No, long Covid isn’t ‘all in the mind’. There’s a biological factor at play that saps your energy, ruins your sleep quality and causes brain fog—and it’s the same for CFS (chronic fatigue syndrome) and ME (myalgic encephalomyelitis).
The biological pathways of the two syndromes have been mapped out by Prof Warren Tate from the University of Otago, and essentially, they are one and same thing—problems caused by neuroinflammation, or brain inflammation.
The one piece of good news is that his research demonstrates that ME/CFS is most definitely not ‘all in the mind’ any more than long Covid is. “These diseases are very closely related, and it is clear the biological basis of long Covid is unequivocally connected to the original Covid infection, so there should no longer be any debate and doubt about the fact that post viral fatigue syndromes like ME/CFS are biologically based and involve much disturbed physiology,” he said.
Stress is the common root of both diseases. For most of us, a viral infection will pass without any longterm after-effects, but for a susceptible sub-set it triggers longterm problems, and it’s caused by an inability to cope with the stress of a viral infection or even vaccination. Essentially, the body’s inflammatory response to infection stays switched on, causing chronic health problems, he said.
(Source: Frontiers in Neurology, 2022; 13: doi: 10.3389/fneur.2022.877772)