Coronavirus mental health fallout: Rapid response like psychedelic therapy need of the hour?

  • With more than 2.6 billion in some form of lockdown due to coronavirus, mental health toll might have to be addressed with psychedelic therapy

  • There are physical reflections of mental health issues and doctors may not notice

The coronavirus outbreak has proved stressful to the public and the lockdown measures have given rise to many complications such as fear of infection risk, losing loved ones and among poor, financial uncertainty. This makes it worse for those who already have pre-existing mental health issues.

More than 2.6 billion are in some form of lockdown, according to a report, making it almost one-third of the global population or more people— higher than those who witnessed World War II. World Economic Forum's piece puts the coronavirus lockdown as the "largest psychological experiment ever conducted," resulting in a 'secondary epidemic of burnouts and stress-related absenteeism' and calls for immediate action.


We may never return to 'normalcy'

Dr. Anthony Fauci had said during a White House briefing that normal life as it was before coronavirus may never return. Such a situation calls for rapid treatment for depression.

In a review of 24 studies on the coronavirus quarantine impact, The Lancet reports that there would be negative psychological effects that include PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder) symptoms, confusion, and anger as was the case with SARS outbreak in 2003.

Physical reflection of mental problems

The CDC says that mental health problems reflect as physical ones, like headaches or stomach aches including cognitive problems like lack of concentration, and doctors might miss these mental health concerns.


Almost 10 percent of quarantined hospital staff reported depressive symptoms of high levels. A study says that more than 28 percent of parents in quarantine reported trauma-related mental health disorders.

Psychedelic therapy

Many experts have called for 'psychedelic therapy' to combat the crisis, such as approval of new medications like MDMA and psilocybin. Morgan Campbell, a psychiatrist based in Wisconsin wrote that FDA should "temporarily approve" using psilocybin among other psychedelics in treating COVID-19 caused depressions for fast relief.

FDA had called psilocybin therapy as a "breakthrough therapy" that qualifies for fast track research when evidence shows much improvement than the available treatments. "Twenty years of trials for psilocybin, and 10 years for MDMA, show that they outperform currently approved medications for depression and PTSD," writes Campbell in The Sacramento Bee

A study published earlier this year, showed that the dosage of psilocybin had reduced symptoms of "anxiety, depression, hopelessness, demoralization, and death anxiety" among cancer-related cases. This was effective for many years.

Related topics : Coronavirus Depression