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Long COVID And Mental Health

COVID-19 has affected people all around the globe without making an exception on the basis of gender or age. Instead, each of us was equally affected by the trauma of COVID-19. Moreover, 10% of the COVID affected people suffer from long COVID.

The surprising fact is that not only it has an adverse reaction on physical health but on mental health too. Here is an article dedicated to mental health and long COVID with the description of treatments that can help you cure mental health problems caused by long COVID sooner. Let’s dive in!

What is “Long COVID”?

For those who may not know, “Long COVID” is a term that surfaced online platforms after the news broke of long-term COVID symptoms. In other words, most of the COVID-patients recover after 21 days at most, but a 10% minority doesn’t recover in that phase and tend to suffer from COVID for a longer span.

This 10% are long-term COVID patients with a prolonged experience of the following common symptoms. The symptoms may be relapsing or persistent; varying from person to person.

  • Coughing and having a sore throat
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Brain fog
  • Fever and headache
  • Shortness of breath

What is the Link Between COVID and Mental Health?

Do you think that COVID-19 has no link with mental illness? You have interpreted it wrong! To your surprise, COVID-19 can adversely affect the mental health of its patients. In 2021, a Lancet study  on 200,000+ adults, observing  adults for six months after being diagnosed with COVID-19 published the following  results :

  • Over 24% of adults suffered from psychotic disorders and anxiety
  • Less than 6% of the population was diagnosed with insomnia
  • 13-14% of people developed a mood disorder
  • 17-18% developed an anxiety disorder

Why were these Psychotic Disorders Caused?

Here are the top reasons why the COVID diagnosed patients suffered from mental disorders.

  • Patients were afraid of the uncertainty of the future.
  • Patients had hypochondriasis( health anxiety) or fear of death.
  • Patients experienced stress after getting ill leading to depression burnout.

In conclusion, patients with diagnosed with COVID-19  exhibited psychotic disorders like depression, stress, and anxiety that lasted over a month. And people with higher stress and anxiety, are most likely to be diagnosed with chronic and acute illnesses due to lower immunity levels. So, it is better to consider mental health as a high priority and give it the same importance as physical health.

What Mental Health Treatment Can Cure COVID-19 or Long COVID and Why Are They Crucial?

It is natural to have anxiety, depression, and stress during the COVID phase. Here are some mental health therapies you should consider for fighting long COVID depression.

1.   Building Trust

COVID-19, especially long COVID, has affected mental health of millions of lives with constant high anxiety and depression. The rough truth  is that there is no surgery, no treatment, and no medicine that can cure mental health disorders immediately. Instead, the symptoms disappear over the passage of time. However, one thing is crucial for physicians, psychologists or psychotherapist is to build a trustworthy relationship with their patients.

Mental health therapy should help the long COVID patients to build a new life with the combination of medications, diet, health changes, etc. Moreover, a therapist should suggest ways to maintain their relationships and health while being affected with COVID.

2.   Motivation

Most of the long COVID patients had anxiety and depression symptoms leading to feeling trapped or no drive in their life. It is crucial to  provide a professional and  compassionate guidance to patients with long COVID  to open a path for recovery to  witness a lot of positive changes.

3.   Help them conquer the experience of COVID

According to the research conducted on long COVID patients, it has been found that long COVID patients have more illness due to the array of symptom affecting multiple organ systems rather than the virus. Th study confirms  mental health impairments can adversely affect chances of recovery.

A psychological  therapist plays a crucial in the lives of COVID patients  to unleash their potential and   recover from the trauma of having the illness. There are two popular therapies that confirmed greater benefits in the lives of long COVID patients.

1. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

The primary reason for the mental health issues in long COVID patients is that they fail to accept their thoughts. Moreover, they consider themselves guilty, which is worsening their health.

Evidence from previous research suggest mental disorders like anxiety, depression, etc., can be cured via Acceptance & commitment  therapy (ACT). The core six principles of ACT, increases patients psychological flexibility, reevaluate their values and implement  an action plan to their situation head-on rather than running away from it. Moreover, it will inspire them with affirmations and determination of other people that have conquered the same disease.

2. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy  (CBT)

With CBT therapy, a long COVID patient will be able to cope with difficult situations by making a connection between their intrusive thoughts, feelings and behavior which is an action. Moreover, it will help them rebuild their confidence, which is lost due to long COVID.

Final Thoughts

By reading this article on the importance of mental health therapy for long COVID patients, you’ll be able to conclude how long COVID affects such patients’ health and why mental therapies are highly crucial for these patients.

Moreover, if you or your friend is suffering from long COVID, it’s better to care for your mental health, like your physical health. Keeping your mind at ease will not only bring you peace but also boost your recovery rate. Be hopeful and trust the process, as there is always a way out of every bad situation.

Look forward to action packed bright day following a restful dark night!!!

Reference:

6-month neurological and psychiatric outcomes in 236 379 survivors of COVID-19: a retrospective cohort study using electronic health records

Taquet, Maxime et al.The Lancet Psychiatry, Volume 8, Issue 5, 416 – 427

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