Depression is a widespread and significant medical illness that negatively influences how you feel and how you act. Depression may cause feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed. While no cure exists for depression, there are several different treatment options available with ketamine infusions being a newer option which has a 70% success rate nationally.
RISING DEMAND FOR HEALTHCARE
A poll of almost 1,800 psychologists published in November 2020 indicated they were seeing a flood of patients experiencing anxiety disorders compared to pre-pandemic levels, and 60 percent were found to be treating more patients with depressive disorders. Of those psychologists, about 30 percent said they were treating more patients overall. The increased workload is becoming daunting. Two mental health professionals chimed in on their pandemic-era capacity.
Brooke Huminski, a psychotherapist and licensed independent clinical social worker in Providence, RI, who specializes in treating people with eating disorders said, “Never at any time in my practice have I had a five-person waiting list.”
Austin, Texas-based Dr. Gregory Scott Brown, the director of an outpatient psychiatry clinic, said the influx of patients seeking care has forced him to hire an additional nurse practitioner to help treat more patients. “I’m busier than ever and just don’t have room,” he said. “I’m full.”
IT’S OK TO FEEL BAD IN ROUGH TIMES
People who experience symptoms of depression and other mental health illnesses often struggle with feeling that if they’re not happy all the time, then something’s seriously wrong with them. But according to Dr. Jennifer M. Gómez, Assistant Professor, the Department of Psychology and Merrill Palmer Skillman Institute for Child & Family Development, Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, good mental health doesn’t mean you’re happy 24/7. Many everyday emotions are “integral parts to being alive,” she said. In fact, Dr. Gomez said that reacting happily following bad news, especially during a global pandemic, “would be abnormal.” She said, “If you’re struggling, there’s nothing inherently wrong with you.”
Dr. Riana Elyse Anderson, Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan, agreed and stressed, “When people say, ‘it’s okay not to be okay’, I want you to really hear that.” She further noted there is no playbook for navigating such unprecedented stress levels and the human body wasn’t built for it.
A common form of treatment for people who suffer from depression is psychotherapy, traditional medications, and now newer treatment options like ketamine. Mental healthcare professionals stress that it’s important to find a treatment you’re comfortable with and stick with it as prescribed.
DEPRESSION MEANS PRIORITIZATION
During high-stress moments in life, whether it’s the effect of a global pandemic or something else, mental healthcare professionals say it’s important to stay centered, and prioritize little things to help remain grounded. Joey Lusvardi, a psychiatric physician assistant, and Dr. Samantha Meltzer-Brody, Assad Meymandi Distinguished Professor and Chair, Department of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, reiterated that mental health is the foundation we build our lives upon, and we can’t ignore the little things – cleaning the house, maintaining personal hygiene, and reaching out to friends and loved ones with Zoom calls and other mediums.
TYPES OF MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS
Many kinds of mental health care professionals can help diagnose and treat depression and other conditions. They often work in in-patient facilities like general hospitals and psychiatric facilities, and out-patient facilities, such as community mental health clinics, private practices, and schools.
The following professionals handle assessment and therapy:
- Psychologists, who typically hold a doctoral degree in clinical psychology or another specialty such as counseling or education. They specialize in evaluating someone’s mental health through clinical interviews, psychological assessments, and testing.
- Counselors, clinicians, therapists, and other masters-level health care professionals are trained to gauge a person’s mental wellness and employ therapeutic techniques based on certain training programs.
- Clinical social workers are trained to diagnose your mental health through therapeutic techniques built on certain training systems. They also have experience in advocacy services and case management.
Some healthcare professionals can issue prescriptions to treat depression symptoms, but it varies based on state laws. One innovative new treatment is ketamine infusion therapy. They include:
- Psychiatrists are licensed medical doctors with specific psychiatric training. They can identify mental health conditions, prescribe, and monitor treatment and provide therapy.
- Psychiatric or mental health nurse practitioners who provide assessment, diagnosis, and therapy for mental illness or substance use disorders.
- Primary care physicians and pediatricians, though you may be better served by seeing someone who specializes in mental healthcare.
- Family nurse practitioners can offer general medical services which are like those of a primary care physician, depending on each state’s laws.
- Psychiatric pharmacists are advanced-practice pharmacists specializing in mental health care.
Exodus Health offers innovative new treatment alternatives that have been shown to rapidly improve the symptoms of depression in hours versus the weeks that antidepressants can take. If you or a loved one are struggling, we can help. Contact us today to learn more about the clinical use of ketamine to help treat the symptoms of depression.