This site is intended for health professionals only

Covid-19 Primary Care Resources

Is low mood a common symptom in the acute and recovery phase of Covid-19 infection?

An update on emerging evidence from a Consultant Neuropsychiatrist

This information is sourced from Dr Tim Nicholson, Consultant Neuropsychiatrist

Q. Is low mood a common symptom in the acute and recovery phases of Covid infection?


  • There is emerging, but still quite weak, evidence to suggest this is the case both acutely and in the recovery phase
  •  2 small studies from China and one large study from Vietnam have shown elevated rates of depression
  • There is not much evidence from the UK yet in terms of large studies, but several are underway
  • There are of course multiple reasons for depression to occur during Covid-19 from acute inflammatory/sickness response to later potential autoimmunity as well as consequences of chronic physical symptoms and socio-economic factors
  • Some cases of depression have been reported via the RCPsych CoroNerve surveillance system that is part of the wider CoroNerve Study Group, the first 143 cases of which were recently published in Lancet Psychiatry
  • We have set up a live systematic review of this rapidly emerging evidence base for neurological and psychiatry consequences of Covid-19 on the Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery and Psychiatry website which contains brief digests of all these studies and is a good way to stay up to date in this fast moving field