Three California teenagers were found to have psychiatric symptoms from COVID-19. This is a rare but frightening side-effect of the virus that many believe younger people are safe from.

A research team at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), conducted case studies of the three teens to see how this happened.

The symptoms can be confusing because each of the teens has a different case and a different background.

Although three cases are insufficient to draw broad conclusions about the virus’s existence, researchers believe the symptoms could be due to an immune response that causes inflammation of certain brain parts.

Researchers have investigated at least three cases of teenagers experiencing psychiatric symptoms after contracting Covid. One of the patients is still feeling the symptoms after six months of treatment. One of the researchers told that they believe it could be a result of a person's brain becoming inflamed as part of an immune response to the virus (file photo)

Researchers have examined at least three cases in which teenagers experienced psychiatric symptoms following the diagnosis of Covid. One patient still feels the symptoms after six months of treatment. was informed by one researcher that they believe the symptoms may be caused by an immune response to virus. File photo

The UCSF research team collected medical testing and screening data while the patients were being treated for psychiatric issues.

The study was co-authored by Dr Sam Pleasure, a neurology professor from UCSF, who stated that there is a link between viral infections similar in Covid and these types psychiatric issues.

He said, “As neurologists we are used to thinking that these things are occurring after infectious phenomena,”

“We know from the literature that SARS caused a reasonable amount incidence.”

SARS-CoV-1 was first introduced in Asia nearly two decades ago. There were a number of people who had psychological issues that experts believe could be caused by the virus.

Although a causal association cannot be established, researchers believe that this phenomenon is not accidental.

Researchers are now beginning the search for the same link with COVID-19 and SARS-CoV-2. 

The virus can inflame the brain, just like other organs.

Pleasure suggests that psychiatric issues can occur if the brain area that controls thoughts becomes inflamed.

The first patient in the study had a history that included anxiety and depression, before he was tested positive for Covid.

Pleasure says that after their infection, they experienced severe paranoia symptoms ‘quite abruptly.

The patient started to believe people were following her around and began to have ‘delusions regarding persecution’.

Although the patient did use marijuana, the researchers have ruled out the drug as a cause. 

After a month of immunotherapy treatment, patient one felt much better.  

The second patient had a more severe case and is still being treated.

They had suffered from anxiety and mental tics before Covid. 

Although this patient did not test positive for Covid, they began to feel the symptoms of the virus during the pandemic. An antibody test confirmed that they had been infected. 

After being treated for the infection, they experienced difficulty focusing on their studies and completing their homework.

They developed suicidal ideation and aggression over the next six weeks. They also experienced sadness, mood lability and insomnia.

They were admitted to the hospital 10 weeks after their symptoms first started.

The patients were treated on an as-needed basis for six months. Although they have made significant improvements, there are still lingering mental issues that they are suffering from the infection.

‘There are going to be a subgroup of people who will not get better with purely psychiatric approaches,’ Pleasure said, adding that there needs to be more investigation into the development of these issues. 

Pleasure believes the third patient may be a different one than the others.

They checked in to the hospital after four days of “odd behavior” like anorexia and insomnia.

The patient claimed to have taken an unknown substance when they first started experiencing symptoms, but nothing was found in a toxicology report.

A PCR test confirmed that the patient was positive for Covid.

Pleasure isn’t convinced, but he believes that the patient’s symptoms could just be a result of what he took.

After a few days, the symptoms disappeared quickly and the person was back to normal. Pleasure believes this was due to the substance simply wearing off. 

Two of these patients, who both had some psychiatric issues prior to the virus, experienced severe symptoms.

Pleasure can tie these issues to a condition called long Covid’ where a person will continue to feel symptoms of the virus even after they have recovered.

Anosmia is another long Covid sign that Pleasure believes could also be due to brain inflammation. Pleasure also believes that frequent headaches, brain fog, extreme fatigue and brain inflammation may be other causes.

Experts believe that between 30 and 70 percent of Covid patients will experience some form of long-term Covid.

In recent months, experts have struggled to understand why this happens and how to treat it.