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Dr. LaKesha Legree discusses signs of depression during global health crisis

Photo Provided (Photo credit: Lyvert Photography in Charlotte, North Carolina)

Dr. LaKesha Legree is an anesthesiologist and holistic health expert whose practice is focused on pain management and mental health. She is the owner of Elev8 MD, a ketamine clinic in North Carolina where patients are treated for depression and chronic pain. We spoke with Dr. Legree about the current global health crisis and how it is impacting mental health.

What kinds of issues are you seeing with patients now?

I have a unique perspective. I’m an anesthesiologist and I practice both in the operating room and also in an outpatient setting. From an operating room perspective, I meet patients that are coming in, and they can’t breathe. They require some sort of assistance and usually the assistance I provide is a breathing tube. That is scary for the patient. At the same time, because they’re restricting who can come into the ER, they’re by themselves. I find myself being a pseudo-family member and a caregiver and sort of a life-saving measure at the same time. And that has some pressure to it. I also own a wellness center that focuses on chronic depression in multiple communities. What I’m seeing is an increase in severe depression as well as severe generalized anxiety disorders. All of the uncertainty and unknown is creating fear and fear is feeding the anxiety and feeding the depression.

How would a person know that they are depressed?

It’s very important to really be in tune with any small subtle changes in yourself. For example: If you find yourself not picking up the phone when your phone rings as you usually would. If you find yourself journaling, reading a book or watching TV, and then all of a sudden those things cease. If you find yourself having low energy, not feeling like you want to get out of the bed and start your day. If you’re feeling like you don’t have an appetite or your appetite increases. If you’re having sleep disturbances, can’t fall asleep or can’t stay asleep. Those are basic signs that there’s a clinical problem going on that you should seek professional help for.

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