Can Long COVID Impact Your Mental Health?   

Can Long COVID Impact Your Mental Health?

Young woman dealing with the mental health impact of long COVID; sad and anxious
Clinical Contributors to this story:
Laurie G. Jacobs, M.D.

Long COVID, also referred to as post-COVID, affects everyone differently. You may experience symptoms similar to what was felt at the height of your illness, or new symptoms developed later on. One major concern is the impact long COVID can have on your mental health. 

“People may experience anxiety, depression, confusion or other mental-health conditions with long COVID,” says Laurie Jacobs, M.D., chair of the Department of Internal Medicine at Hackensack University Medical Center

Reasons Why Long COVID Can Impact Mental Health

More research is needed to determine why long COVID has a neurological or mental health impact, but here are some ways they may be connected:

  • People with long COVID may have lingering physical symptoms with no end in sight, and coping with a long-term illness increases the risk of depression.
  • Some long-COVID patients have trouble returning to work or socializing due to confusion or other symptoms. If long COVID extends feelings of isolation, it may contribute to mental-health conditions.
  • Long COVID may be associated with anxiety, if physical symptoms are frightening, such as breathing difficulties. Worries about long COVID lingering forever may also contribute to anxiety.
  • A traumatic hospitalization or stay in an intensive-care-unit may also be associated with anxiety and confusions, as well as PTSD. Some COVID long-haulers have experienced one or both scenarios. People with long COVID may have insomnia or confusion and feel that they are not at their baseline after their illness.

Coping with Long COVID

You are not alone in your recovery – 19 percent of American adults who had COVID-19 have reported symptoms of long COVID.

If you’re experiencing long COVID and associated effects on your mental health, the following may help:

  • Seeing your primary care physicians and a post-COVID expert
  • Consider seeing a therapist while being treated for lingering physical symptoms
  • Asking friends and relatives for social support, to reduce the risk of isolation
  • Follow sleep-hygiene guidelines to improve sleep
  • Joining a support group for people with long COVID

More Help is Available 

If long COVID symptoms are interfering with your everyday life, you may need specialized care.

Hackensack Meridian Health’s COVID Recovery Center treats mental and physical complications in long-COVID patients, and offers various specialties, such as behavioral health, cardiology, pulmonology and primary care in one location.

“The best way to prevent long COVID is to not get COVID-19 – stay up to date on vaccination and boosters, and wear a mask when among many people,” shares Dr. Jacobs. “And if you are struggling with post-COVID symptoms, don’t hesitate to seek help, there are resources available to help you through your recovery.”

Next Steps & Resources:

The material provided through HealthU is intended to be used as general information only and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult your physician for individual care.


Subscribe to get the latest health tips from our expert clinicians delivered weekly to your inbox.

We use cookies to improve your experience. Please read our Privacy Policy or click Accept.