According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “[P]ost-COVID conditions can last weeks, months, or longer after COVID-19 illness and can sometimes result in disability.” Chronic co-occurring medical conditions like long COVID can significantly affect treatment for substance use disorder (SUD). Newport Beach Recovery Center accommodates clients with co-occurring conditions like long COVID. We believe everyone should have access to high-quality treatment for substance abuse regardless of comorbidities or complications.

What Is Long COVID?

Long COVID is an umbrella term that describes various health side effects experienced by people who have been diagnosed with COVID-19. According to COVID.gov, “Long COVID is broadly defined as signs, symptoms, and conditions that continue or develop after initial COVID-19 or SARS-CoV-2 infection.” The side effects can last for weeks or months, with some people reporting symptoms more than a year after their initial COVID diagnosis.

Research is still ongoing to determine the specific cause and possible symptoms of long COVID, making diagnosis difficult in some cases. If you believe you may have some form of long COVID, you should reach out to a medical professional for an assessment. Once you have a known diagnosis, our team can help you determine the best treatment program to help you recover from co-occurring SUD.

Symptoms and Side Effects of Long COVID

The side effects and symptoms of long COVID vary significantly. In addition, they can disappear and repeatedly reappear over the course of weeks or months, making them difficult to treat. Most people with long COVID report some or all of the following:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • “Brain fog” or difficulty thinking clearly
  • Headaches or migraines
  • Lightheadedness or vertigo
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Pins-and-needles in extremities
  • Changes to smell or taste or, in rare cases, complete loss of smell and taste
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle aches or weakness

The severity of symptoms can change abruptly, and some people report only one or two while others experience a wide range of side effects.

3 Ways to Cope With the Effects of Long COVID During Recovery

Recovering from SUD takes time and energy. If you have a chronic condition that impacts your ability to focus and remain motivated, it takes more effort to maintain your motivation. Below are three ways you can cope with long COVID during recovery.

#1 Take Care of Your Physical Health

Prioritize your physical health and make sure you give your body everything it needs to feel healthy, including:

  • Quality sleep
  • Nutritional meals
  • Low-stress exercise
  • Proper hydration

Physical self-care will give you the energy and motivation to continue your sobriety.

#2 Practice Emotional Self-Care

Your emotional health impacts your ability to cope with physical stressors like chronic pain or discomfort. You can practice emotional self-care by ensuring you take time each day to relax and find moments of peace.

Examples of emotional self-care include:

  • Talking to members of your support system
  • Accepting help from others when you feel stressed
  • Establishing and maintaining clear boundaries
  • Allowing yourself to focus on improving your mental health
  • Spending a quiet moment alone in meditation

These interpersonal and mindfulness skills will help you feel empowered in managing your co-occurring conditions.

#3 Expand Your Support System

Your support system should expand to include individuals who can help you cope with any physical symptoms. A primary care doctor, physical therapist, and other trained professionals can give you additional support during recovery from SUD. Your case manager at Newport Beach Recovery Center can also provide information on local resources.

How Does Long-Term COVID Affect Ongoing Recovery?

Ongoing recovery usually involves individual therapy, self-help groups, and other forms of support. You can also use those resources to combat the lingering effects of long COVID. Your safety is our top priority, and our care team will help you create a comprehensive aftercare plan that will include the following:

  • Relapse-prevention strategies
  • Crisis management
  • Referrals to local resources

In addition, as an alumnus, you can always come to us for ongoing support or a brief return to treatment if you face challenges during early recovery. We understand that long COVID puts increased stress on your mind and body. You can rely on us to help you maintain sobriety during challenging moments. We also have a sober living community for individuals who need a more structured environment during early recovery.

Sober Living Communities and Long COVID

Some people struggle to cope with long COVID and may feel tempted to self-medicate. According to Psychiatry Research, “[M]ental health components of the long-COVID syndrome may increase the risk of substance abuse as a way of coping with mental distress.” Our sober living community gives you a safe and structured space where peers and staff will hold you accountable for maintaining sobriety. Though you may feel intense cravings, intrusive thoughts, and increased symptoms, we’re here to support you.

The passionate care team at Newport Beach Recovery Center takes into account all active and underlying conditions that may affect recovery. We can help you establish healthy coping skills that you can use to decrease the risk of relapse and improve symptoms of long COVID.

Some people in treatment for substance abuse have co-occurring long COVID that affects their energy levels, mood, and motivation. Co-occurring disorders often require simultaneous treatment to ensure the best outcome. However, in the case of long COVID, not enough is known about the condition for there to be standard treatment options. Symptoms often vary widely from person to person and may disappear and then reappear. Newport Beach Recovery Center works with clients to ensure they have the best rehabilitation experience possible. We can help you heal from substance abuse and cope with co-occurring issues like long COVID. To learn more about our services and the programs we offer, call us today at (888) 850-0363.