Psychomotor symptoms, cognitive impairments and suicidal thoughts after COVID-19 infection: a case report and the possible allostatic mechanism

Ann Geriatr Med Res. 2024 May 17. doi: 10.4235/agmr.24.0037. Online ahead of print.


Although neuropsychiatric manifestations are common in survivors of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the pathophysiology is not yet elucidated. Here we describe the case of a geriatric inpatient who developed postCOVID depression with psychomotor retardation, anxiety, hopelessness, executive function problems, and suicidal ideations. The language problems and cognitive impairments coemerged with the motor problems. We propose a mechanism associated with problems in energy prediction and regulation in which the coronavirus infection, which causes neuroinflammation and viral activity in the nervous system, interferes with the reward pathway and sensory prediction process. Sigma-1 receptor agonists such as sertraline may regulate energy expenditure and, thus, be beneficial to the process. The treatment improvements in our patient included those in the autonomic nervous system, activity, and circadian rhythm.

Keywords: COVID-19; Long COVID; Older adult; Post COVID depression; allostasis.