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Increasing Depression in the setting 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 USA has passed 5600 deaths and has over 236,000 cases1, with the USA having the most reported cases in the world. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the leading US infectious disease expert, has predicted the coronavirus can kill as many as 200,000 Americans.2

Vaccines and Treatments

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.

Social Distancing

Social distancing is the norm now, and 38 states have a stay at home order currently.3 Cases of domestic violence have increased, and suicides during the pandemic have been on the rise in Europe.4 Nine people committed suicide in 48 hours in a Nashville Tennessee county, and there has been a 62% increase in text messages to the crisis text line there.5

Unemployment and Furloughed

A record number of individuals have applied nationally for unemployment6, and thousands of US workers in healthcare have been furloughed.7 Uncertainty about the future has been a huge stressor and strain on individuals and the economy.

Stay At Home

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:

  1. Yoga has been shown to decrease anxiety.8 It should also be considered for depression9 and there is growing evidence that it decreases the body’s response to stress.10
  2. Exercise – In medical school, we were taught that “you should walk your dog, even if you don’t have one.” We have patients that walk inside their home or exercise and walk in the yard. Exercise releases endorphins and a variety of growth factors that promote healing. In some cases, exercise works as well as anti-depressants.11
  3. Meditation has been shown to decrease the stress hormone cortisol and has been shown to break the connection between the amygdala (or fear center in the brain) and medial prefrontal cortex (the “me center” which is responsible for worrying).12 There are plenty of resources on how to meditate including on YouTube and apps for your cell phone (Headspace, Breathe, Calm, and many more).
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

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

Take care and stay safe!



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