The potential impact of COVID-19 on psychosis: A rapid review of contemporary epidemic and pandemic research

Schizophr Res. 2020 Aug:222:79-87. doi: 10.1016/j.schres.2020.05.005. Epub 2020 May 6.


The COVID-19 outbreak may profoundly impact population mental health because of exposure to substantial psychosocial stress. An increase in incident cases of psychosis may be predicted. Clinical advice on the management of psychosis during the outbreak needs to be based on the best available evidence. We undertook a rapid review of the impact of epidemic and pandemics on psychosis. Fourteen papers met inclusion criteria. Included studies reported incident cases of psychosis in people infected with a virus of a range of 0.9% to 4%. Psychosis diagnosis was associated with viral exposure, treatments used to manage the infection, and psychosocial stress. Clinical management of these patients, where adherence with infection control procedures is paramount, was challenging. Increased vigilance for psychosis symptoms in patients with COVID-19 is warranted. How to support adherence to physical distancing requirements and engagement with services in patients with existing psychosis requires careful consideration. Registration details:

Keywords: COVID-19; Epidemic; MERS; Pandemic; Psychosis; SARS; Schizophrenia.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus Infections* / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Infection Control*
  • Pandemics* / prevention & control
  • Pneumonia, Viral* / prevention & control
  • Psychotic Disorders* / psychology
  • Psychotic Disorders* / therapy
  • Schizophrenia* / therapy