fbpx Skip nav to main content.
Home > Dr. Megan’s Blog > Mental Health Side Effects – The Real Price of the Cheap COVID treatment

Mental Health Side Effects of Steroids

Mental Health Side Effects of Steroids

Check out this story from a fellow Prednisone Warrior who struggled with mental health side effects of steroids after taking it for Covid.

“If I had known, I wouldn’t have taken it!” That’s what he said to me.

He had a question about Medrol, a steroid like prednisone, and what it was doing to him. He wanted to know: was he going crazy? Or was it the medicine he’d been given to treat Covid? Read the full article to know the answer.

The Story of a Medrol Warrior

I want to read you what this young man said so that if you are going through this, I can help you find ways to cope, too. This is his story.

He was a young father, a hard worker. He said they sent me home from the emergency room after my diagnosis of COVID, with a Medrol dose pack. (Medrol is a medication that is prednisone’s sister drug methylprednisolone.) This is his story:

“I Wish I Hadn’t Taken [Medrol]”

It’s been three weeks since I took the last pill. Everyone tells me I look good. I go to work, but inside, this is so worrisome. I’ve tried everything to sleep. I didn’t sleep at all for three weeks! And didn’t know it can cause psychosis! It’s been three and a half weeks. Honestly, I thought was going to end up in the psychiatric unit.

I couldn’t even sit down and watch a movie with my kids. I just started clonazepam on Monday and feel a lot better now. I’m just, I feel like I’m just going to have to go back to the hospital because I’m going crazy!

If I had known I wouldn’t have taken it!

I’m hoping if time goes by, it’ll go away. But it’s affecting my daytime performance because if you don’t get sleep…

I’m gonna try to do what you said (what I suggested to him), but nights like those make me feel like I’m taking three steps back.

I’m a person of a lot of faith. But man, my faith has been tested a lot of times in the past month. I’ve been searching for answers for someone to hear me out, someone with experience who knows the dangers and side effects of these pills.

Medrol Side Effects Worse Than Covid

So that young father, that hard work had no idea that prednisone or its sister drug was going to do that to him. He was suffering from COVID for sure. He had a hard time breathing, pneumonia-like symptoms. And they thought that methylprednisolone was the best option for him.

But he felt that it was worse. It was worse than COVID.

The side effects of that drug were worse than COVID.

In his opinion, he would have rather had a hard time breathing, then go through what he’s been going through with side effects.

Mental Health and COVID-19

COVID + Mental Health

Even if you never got infected with the virus, the pandemic era caused an epidemic of mental illness. It has been so rough. The amount of obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety, social anxiety, depression, suicidality, and other mental illness exacerbations have been unprecedented.

It has been a terrible time because of so much social isolation and stress. People’s mental illnesses have exploded. They might’ve been okay before the pandemic started. But ever since they’ve really been struggling, there are things you can do though.

Best thing you can do to Cope with Mental Health Side Effects of Steroids:

  1. Exercise
  2. Download apps for your mind/mental health
  3. Connecting with your loved ones


Exercise is probably the best treatment possible. Evidence shows that walking for 45 minutes a day 3-5 days a week is as effective as antidepressant medications.

So the suggestion I had given him: his big problem was he couldn’t sleep. That was making him feel like he was going crazy. It was this terrible spiral. He couldn’t sleep because he felt like he was going crazy.

But he was going crazy cause he couldn’t sleep. And how do you get it to end? He’d said he’d tried everything he could think of.

Meditation Apps

But one thing he hadn’t tried is meditation. I think that is vital that we need to be able to take the time to just breathe and relax and process our thoughts. And that’s what we can do through guided meditations.

I personally love two apps. There’s the Calm app and then there’s the Headspace app.

I love Headspace. It has helped me cope with the stress of parenting, working of homeschooling online of all of the things we’re dealing with all the crazy news cycles and elections, and all of that stuff. Having a meditation practice has helped me cope with those things.

He said he was a person of faith. I’m assuming he probably prayed. And that’s probably a really helpful thing he could do, but I think he needed us to go one step further and really take time to have a meditation practice.

Connecting with your loved ones

We’ve discovered that as a society, we have so many ways that we’re struggling with mental illness. We don’t have enough mental illness practitioners, and insurance coverage for mental illness treatments. Help is needed.

Thankfully, we’ve got amazing technology that people can have Zoom calls to have their therapy sessions, but it’s still kind of hard to get the connection that you need.

We need to solve these problems and use this opportunity to find ways to solve the problem of mental illness. And especially when it’s being exacerbated by prednisone and its sister drugs.

People are unaware that it’s happening and they feel like they’re going crazy when they don’t know that it’s actually the drug itself that’s making them feel that way. That it’s really not them. It’s the drug.

I have some videos and blog posts about how to cope with other mental illness. But if it’s really just finding calm, there are ways and meditation is one of the best ways. There are other natural things that you can do that don’t require prescription drugs. Check out the videos below.

Prescription Drugs for Sleep

Since I’m a pharmacist, I’ll talk about prescription drugs, too. He mentioned that he was on clonazepam and that is a drug that is miracle, but it also has side effects. It’s in the same class as Xanax. So the Klonopin, Xanax and other drugs are called benzodiazepines and they can really help you get through a short period of time when you’re struggling with anxiety or severe insomnia but they’re not something that you want to rely on long-term they will cause severe withdrawal syndrome if you go off them cold turkey. You can get dependent on them. So it’s not the best treatment long-term, but if you are really struggling right now, then that’s a great option for you, but you just don’t want to get stuck on it.

There are other medications that you can use to help sleep. There are some that are better than others for different groups. So you’ll have to talk to your doctor about which one’s best for you, but they exist and you should talk to your doctor about it.

Non-Prescription or Natural Remedies for Sleep

So now what about natural things?

The hormone melatonin is important for your body, for your sleep-wake cycle, your eyes and your skin have receptors of light to help regulate the melatonin and sleep-wake cycle of body. And when we have blue light from our phones or from our screens late at night, that really interferes with our ability to turn on the sleep system that helps us relax and fall asleep and get restful sleep at night.

Unfortunately, prednisone is like hijacking that whole system. And so it’s really even more important when you’re on prednisone to be so protective of your sleep hygiene, your sleep routines, and do everything you possibly can to make it as peaceful and calming as it possibly can. That means turning off your phone when the sun goes down. It means relaxing and doing screen-free things for at least two hours before you go to bed.

Read this for more tips about sleep!

9+ Tips for Prednisone Insomnia

If you do that, then melatonin can be naturally released by your body, by your brain, the pineal gland. But when you’re on prednisone, your body has a really hard time releasing it. It’s just really not working. And so it’s actually being depleted and so you need help and it’s okay to need help. You can take a melatonin supplement or I have Nutranize® Zone™.

It has melatonin in the Bedtime bottle. Not only does melatonin help you get restful sleep by calming you and your mood, but it also helps you feel drowsy. So it helps you calm down and it helps you feel drowsy. Melatonin is amazing and there are lots of doses that you can take.

Nutranize Zone for Prednisone

The dose of melatonin in the Nutranize Zone is small enough that it can be tolerated by almost everyone but it’s enough that it can really help you sleep at night. You can find it at Nutranize.com.

I designed Nutranize to give back all the nutrients that prednisone depletes, including calcium and vitamin D, all the way down to melatonin. I only created it because I had to take prednisone and I didn’t want to go through another miserable sleepless night and feel awful while I was taking prednisone.

And so I wanted something for when I have to be on prednisone, that I have a way to fight back and feel better to feel like myself again. So if that’s what you want, if you want to feel like yourself again, while you’re on prednisone, get Nutranize Zone today at Nutranize.com.

Dr. Megan Milne, PharmD, BCACP

Dr. Megan Milne, PharmD, BCACP, is an award-winning clinical pharmacist board certified in the types of conditions people take prednisone for. Dr. Megan had to take prednisone herself for an autoimmune condition so understands what it feels like to suffer prednisone side effects and made it her mission to counteract them as the Prednisone Pharmacist.

Related Posts