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Mental Health Symptoms of Long COVID: "We Don't Know Everything Yet"


"I'll preface my response by saying we don't know everything yet."

That's not a surprising start to an answer to any question about post-acute sequelae of COVID-19, or long COVID. Patient Care recently had the chance to speak with Abby Cheng, MD, an author of the recently released American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation's Long COVID Mental Health Consensus Guidance Statement about a range of topics related to post-infection mental health disturbance.

In the discussion that follows, Cheng, assistant professor of orthopedic surgery in the division of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Washington University Orthopedics, in St Louis, MO, explains why researchers currently believe the mental health symptoms seen after infection with SARS-CoV-2 can be more severe than those seen in other post-viral syndromes.

In March 2021, the American Academy of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation launched the multidisciplinary Post Acute Sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 (PASC) Collaborative, a cross-discipline group of experts convened to develop clinical guidance that would help improve quality of care for individuals with symptoms related to having been infected with COVID-19. The Academy believes there is a need for focused and ongoing clinical exchange among all members of the medical community to develop and implement appropriate clinical practice for treating all long COVID issues, not just those requiring PM&R intervention.

To date the PASC Collaborative has published 8 consensus guidance statements on the assessment and treatment of complications in patients with post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2. Please take time to review the AAPM&R guidance statements on long COVID-associated cardiovascular complications, cognitive symptoms, breathing discomfort, fatigue, autonomic dysfunction, neurologic symptoms, and manifestation in pediatric patients.

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