First-Episode Psychosis Precipitated by Covid-19 Epidemic in a Patient with Mild Autism Spectrum Disorder

Author(s): Kusen I, O’ Neill E, Butler MI, Young M, Ismail F

This case report outlines the development of psychotic symptoms including delusions and paranoia related to the COVID-19 outbreak in a patient with a background history of high functioning autism spectrum disorder. The patient experienced deterioration and new onset psychotic symptoms due to significant changes in his routine when the COVID-19 pandemic necessitated lock-down measures in Ireland.

This patient had no prior known history of any mental illness other than anxiety which was managed by a private psychiatrist. This case demonstrates the impact that a global pandemic can have on vulnerable individuals resulting in the triggering of psychosis and a breakdown in the ability to process changes in reality. Patients with such developmental vulnerabilities would benefit from monitoring and early intervention in recognising and treating psychotic symptoms.

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