Saturday, June 3, 2023

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy May Reduce Post-Viral Fatigue After COVID-19: Study

Struggling to manage fatigue even long after your COVID-19 infection? A study has found that cognitive behavioral therapy reduces post-viral fatigue in people who suffer lingering symptoms after COVID-19.

Fatigue can be a reduction in the efficiency of force generation that can be measured as a weakness during a physical examination or a subjective sensation reported by patients. A patient who complains of fatigue may be experiencing weakness, dyspnea, difficulties in concentration, somnolence or low mood, according to the study, which was published in Open Forum Infectious Diseases.

Post-viral fatigue, on the other hand, is when a person experiences an extended period of tiredness and feels unwell long after a viral infection.

Long-COVID or Post-COVID Syndrome

Some people experience long-term health issues after COVID-19 infection. Called long-COVID or post-COVID syndrome, the condition comes with a wide range of ongoing health problems that last for weeks, months or even years.

Anyone with COVID-19 infection can experience long-COVID. However, those who get a serious infection are at a higher risk of getting affected by it.

The most common symptoms include fatigue, fever, cough, shortness of breath, palpitations, chest pain, sleep difficulties, dizziness, headache, brain fog, loss of smell and taste, depression and anxiety.

According to an estimate, around 13 to 33% of people who suffered a COVID-19 infection experienced fatigue for around 16 to 20 weeks after their symptoms started.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Improved Symptoms

In the study, researchers in Amsterdam, Netherlands, found that long-COVID patients who underwent cognitive behavioral therapy showed marked improvements in fatigue and concentration.

“After behavioral therapy, patients not only had fewer symptoms but also functioned better both physically and socially. Those improvements were still present even after six months,” Hans Knoop, lead researcher of the study, said.

The treatment focuses on reducing fatigue by dealing with the symptoms of each patient differently.

“Together with patients, we look, for example, at how they can improve their sleep-wake rhythm. We also help them become more active again with small, safe steps. For example, by going for short walks,” Knoop added.

However, researchers said the success of behavioral therapy does not mean that all causes of post-COVID symptoms are psychological. The treatment may not be effective for all patients. Hence, they recommended further studies to understand the physical causes behind Post-COVID syndrome and the use of other effective treatments.

“Cognitive behavioral therapy also appears to be a safe treatment. Our research shows that the symptoms did not worsen, and new symptoms arose less often,” Knoop said further.

Some Covid-19 survivors are experiencing long-term side-effects including fatigue and pain.
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