Mental Health a Growing Concern in Post-Pandemic World

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With more than 60% of eligible adults in the United States partially vaccinated, the reality of a post-pandemic world may feel like it is slowly drawing near—yet experts warn that its long-term effects, especially mental health, are a growing concern.

Not too long ago, hospitals running out of beds in their Intensive Care Units is the reality we faced as a nation. Now those same hospitals are beginning to release their final patients who were fortunate enough to recover from COVID-19. While some, if not all of the physical effects of the virus subsided for patients, a study published in The Lancet Psychiatry suggests that as many as one in three people infected with COVID-19 will experience longer-term mental health problems or neurological damage.

A recent report from the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) found that between April and early May more than 30% of U.S. adults reported symptoms of anxiety or depression. For comparison, during January of 2019 to June of 2019, only 11% of adults experienced symptoms of anxiety and/or depressive disorder, based on data from the 2019 National Heath Interview Survey.

Researchers stated that the findings from these and previous studies show that COVID-19 is followed by significant rates of neurological and psychiatric diagnoses over the following six months.

In addition to anxiety and depression, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Psychiatry in February of 2021 found that out of 381 participants who are COVID-19 survivors, 30% experienced PTSD. With more than 33 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States alone, the potential aftermath impacting mental health is raising concern.

Emergency departments, mental health clinics, and healthcare providers must begin to configure and resource services in anticipation of a behavioral health epidemic. Fortunately, there are ways that people can be proactive about their mental health if they feel like they are experiencing symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder, depressive disorder, or PTSD.

Ketamine Infusion Therapy for Mental Health Conditions:

Hailed as the biggest breakthrough in over a half century, ketamine therapy is quickly gaining recognition for its fast-acting and highly effective relief of symptoms related to mood disorders and chronic pain.

Developed and approved by the FDA as an anesthetic in 1962, Ketamine is commonly used on battlefields, in operating rooms, and in pediatric medicine for minor procedures.

Beginning in the 1990s, researchers at Yale Medical School began looking at the potential for low-dose ketamine therapy to help patients with treatment-resistant depression. Affecting nearly a third of depression patients, treatment-resistant depression occurs when multiple antidepressants fail to bring relief of symptoms.

What they found exceeded their wildest expectations. Among those with treatment-resistant depression, PTSD, and suicidal ideation, more than 75% found relief of symptoms. Moreover, they discovered through brain imaging that ketamine spurred the growth of new neurons in the brain that had been damaged by years of depression and anxiety.

This remarkable feature of ketamine means that the benefits can last even when it is no longer in the body. In fact, many patients feel the benefits of treatment for weeks, months, or even longer.

Ketamine is proven to be an effective treatment for:

  • Major depression
  • Anxiety disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Suicidal Ideation

How Ketamine Works:

Ketamine treats PTSD in the same way that it treats depression, chronic pain, and suicide ideation. There are two main ways that ketamine treats PTSD in particular:

  1. By blocking N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA)—a receptor involved in the amplification of pain signals, opioid tolerance, and the development of central sensitization.
  2. By triggering glutamate production—a neurotransmitter that mediates response to stress and the formation of traumatic memories.

This encourages the brain to rewire and alter its connection between cells, which allows the brain to be more adaptable and create new pathways—both of which provide opportunities to create more positive thoughts and behaviors. Unlike other solutions, ketamine works beyond its day of use, helping with PTSD and other conditions long after it has left the body.

IV Ketamine Infusion Treatments at Nova Vita Wellness Centers:

Ketamine infusion treatment at Nova Vita Wellness Centers applies the same protocol as used in the Yale study, consisting of six infusions over the course of 10-14 days.

During this time, our team will work with you to monitor the effects of the treatment, provide support and collaborate with your primary mental health provider to help you meet your treatment goals.

Prior to starting the treatment, you will have a consultation with our clinical team to answer any questions you might have and determine if ketamine therapy is right for you. If the decision is made to proceed with treatment, you will usually be scheduled to receive three treatments per week for two weeks.

If deemed appropriate, treatment can begin immediately following the consultation.

For Patients:

To learn more about ketamine infusion therapy for mental health or to find out if it is right for you, contact us online.

For Providers:

If you are a healthcare professional and would like to submit a patient referral form, you may do so with our online form.

If you are in crisis, get immediate help:

  • Call 911
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for English, 1-888-628-9454 for Spanish
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233 or text LOVEIS to 22522
  • National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-4AChild (1-800-422-4453) or text 1-800-422-4453
  • National Sexual Assault Hotline:1-800-656-HOPE (4673)
  • Veteran’s Crisis Line: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)


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