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Demosthenes's avatar

What are the chances “long COVID” is psychosomatic?

Asked by Demosthenes (15014points) September 8th, 2022 from iPhone

I know; it’s beyond taboo of taboos to suggest physical symptoms might be psychogenic in origin, but please note that “psychosomatic” does not mean “fake”. I admit that I’m skeptical of the pathogenic origin of a disease characterized by over 200 different symptoms with varying degrees of specificity that seems to be completely baffling doctors. It bears some resemblance to “chronic Lyme disease”, which is also often thought to be psychosomatic, with little connection to Lyme disease. Do you think it’s possible? What would it mean for treatment? Do you think we should be able to talk about psychosomatic illness without people (doctors included) immediately thinking it means the person is “faking”?

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10 Answers

gondwanalon's avatar

Do you mean to ask can people imagine that they are suffering from the Covid-19 disease without the SARAS-COV-2 virus being present? I suppose so.

I never heard that some people think that they have Lyme disease without being infected be the bacteria Borrelia species.

There’s all kinds of people suffering from many diseases and ailments. Sometimes the symptoms they have can fool them and even fool medical experts.

Demosthenes's avatar

@gondwanalon More or less, yes. While some people who claim “chronic Lyme disease” have been previous infected with the bacteria, many have not and there is no medical evidence that the bacteria is present in their body, but they claim it nonetheless. The symptoms are also of the same “non-specific” type often seen in long COVID: fatigue, muscle pain, cognitive impairment. These symptoms can certainly be caused by pathogenic diseases, but they are also the lingering, difficult-to-pinpoint signs of a potentially psychosomatic issue.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

I believe long COVID follows COVID-19 not after having a head cold.

There are real changes in the body like brain and heart have been altered.

. . . and people that “think” they have Lyme disease are not psychosomatic but full blown delusional. Psychosomatic disorder is a psychological condition involving the occurrence of physical symptoms, usually lacking a medical explanation.

People with lond COVID have real symptoms and cellurar level changes in they body.

Zaku's avatar

@Demosthenes Your question is worded to suggest that there is a possibility that everyone suffering long-term symptoms of COVID is “psychosomatic”.

1. The chance of it being everyone is zero.

2. The chance of some people having psychosomatic symptoms, of just about anything is 100%.

3. The chance of getting an accurate statistic on what the % is, is 0%.

4. As @Tropical_Willie just offered, there have been physically observable lasting effects.

5. Medical understanding of a great many things, is incomplete, even of diseases that pre-date modern medicine.

6. The brain and nervous system are part of the body. The brain can and does affect the rest of the body.

Demosthenes's avatar

@Zaku The brain and nervous system are part of the body. The brain can and does affect the rest of the body.

Yes, I understand that. That is the whole point of my question.

I agree there is no way it is everyone, given the wide range of what “long COVID” is.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

The brain cannot cause the heart tissue to change like long COVID.

That is the point.

The brain can cause ulcers, a tic or facial twitch!

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well….TMI to follow. When I had Covid in 2020 my nose quit producing mucus but I didn’t realize until 2021 when it began making bugers again! YAY!

My sense of taste is slowly returning too. I can eat again without immediately throwing up now.

I don’t think those issues are all in my head.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@Demosthenes that’s not what I have read.

Everything I have seen describes it as multisymptomatic – it manifests itself in many ways, and researchers haven’t yet figured out which DNA/RNA pieces are triggered or changed that would indicate long COVID.

Nothing I have seen or read relates the CAUSE to the brain or nervous system (except that sometimes the nervous system is affected by long COVID.

Demosthenes's avatar

@Dutchess_III Just to be clear, “psychosomatic” doesn’t mean it’s “in your head” or you’re “imagining” it; it means the symptoms are physical but are not caused by the pathogen. I don’t know if that’s true. @elbanditoroso Yes there is much more research to be done. I just read an article that they are currently studying to what the extent the virus is still present in the bodies of people with long COVID symptoms. The theory is that lingering virus is causing immune reactions, leading to a variety of symptoms.

Entropy's avatar

I mean, I suppose it’s possible, but it doesn’t seem particularly likely. There’s too many people who get too many different symptoms. It seems more likely that it’s a remnant of the fact that this is a new illness the body isn’t prepared for and causes your immune system to do wacky and crazy things.

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