We are starting to hear about the lasting effects of COVID-19 for some patients. Terms to describe the ongoing effects have been coined by COVID patients and patient advocates. They include: Post COVID syndrome, Long COVID or COVID Long Haulers. These terms are used to describe the after effects of the COVID disease.
Studies show that about 1 in 20 COVID patients experience long-term on-off symptoms. One in ten people may still have symptoms after three weeks, and some may suffer for months. In addition, 87.4% of hospitalized patients reported at least one symptom 60 days after onset of disease. COVID Long Hauler symptoms can include: fatigue, racing heart, shortness of breath, difficulty concentrating, brain fog and continued loss of taste/smell. And for some patient’s long-term effects to the heart, lung, kidneys and brain are being reported.
We are learning about the physical effects but what about the mental health effects of COVID-19 Long Haulers? The effects of getting sick in the middle of a pandemic in which we are socially isolated, often stigmatized for contracting the illness and treated by an overwhelmed medical system compounds the trauma response of COVID patients. COVID patients whether Long Haulers or not are experiencing Acute Stress Responses and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Providing mental health services and support is crucial in the treatment of PTSD. If clients can receive the mental health support early in their illness then we have tools that can ensure that they don’t experience PTSD.
EMDR therapy and Neurofeedback are two clinical interventions which can help COVID-19 Long Haulers process their experience. EMDR therapy in particular can help clients to address the emotional aspects of the illness and the ongoing trauma impacts on their life. Neurofeedback can help with reducing overall anxiety, depression and may be even able to help with brain fog and the overall effects of inflammation on the brain.
The key to emotional and physical recovery is to get help early! Have support going through the illness and into recovery. Working with professionals that can address the “whole body,” mind, body and spirit is critical. Reach out for help today!
How and Why Patients Made Long Covid- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7539940/
My Journey with COVID-19- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7567670/