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Mental Health

Long COVID Fatigue Can be Improved with CBT Interventions

— May 30, 2023

Post-COVID Syndrome symptoms can be reduced with cognitive-behavioral therapy, research shows.

A new study has found that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can be an effective treatment option for those suffering from post-viral fatigue following a long COVID infection. The study conducted by researchers from Amsterdam UMC, Radboud UMC, and three other institutions shows that CBT patients experienced fewer fatigue symptoms and improved physical and social functioning, even after six months.

Post-COVID Syndrome, also known as long-COVID, is a common condition that affects many people after recovering from COVID-19. The most commonly reported symptom of post-COVID Syndrome is excessive and chronic tiredness. Patients also experience difficulty concentrating or ‘brain fog,’ shortness of breath, and joint pain, among other symptoms.

In the ReCOVer study, funded by ZonMw, researchers compared patients who received cognitive behavioral therapy to those who received conventional treatment. The study showed that CBT patients had significantly less fatigue and improved concentration after treatment. They also made significant progress socially and physically. 

According to first name Knoop, title cognitive behavioral therapy is a safe treatment as well. “Our research shows that the symptoms did not worsen, and new symptoms arose less often,” he said.

The study is significant because it offers an effective treatment option for those who suffer from post-viral fatigue after COVID-19. Currently, there are few treatment options available for these patients. This promising research offers hope to those struggling with this debilitating condition.

Long COVID Fatigue Can be Improved with CBT Interventions
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While the study focused on the efficacy of CBT for post-viral fatigue after COVID-19, CBT has been used to treat many other conditions such as anxiety disorders, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. CBT is a form of talk therapy that helps patients identify negative thoughts and behaviors and replace them with positive ones. It also promotes behavioral changes to support well-being.

The ReCOVer study is not the only research to suggest that cognitive behavioral therapy can be an effective treatment option for post-COVID Syndrome. A smaller study in the United Kingdom found that 70% of CBT participants had clinically significant improvements in their symptoms.

The study’s findings add to the growing body of research on the long-term effects of COVID-19. As more people recover from the virus, it is becoming clear that many will continue to experience chronic symptoms such as fatigue, brain fog, and shortness of breath. Finding effective treatments for these long-term symptoms is crucial in helping patients regain their health and quality of life.

The study also highlights the importance of mental health in managing post-COVID Syndrome. Patients with this syndrome may experience depression, anxiety, and increased isolation due to their symptoms. CBT helps manage physical symptoms and improves mental health and overall quality of life.

However, it is essential to note that cognitive behavioral therapy may not be effective for all patients with post-COVID Syndrome. As with any treatment, results may vary depending on the individual. More research is needed to determine the long-term effectiveness of CBT in managing post-COVID Syndrome symptoms.

The ReCOVer highlights the potential benefits of cognitive behavioral therapy as an effective treatment option for those suffering from post-viral fatigue following a COVID-19 infection. Because each individual is different, however, results may vary.


Cognitive behavioral therapy reduces post-viral fatigue after COVID-19: Study

Behavioral Therapy Reduces Long COVID Fatigue: Study

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