Today, almost 50% of Americans are fully vaccinated. Yet, the effects of the pandemic go beyond physical health. Some people suffer from mental problems as a consequence.
According to experts, the top behavioral and mental disorders in Albuquerque include:
- Suicidal thoughts
- Substance abuse
Are you one among many people suffering from any of these conditions?
The rate of COVID-19 cases is decreasing. As a result, new Mexicans now face a pressing need for behavioral and mental health services. Medical practitioners prescribe anti-anxiety, antidepressants, mood stabilizers, or minor tranquilizers.
Some medical practitioners recommend ketamine infusion therapy. As an off-label drug, Ketamine eases symptoms of some behavioral and mental disorders.
This blog hopes to give you an idea of how ketamine can help you:
- The State of Behavioral and Mental Disorders in New Mexico and Albuquerque
- Reasons Behind Behavioral and Mental Disorders During the Pandemic
- How Ketamine Works for Five Behavioral and Mental Disorders
The State of Behavioral and Mental Disorders in New Mexico and Albuquerque
Mental problems before, during, and aftermath of the pandemic are similar. Therefore, the University of New Mexico (UNM) released the New Mexico Behavioral Health Resource Mapping and Needs Assessment in March 2020.
UNM based its report on Medicaid claims from April 2018 to March 2019. Pre-pandemic, the most common disorders were substance abuse of opioid and alcohol use. Mental disorders included depression, anxiety, and trauma- and stressor-related disorders.
These common disorders are prevalent during the pandemic. A local news station shares a report by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). About 43% of New Mexicans struggle with anxiety and depression. To address these mental health disorders, NAMI offers free virtual classes. They also hold virtual support group meetings for Albuquerque residents.
In other news, the city government is setting up the Albuquerque Community Safety Department. It’s a facility you call that responds to people in need of mental and substance abuse help. Non-police trained professionals like social workers and violence prevention specialists attend to the calls.
Some people with mental problems often have comorbidities. Obesity, asthma, and diabetes are some of these health problems. These cases make it more challenging for medical practitioners.
Reasons Behind Behavioral and Mental Disorders During the Pandemic
Behavioral and mental health problems persist, more so with the pandemic. COVID-19 negatively impacts most aspects of our lives. Health problems are the most significant impact, followed by psychological issues and financial woes.
Some analysts point out reasons behind behavioral and mental disorders:
- Personal stress: Being cooped up at home due to quarantine lockdowns can result in cabin fever. It’s not an official medical diagnosis or mental disorder. But, if you have cabin fever, you may feel distressed, restless, or lonely. It contributes to your anxiety and depression.
Personal stress can also mean maladjustment to the new normal. You have to change your routine and lifestyle. For example, instead of your daily commute to work, you now have to learn ways of working from home. Some people may not be as adaptable or flexible as you.
The fear of the unknown or worry adds to the situation, which causes stress. It includes fear of getting infected with COVID-19.
Stress about COVID-19 affects children and teenagers, too. National data shows higher rates of anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic symptoms among them. At the same time, adults suffer from substance abuse and suicidal ideation.
- Economic difficulty: Joblessness is a reality for New Mexicans. The pandemic caused a standstill on the economy. It continues to send people scrambling for unemployment benefits.
Economic challenges cause personal stress. Like the rest of the world, people in Albuquerque lost their jobs due to the pandemic. They used to work in restaurants, salons, gyms, and retail stores.
The pandemic left them with an uncertain future. It affects people’s mental state because they don’t know where to get money to survive. Bills, rent, insurance payments, and loans pile up with no source of income in sight. But, what do people like you do when they have a family to support?
According to the U.S. Census Bureau Household Pulse Survey, about 51% of New Mexicans with children lost their jobs. Some undocumented immigrants worry more due to their exclusion from receiving stimulus checks. Food insecurity exists as well, which affects nutrition and health.
How Ketamine Works for Five Behavioral and Mental Disorders
People may have been mentally ill before the onslaught of COVID-19. The pandemic, though, may have aggravated the mental problem.
Medical practitioners prescribe ketamine infusion therapy for major depressive disorder or treatment-resistant depression (TRD). You’d know if you have TRD if you don’t respond to at least one antidepressant. Even with the right dose, frequency, or duration, the medication still doesn’t work. Ketamine can be a last resort when other medical modes fail.
Did your depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, substance abuse, or alcoholism worsen during the pandemic?
Ketamine infusion therapy isn’t for everyone. You undergo a thorough evaluation before starting with the ketamine sessions. Ketamine is not a standalone therapy, and it goes hand-in-hand with other modalities to manage your symptoms. Like any medication, it has its potential side effects and contraindications.
The benefits of ketamine, though, have been widely studied for years.
- Depression: Women reported higher rates of depression and anxiety than men, based on a survey. It’s a general trend even before COVID-19. Moreover, the poll reveals that 46% of adult Hispanics reported being depressed or anxious during the pandemic. They ranked second to non-Hispanic Black adults at 48%.
Researchers have documented ketamine use in adults for many years. The latest 2020 study shows ketamine may be better than electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). ECT is the gold standard for managing TRD. The researchers reveal ketamine may be better tolerated, less taxing, and cheaper than ECT.
It’s not only adult males and females who have suffered since the pandemic. The pandemic also affected adolescents. They experienced depression, anxiety, sleep problems, and suicidal thoughts.
Ketamine works for teenagers, too. Researchers published a first-ever randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial this year. The researchers found ketamine reduced depressive symptoms in adolescents aged 13-17 with major depressive disorder.
- Anxiety: A poll shows four in ten US adults reported being anxious or depressed during the pandemic. Based on the pulse survey, these cases significantly increased compared to the previous year. It equates from 11% in January to June 2019 to 41% in January 2021.
People with TRD may or may not have anxiety. But a study shows ketamine infusions improved symptoms among people with TRD who were anxious. It means ketamine works for people who have both TRD and anxiety.
Researchers in a 2020 study support intravenous ketamine as a safe and well-tolerated therapy. It improved the symptoms of people with depression and anxiety.
- Suicidal thoughts: People with depression tend to think about ending their life. Suicidal ideation is a common symptom among people with TRD. Statistics estimate about one million people commit suicide every year. About 66% of the cases happen during severe depression.
A pulse survey reveals suicide rates in the US increased during the pandemic. Plus, drug overdose deaths have been reported to peak from March to May 2020.
In a 2019 study, repeated ketamine infusions decreased suicidal thoughts in 92% of participants. This finding adds to the growing evidence that Ketamine can be a potential option for depressive people with suicidal thoughts.
- Substance abuse: May is Mental Health Month. To raise awareness, the Albuquerque government highlighted a program to support people with substance abuse problems. Substance abuse is one of the major mental health problems intensified by the pandemic. It’s widespread in the city.
A body of evidence suggests ketamine may be a potential therapy for addiction. Ketamine extends abstinence from substances like heroin. Other drugs studied include cocaine, marijuana, and opioids.
- Alcoholism: People have been drinking more since the start of the pandemic. It’s not only in New Mexico but in other states as well.
According to a 2020 study, the problem of alcohol consumption worsened during the start of COVID-19. The study also reveals US adults who reported extreme stress due to the pandemic drank more than those who experienced less stress.
People may want to kick the habit now that the pandemic is slowly dying out. Some medical practitioners prescribe ketamine for alcohol withdrawal symptoms. This treatment goes well with behavioral interventions like psychotherapy. It dampens cravings and encourages a person to quit drinking.
The pandemic brought about many physical and mental health problems. Albuquerque faces its quest to overcome these challenges. As businesses and jobs are reopening, people like you are starting anew. The goal is to cope with the behavioral or mental difficulty to get back on your feet again.
Anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, substance abuse, or alcoholism are problems that need attention and treatment. Medical practitioners prescribe interventions appropriate for each behavioral or mental health problem.
Ketamine infusion therapy serves as an adjunct modality for behavioral and mental health problems. We have provided more than 2,000 ketamine infusions since 2017.
You may reach us at the Injection and Infusion Clinic at 505-445-4300. Our ketamine-certified staff will gladly answer your concerns about ketamine infusion therapy.