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How can psychological therapy help individuals manage living with 'long covid'?



Many individuals suffered from long covid symptoms in silence. It is now a recognised condition where individuals continue to experience symptoms of COVID-19 long after the initial infection has passed. Common symptoms include fatigue, brain fog, headaches, shortness of breath, and muscle aches. As the world continues to grapple with the ongoing pandemic, the impact of Long Covid is becoming increasingly apparent. While there is no cure for Long Covid, psychological therapy can help individuals manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life.


The psychological impact of Long Covid is significant, and it is not uncommon for individuals to experience anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These psychological symptoms can exacerbate physical symptoms, leading to a vicious cycle of illness and distress. As such, it is essential to address the psychological impact of Long Covid alongside medical treatment.

One psychological therapy that has shown promise in treating Long Covid is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT is a type of talk therapy that helps individuals identify and change negative patterns of thinking and behavior. In the context of Long Covid, CBT can help individuals develop coping strategies to manage symptoms, set realistic goals, and improve their overall well-being.


Another therapy that may be helpful for individuals with Long Covid is mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT). MBCT combines elements of CBT with mindfulness practices to help individuals develop greater awareness and acceptance of their symptoms. Through MBCT, individuals can learn to observe their thoughts and feelings without judgment, reducing the psychological distress that can come with chronic illness.


In addition to these specific therapies, support groups can also be beneficial for individuals with Long Covid. Support groups provide a safe and supportive environment where individuals can share their experiences, learn from others, and gain a sense of community. These groups can help individuals feel less isolated and improve their overall psychological well-being.


While medical treatment is crucial, psychological therapy can also play an essential role in managing symptoms and improving overall quality of life. If you are experiencing Long Covid symptoms, consider seeking out psychological support from a qualified therapist or support group. With the right support, it is possible to manage Long Covid and live a fulfilling life.


Some tips, you can try to get started with are:

  1. Listen to your body: Long Covid can cause a range of symptoms that can vary from day to day. It's essential to pay attention to your body and adjust your activities accordingly. Rest when you need to and try not to push yourself too hard.

  2. Stay active: While rest is essential, it's also essential to stay active. Gentle exercise, such as walking or yoga, can help improve physical function and reduce fatigue.

  3. Manage your stress: Stress can exacerbate Long Covid symptoms, so it's essential to find ways to manage your stress levels. Mindfulness practices, deep breathing exercises, and talking to a therapist can help reduce stress and anxiety.

  4. Eat a healthy diet: A healthy, balanced diet can help support your immune system and overall well-being. Focus on eating a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.

  5. Stay connected: Living with Long Covid can be isolating, so it's important to stay connected with friends and family. Consider joining a support group or connecting with others who are also living with Long Covid.

  6. Communicate with your healthcare provider: Keep your healthcare provider informed about any changes in your symptoms or overall well-being. They can help you manage your symptoms and provide additional support as needed.

  7. Be patient: Recovery from Long Covid can be slow, and there may be setbacks along the way. Be patient with yourself and celebrate small victories as they come. Remember that recovery is possible, and you are not alone in your journey.

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