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COVID Depression

Kic Blog 12.16-01

Since the coronavirus lockdowns began in March, mental health issues have escalated. Psychological distress increases when natural disasters, wars, and mass traumas occur. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to months of social isolation, fear, anxiety, and depression. Depression diagnosis has severely increased since the pandemic began, and the numbers are continuing to get worse as the lockdowns and crisis continue.

A study published in JAMA Network Open, states that three times as many Americans met the criteria for a depression diagnosis during the pandemic than before. The study compared surveys conducted in 2017 and 2018 to surveys conducted in April 2020. In 2018, approximately 8.5% of the 5,000 Americans surveyed showed strong signs of depression that would likely qualify for diagnosis, such as feeling down and hopeless, loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities, low energy, trouble concentrating, and thoughts of self-harm. In April 2020, out of 1,500 Americans surveyed, approximately 28% showed diagnosis level symptoms of depression, and an additional 25% showed signs of mild depression. Since the crisis has been ongoing for another eight months, and continues today, those numbers will continue to climb.

The COVID-19 stressors, loss of job, loss of home, financial distress, loss of loved ones, and lack of normal services or opportunities for goodbyes during loss of loved ones, make people more likely to suffer symptoms of depression than those not experiencing those stressors. However, everyone is facing some anxiety over the unknown and the changes to our society creating a “new norm”. The usual demographic trends of depression are occurring – women more likely than men, single people more likely than married couples, and people with low savings compared to wealthier people. However, the continued anxiety is putting everyone at risk of mental health issues regardless of gender, race, relationship status, or income stability.

Some things that you can do to lower your risk of mental health issues and succumbing to depression symptoms include, getting proper sleep, healthy eating, regular exercise, and meditation or yoga. It is also crucial that you are not mentally isolating yourself, regardless of the physical isolation lockdown orders. Stay in touch with family and friends though phone, video chats, and even meeting outdoors for a walk. Seek mental health care if needed.

One treatment for depression that many people may be unaware of that has had fantastic success is ketamine infusion therapy. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, Ketamine works within hours, improves mood, and the mild side effects typically go away as soon as the infusion is over. Anti-depressants are used to cure depression by altering brain chemicals like serotonin and dopamine. It is a balancing act to find what works with each patient and typically takes several weeks to months to find what works if anti-depressants will work for them at all. Ketamine, on the other hand, blocks the NMDA receptors in the brain that are thought to cause depression. It also affects opioid receptors which affect pain as well as depression. In other words, antidepressants are trying to balance the chemicals, while Ketamine is changing the way the brain cells communicate. This explains why the impact of Ketamine is immediate and has longer lasting effects even after the drug is no longer in the body.

Ketamine can treat depression, suicidal thoughts, posttraumatic stress disorder, and other mood orders, as well as being used for nerve-related pain. Ketamine has an immediate effect, which is why it can be used for someone with suicidal thoughts. If the stress from the Covid-19 pandemic has caused you to show signs of depression, call Ketamine Infusion Centers today.

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