The Mental Health Impact of COVID-19

The Mental Health Impact of COVID-19

Coronavirus disease 2019, also known as COVID-19, is a viral disease that originated in China. Symptoms include fever, shortness of breath, body aches, and cough. The world has over 1.45 million cases, with the USA having nearly 400,000 cases, the most reported cases in the world1. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the leading US infectious disease expert, has predicted the coronavirus can kill as many as 240,000 Americans2.

There are no vaccines or treatments for COVID-19, although Johnson and Johnson are planning to start phase 1 trials of a vaccine this fall. It will take 12-18 months to develop a vaccine. There is an experimental vaccine trial going on in Pennsylvania currently, funded by Bill and Melinda Gates3.

Social distancing is the norm now, and the 42 states have a stay at home order currently4. Despite the curve flattening (peak resource in Illinois is now on April 11, 2020), social distancing has disrupted our daily lives. We are unable to go to Lou Malnati’s and Uncle Julio’s, hang out downtown, or go out to enjoy the nightlife.

Frustration and anger due to uncertainty are prevalent. People are stressed about being furloughed or laid off. There is an 85% increase in gun sales in comparison to last year at this time5.

Healthcare providers are certainly not immune to mental distress. Many physicians and nurses are being recruited to work in intensive care units and emergency departments in their hospitals. Healthcare providers are experiencing moral injury due to a lack of resources and manpower.

There are states that have stay at home orders going through the end of May, and there is the belief that this may extend into the summer. At StrIVeMD Wellness & Ketamine, we use intravenous ketamine and vitamin therapy, in conjunction with mental health providers, to combat treatment-resistant disease. Patients are concerned about leaving their homes and ask what can be done at home to help. Here are some recommendations:

  • Yoga has been shown to decrease anxiety6. It should also be considered for depression7 and there is growing evidence that it decreases the body’s response to stress8. I personally use Yoga with Adrienne, she is on YouTube.
  • Exercise – I have read stories about walking in the home or in the yard. I do Orange Theory, and the studios are closed indefinitely. If you have an elliptical or a treadmill at home, use it. I like the YouTuber Bullyjuice- he uses a great hybrid of high-intensity interval training and Tabata. Exercise releases endorphins and a variety of growth factors that promote healing. In some cases, exercise works as well as anti-depressants9.
  • Meditation has been shown to decrease the stress hormone cortisol, which chronically makes us weak and decreases our immunity. Meditation before bedtime can help with sleep, which is also vital to maintain our immunity.
  • There are a number of supplements that can be taken during this time to help including anti-inflammatory agents such as vitamin C, turmeric and vitamin D. Magnesium has been shown to help with anxiety and pain as well.
  • Ketamine – Whether intravenous or intranasal, there is a plethora of evidence that psychedelics like ketamine have been shown to be helpful for treatment-resistant PTSD, depression, OCD, and suicidal ideations. Ketamine can cause structural changes in the nervous system, which can help patients long term.

At StrIVeMD Wellness & Ketamine, we offer ketamine infusions as well as intravenous vitamin therapy. We will closely monitor guidelines and directions from the state of Illinois and will be offering infusions to our patients in the very near future. If you or someone has a mental health disease that is worsening, please call your healthcare provider or go to the emergency room. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please feel free to email us at [email protected].

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