Severe and long-lasting neuropsychiatric symptoms after mild respiratory symptoms caused by COVID-19: A case report

Ryosuke Jozuka, Hiroki Kimura, Takashi Uematsu, Hidetsugu Fujigaki, Yasuko Yamamoto, Masato Kobayashi, Kazuya Kawabata, Haruki Koike, Toshiya Inada, Kuniaki Saito, Masahisa Katsuno, Norio Ozaki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is known to cause not only respiratory but also neuropsychiatric symptoms, which are assumed to be derived from a cytokine storm and its effects on the central nervous systems. Patients with COVID-19 who develop severe respiratory symptoms are known to show severe neuropsychiatric symptoms such as cerebrovascular disease and encephalopathy. However, the detailed clinical courses of patients with neuropsychiatric symptoms caused by mild or asymptomatic COVID-19 remain poorly understood. Here, we present a case of COVID-19 who presented with severe and prolonged neuropsychiatric symptoms subsequent to mild respiratory symptoms. Case presentation: A 55-year-old female with COVID-19 accompanied by mild respiratory symptoms showed delusion, psychomotor excitement, and poor communication ability during quarantine outside the hospital. Considering her diminished respiratory symptoms, her neuropsychiatric symptoms were initially regarded as psychogenic reactions. However, as she showed progressive disturbance of consciousness accompanied by an abnormal electroencephalogram, she was diagnosed with post-COVID-19 encephalopathy. Although her impaired consciousness and elevated cytokine level improved after steroid pulse therapy, several neuropsychiatric symptoms, including a loss of concentration, unsteadiness while walking, and fatigue, remained. Conclusions: This case suggests the importance of both recognizing that even apparently mild COVID-19-related respiratory symptoms can lead to severe and persistent neuropsychiatric symptoms, and elucidating the mechanisms, treatment, and long-term course of COVID-19-related neuropsychiatric symptoms in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)114-119
Number of pages6
JournalNeuropsychopharmacology reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 03-2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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