The next wave of the pandemic appears to be grappling with the impact of long-COVID, which presents many challenges as the symptoms are wide ranging and difficult to characterize. A recent study found that as many as 40% of people with COVID have reported lingering symptoms months after the initial illness.
This is not unlike the difficulties facing those who live with other chronic illnesses and sheds light on the arduous struggle these patients can experience when they receive conflicting diagnoses and treatment recommendations.
More than half of U.S. adults live with a chronic illness and one-third of those people also experience depressive symptoms. It’s not surprising to see such a strong correlation between chronic disease and mental health disorders; chronic illnesses can be difficult to diagnose and sometimes take years of visits to specialists to land on the right treatment approach.
Often these patients feel like they are alone, without any advocates on their side. They may hear from doctors that the pain is ‘all in their head,’ and just getting a diagnosis can be a huge validation and sense of relief. This can cause feelings of isolation and anxiety.
The importance of prioritizing your emotional well-being when you have a chronic illness is explained in this The Upside infographic. The prevalence numbers are arguably higher today, but the tips and strategies remain extremely relevant. The piece discusses the connection between chronic illnesses and chronic pain and offers mindfulness techniques and cognitive behavioral therapy interventions to reframe beliefs and reduce stress, which may in turn alleviate some physical symptoms.
For individuals coping with chronic illness, just the simple acknowledgment that they are not alone can be incredibly empowering. Twill created Twill Care specifically to provide a support community for those with chronic conditions like multiple sclerosis and psoriasis. The free platform connects people who are living with a specific disease or in the same life stage (like midlife) and offers medically-reviewed content, digital health tools, and access to healthcare professionals who can answer their questions.
For those living with lingering COVID symptoms or ongoing symptoms from a chronic disease, we've compiled a number of strategies for non-pharmaceutically managing pain and improving mental health here in an easy-to-digest infographic. Share with your employees, employer clients, or members if you think they might benefit from it!