The coronavirus may have triggered a bizarre manic episode in which a patient envisioned his life “like a TV show,” touched nurses “inappropriately” and confessed to his wife that he’d had sex with men, according to a case study.
The 41-year-old man had been in London’s St. Thomas Hospital with COVID-19 for 10 days when he became delirious, uninhibited and “highly aroused” — and was placed on antipsychotic medication, experts said in the BMJ Case Reports medical journal.
Doctors believe COVID-19-related issues may have triggered a dormant case of bipolar disorder in the man — one of several brain and nervous system problems that have emerged in recent studies on the virus, the report states.
“I began to think that I was part of a TV show, in which I was sent back from the future to save the NHS, and I was curious to see how this would end,” said the unnamed patient, who suffered from headaches and coughing, according to the journal.
During the psychotic episode, the man first awoke in the middle of the night feeling like his brain was “racing” and was struck by “grandiose ideas.”
He then tried to baptize fellow patients, inappropriately “touched members of staff” and confessed to his wife he’d “mostly” had sex with men before their marriage, according to doctors who described his mood as “elevated.”
“He also confessed to numerous hitherto undisclosed homosexual encounters and other sexual behaviors described as uncharacteristic by his wife,” the report notes. “He obsessively wrote down every personal interaction and bodily sensation. He said he found this experience ‘liberating.’”
The patient was eventually detained under the country’s Mental Health Act because he became so out of control.
“This is, to the best of our knowledge, the first report of an acute episode of mania or psychosis as a result of SARS-CoV-2 infection,” Dr Jamie Mawhinney wrote in the journal, which doesn’t note the date the incident happened.
On Wednesday, doctors citing a new study warned that coronavirus-related brain damage could lead to a wave of inflammatory diseases, psychosis and delirium.
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