Polio, also known as poliomyelitis, is an infectious disease caused by the poliovirus.  It has potential impact on mental health. Many people have question Can Polio Cause Mental Illness?

In this guide, we will explore the relationship between polio and mental illness, as well as provide information on prevention and treatment.

Read more to get further details.

Can Polio Cause Mental Illness?

Research suggests that polio can indeed cause mental illness, specifically in the form of post-polio syndrome (PPS) and acute flaccid myelitis (AFM). Both PPS and AFM are neurological conditions that can occur after an individual has contracted polio.

Post-Polio Syndrome

Post-polio syndrome is a condition that affects people who have previously had polio. It occurs when the virus that initially caused polio reactivates in the body, leading to symptoms such as fatigue, muscle weakness, and pain. Research has also shown a link between PPS and mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and cognitive problems.

Acute Flaccid Myelitis

Acute flaccid myelitis is a rare but serious neurological condition that affects the spinal cord and can result in paralysis. It is believed to be caused by certain strains of enteroviruses, including the poliovirus. In addition to physical symptoms, individuals with AFM may also experience mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.

Prevention of Polio and Mental Illness

The best way to prevent polio and potential related mental health issues is through vaccination.

Importance of Polio Vaccine

The polio vaccine has been highly successful in eradicating the disease in many parts of the world. However, there are still areas where polio remains a significant threat, making it crucial for individuals to continue getting vaccinated.

Treatment for Polio and Mental Illness

While there is currently no cure for polio, there are treatments available to manage symptoms and improve quality of life. This includes:

Importance of Mental Health Treatment

For individuals who have developed mental health issues as a result of polio, seeking treatment is important for managing symptoms and improving overall well-being. This may include therapy, medication, or a combination of both.


Most of the people have question Can Polio Cause Mental Illness?  While polio can potentially lead to mental health issues, it is essential to remember that these are not guaranteed outcomes.

By getting vaccinated and seeking treatment when necessary, we can prevent or manage potential mental illness associated with polio. If you have concerns about someone who has  polio, it is best to consult with a healthcare professional for personalized guidance and care.


Some of the frequently asked questions by people are mentioned below:

What are the side effects of polio later in life?

The main side effects of polio later in life are post-polio syndrome and acute flaccid myelitis. These can include fatigue, muscle weakness, pain, and mental health issues.

Does polio affect the mind?

Polio can potentially affect the mind through post-polio syndrome and acute flaccid myelitis, which may lead to mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and cognitive problems. However, not everyone who has had polio will develop these conditions.

How long do polio patients live?

With proper treatment and management of symptoms, individuals with polio can live a normal lifespan. However, those who develop post-polio syndrome or acute flaccid myelitis may have a slightly reduced life expectancy due to the impact of these conditions on overall health. 

What are the late stages of post-polio syndrome?

The late stages of post-polio syndrome may include severe muscle weakness, joint deformities, and increased respiratory issues. Mental health problems may also become more prevalent in the late stages of PPS.

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