Having Post-COVID (also known as Long COVID) can be hard on your mental health, especially if your symptoms last an extended amount of time. Feeling stress, anxiety or depression is common when you’re unwell and as you recover. You may experience distressing images or thoughts related to your COVID-19 illness or hospital stay, or reminders that lead to intense reactions.
Your mood may be affected by feelings of frustration from not being able to return to daily activities that are important to you. Managing these feelings is an important part of your recovery.
WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE
When you feel anxious, your body goes on high alert, looking for possible danger and activating your fight or flight responses. As a result, common symptoms of anxiety include nervousness, restlessness, tension and feelings of danger, panic or dread.
Anxiety is more than just a feeling. As a product of the body’s fight-or-flight response, you may experience a wide range of physical symptoms, including pounding heart, sweating, headaches, stomach upset, dizziness and insomnia.
Post-COVID anxiety can be caused by inflammation in the brain and nerve cell damage in both hospitalized and non-hospitalized COVID-19 survivors. Those with symptoms of anxiety showed cognitive impairment and high levels of the biomarkers of brain inflammation.
Other possible causes:
Psychological distress of a new, debilitating health condition
Financial distress due to health-related job leave/unemployment
Previously high-functioning individuals requiring family members and friends to be caregivers
Feeling restless, wound-up, or on-edge
Difficulty controlling feelings of worry
Difficulty sleeping, including falling or staying asleep
Palpitations or being aware of heart beats
Being easily fatigued
Having difficulty concentrating
Headaches, muscle aches, stomachaches, or unexplained pains
Various strategies that can be used at home to help manage anxiety include: