LA family believes 'COVID psychosis' may have led to loved one's random disappearance

A Los Angeles family is grateful their loved one has been found after missing for two weeks, and they believe the rare condition called COVID psychosis may have contributed to her sudden disappearance.

Hadyne Wilson, 23, went missing on September 29 after abruptly leaving her job at Vons in Chatsworth. Her coworkers reported odd behavior from Hadyne that day. Hadyne did not come home that night either.

Her family frantically searched for her for two weeks.

"It was hell and it was torture, but we held on to God's promises that she would come back. Everybody went out looking and we plastered everything [with missing posters] and I think somebody found her and brought her to the hospital because of all the efforts of everybody which we're so grateful for," said Cyndee Wilson, Hadyne's mother.

Hadyne was found by an unidentified person on Wednesday and ended up at the Cedars Sinai emergency room. She was then transported to another facility for care.

Cyndee saw her daughter for the first time since the disappearance on Friday, but still has a lot of unanswered questions. She worries Hadyne could have COVID psychosis again. Cyndee said Hadyne was diagnosed with the rare condition in January after experiencing hallucinations and hearing voices.

"She was hospitalized [in January] for 28 days, and then this just happened [the disappearance] two weeks ago, and it came out of nowhere, so she may have COVID again. It only happened when she had COVID. It [the condition] looks like schizophrenia with hearing voices and hallucinations," said Cyndee.

Doctors are still learning about COVID psychosis and its impacts, but it is considered to be a very rare condition.

Dr. Thomas Yadegar, the ICU Medical Director at Providence Cedars Sinai Tarzana Medical Center spoke with FOX 11.

"The virus that causes COVID just like any other virus can infect the brain and the lining of the brain so you can get cases such as meningitis or encephalitis, and those patients do have neurological symptoms
ranging from headaches that are severe to confusion and delirium," said Yadegar.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, a peer-reviewed study from 2020 showed that in patients with no history of psychiatric disorders, the probability of a first psychiatric disorder diagnosed up to 90 days after a COVID-19 diagnosis was higher than among patients who contracted the flu or other respiratory infections.

The study reported by the CDC also suggests health care professionals caring for COVID-19 patients over time "be on the lookout for new onset psychiatric disorders, even in patients with no previous psychiatric diagnoses."

Though there is not yet ample research about COVID psychosis, the idea that viruses can trigger a psychiatric disorder is not new and is well documented.

"It's very rare for COVID to cause psychosis, but it isn't unusual for infections overall to cause confusion and delirium. There are cases where patients get infected and families bring patients into the emergency room because they're just not themselves, they're confused, they're talking gibberish and when we do an analysis, those patients have an infection," said Yadegar.

Yadegar said COVID-19 symptoms are changing due to new variants.

"COVID is not what it was in 2020. COVID-19 doesn't necessarily have to follow the rules nor does it follow the rules so what I tell patients is if you don't feel like yourself, you have fatigue, or you're run down, it is important to get checked," said Yadegar.

Yadegar said what's happening abroad indicates the U.S. will soon see more COVID cases and it's important to practice precautions like vaccinations to avoid contracting the illness. The latest booster is designed to target the Omicron variants.  

"If you look at Europe, and what they're going through right now, it's a very good predictor of what's coming our way in the next few months and I think it's important for patients to make sure to update their vaccination status and if they don't have their booster, go get their booster," said Yadegar.

As for Hadyne, her family is waiting for her condition to improve and wants to spread awareness about COVID psychosis.

"People are getting this and they don't know what it is, and I think the more people understand what's going on with COVID psychosis, they can get a sense of peace and look for help," said Cyndee.

As doctors try to determine what happened to Hadyne, the family has created a GoFundMe page to help with the medical expenses

Cyndee said the family is looking forward to bringing Hadyne home once she's better so she can return to the things she enjoys, like basketball, art, writing and singing.