How illnesses become psychologised: Long COVID, ME, and the ‘All-In-Your-Head’ cartel

I was delighted to be part of this panel discussion on Gez Medinger‘s YouTube channel, RUN-DMC. As many readers will know, Gez is a London-based film producer and director who has been debilitated with severe Long COVID ever since contracting Covid early in the pandemic. His YouTube channel is now dedicated to medical journalism, where he produces films on all aspects of Long COVID and post-viral illness.

These films were prepared by Gez along with Asad Khan, a Respiratory Consultant from Manchester who also has Long COVID.

Our panel discussion focused on the problem of Long COVID scepticism, and the way in which this illness is so frequently dismissed as a mental health problem caused by faulty thinking on the part of patients and media-driven mass hysteria. Quite apart from all the politics and medical history, we heard first-hand accounts from a number of doctors who themselves have suffered terribly with Long COVID and ME. Despite their own medical training, however, even these doctors continue to encounter rejection and dismissal from many of their own peers.

The panel also featured Sarah Graham, author and founder of the blog Hysterical Women, as well as doctors Kelly Fearnley, Nina Muirhead, Shaun Qureshi, and Ian Frayling.

The discussion was published in two parts, both of which have already attracted large viewerships. I embed them below for posterity.

Part 1 deals directly with the claim that illnesses such as these are psychological problems driven by cognitive factors. In Part 2, we discuss the thorny issue of how this culture of medical scepticism arose, and how it might best be challenged.

I found the panel discussion highly stimulating and I was privileged to be a part of it. I hope you enjoy the videos, and encourage you to keep in touch with Gez’s channel.

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