As many as 3.2 million Americans may have lingering symptoms from COVID-19. Psychologists are playing a critical role in helping these patients navigate their recovery and prepare for an uncertain future.
The stress brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on almost everyone, but particularly on those who have battled COVID-19 and now have lingering symptoms, known as long COVID. About 10% of patients develop long COVID. With 32 million cases and counting of COVID-19 in the United States alone, that means 3.2 million Americans may be facing long-term illnesses that could reshape their relationships, jobs, and futures and take a significant toll on their mental health.
Rehabilitation and health psychologists have been treating a steady stream of these patients since COVID began sweeping the country early last year. Some patients are entering care after transitioning from the hospital; others are seeking help for physical and psychological symptoms that appeared after their initial mild or moderate symptoms subsided. Despite the great need, only a handful of long COVID or post–intensive care unit clinics exist across the country, most in cities with large academic centers—and some of those clinics have 3- to 4-month waiting lists. But psychologists in those settings and in private practices are working to gain a foothold on how best to treat this population and share best practices with colleagues. Read more at the Monitor on Psychology (in print here).
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