Coping with a mental illness is always difficult, but the COVID-19 pandemic presents additional challenges. The author shares her personal story of how the pandemic has impacted her treatment and how she is practicing self-care. She offers helpful suggestions for those coping with behavioral health conditions and their support systems.
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There is a growing public awareness of the importance of sleep to overall health and mental health. Reporting on health related issues continues to emphasis the importance of good sleep to so many aspects of our overall health. Research has demonstrated links to learning and memory, metabolism and weight, mood, and cardiovascular health.
Individuals may experience depressive symptoms during the winter when days are shorter and exposure to sunlight decreases. The exact mechanism that causes this occurrence of these symptoms is unknown, however there are several possible contributory factors with well-researched treatment approaches. Dr. Mogharreban reviews the use of light therapy as a treatment for those with mild symptoms of "winter blues" to individuals that may be experiencing more severe symptoms indicative of Seasonal Affective Disorder.
In the U.S., awareness of mental health problems as a common public health challenge has grown. An important example of societal support and awareness of the need for access to mental health services is reflected in the Mental Health Parity Act (MHPA) of 1996 and the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) of 2008.
On 5 March 2019, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the nasal spray medication Spravato (esketamine) for treatment-resistant depression in adults. Some people are applauding this new medication as a much-needed shift from the era of antidepressants, including Prozac, Zoloft, and Paxil. “Finally, a drug that uses a different mechanism of action than these older antidepressants,” they cheer. Esketamine is a glutamate receptor modulator that is believed to help restore synaptic connections in a depressed person’s brain cells. Other critics are more skeptical, concerned it won’t be the panacea we’ve been looking for.