Over the past year and a half, mental health issues have increased and also have become more openly discussed. The pandemic is one of the contributing factors, says psychiatrist Dr. Cynthia Higgins. “Everyone is aware of the stress this pandemic has created,” she says. “It’s not only showing up in mental but in physical health, too.”
Globally, the number of patients with high blood pressure doubled from 650 million globally to 1.3 billion in a twoyear period. “Depression and anxiety increase blood pressure,” Dr. Higgins says.
She explains that depression is a consequence of anxiety, which can cause the patient to feel hopeless. To differentiate depression from adjustment disorder, look for a series of symptoms that last at least two weeks, including sleep disturbances, energy level changes, a decrease in motivation, socially withdrawing, mood shifts and anhedonia, which is defined as a loss of interest in former joys.
In her practice, Dr. Higgins treats depression in a very individualized way, often combining medication with energy therapy, which delves into the root causes of the patient’s anxiety and emotional issues. This hybrid technique “completely shifts the paradigms around what’s possible in the patients’ lives,” she says.
One medication she prescribes regularly is ketamine, an FDAapproved treatment for severe depression. It’s especially helpful for her patients who can’t tolerate traditional medicines or tried many and didn’t get the anticipated results. There has been evidence of neurogenesis, meaning that ketamine can create new neural pathways.
Using a compounding pharmacy to prepare the medication is beneficial for many reasons, Dr. Higgins says. These range from being able to adapt to a patient’s particular sensitivities to being able to help the patient gradually reduce a medication’s dosage instead of stopping cold turkey. Side effects can be better avoided through the use of a compounding pharmacy, as well.
Dr. Higgins shares a story of a patient who suffered from multiple forms of anxiety. The most crippling was obsessive-compulsive disorder. It showed up for him as excessive worry about specific things. A series of ketamine treatments helped his awareness change. Initially he wasn’t in tune with how much time he was spending on obsessive thoughts. Once he was aware, he could make healthier decisions and shift his focus to other things.
“Awareness changes everything because we can make other choices,” Dr. Higgins says. “It was very gratifying to see that evolution.”
Dr. Cynthia Higgins is an Integrative Psychiatrist, Practitioner of Energy Psychology, and trained in Alternative Medicine. Using a hybrid technique, often combining medication with energy therapy, she delves into the root causes of a patient’s mental and emotional issues. She’s a member of the Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology
September 10th was World Suicide Prevention Day. If you are experiencing depression and want to learn more how ketamine may help you, call Dr. Higgins at 941.378.9959, or call Gerry at Sarasota Compounding Pharmacy at 941.366.0880 for more information.
If you or a loved one has thoughts of death or suicide, call 800.273.TALK (800.273.8255) or 9-1-1 immediately. For Veterans in crisis, press”1” to be directed to local VA resources.