who have never experienced mental health issues before. Seek professional help if you, or the people around you have noticed a significant or prolonged change in your mood, as this could indicate an underlying issue that requires further treatment.
- Lamontagne SJ, Winters MF, Pizzagalli DA, Olmstead MC. Post-acute sequelae of COVID-19: Evidence of mood & cognitive impairment. Brain, Behavior, & Immunity – Health. 2021;17:100347. doi:10.1016/j.bbih.2021.100347
- NIMH» Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder: The Basics. www.nimh.nih.gov. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/disruptive-mood-dysregulation-disorder
- Tsamakis K, Tsiptsios D, Ouranidis A, et al. COVID‑19 and its consequences on mental health (Review). Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine. 2021;21(3). doi:10.3892/etm.2021.9675
- Hosseinzadeh P, Zareipour M, Baljani E, Moradali MR. Social Consequences of the COVID-19 Pandemic. A Systematic Review. Investigación y Educación en Enfermería. 2022;40(1). doi:10.17533/udea.iee.v40n1e10