U.S. Response to COVID-19 Linked to Mental Health Problems in 40% of Americans

Published: August 19, 2020
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Our current approach to COVID-19 is having unexpected consequences that must be considered when determining national and state policies. For example, a recent large study showed that 40% of Americans are having severe emotional problems, imho from our response to COVID-19. Studies show 31% are experiencing anxiety or depression, 26% have stress disorder, and the number of people expressing suicidal feelings has more than doubled.

With 48,000 suicides committed in the U.S. in 2018, this study suggests we could see an additional 24,000 suicides this year alone — a prediction driven not only by the pandemic itself, but most likely exacerbated by the mandated lockdowns and the 24/7 domination of coronavirus coverage in news media. I suspect much of this angst could be prevented by simply taking a few minutes to set up common sense safety precautions, and then shifting your focus away from the virus.

Again, perspective is helpful. It's estimated that one in 2,000 Americans will ultimately die from COVID-19. But nearly 3 million Americans die each year from all causes. So COVID-19 represents a very small percent of overall deaths. Numerous simple measures could easily save more lives. But these are very low cost and counter to some industry's profit interests. So they aren't explored.

For example, one recent study suggests that simply having optimized vitamin D levels (I recommend a multivitamin with 1,000 units a day for maintenance) was associated with an 8 to 20 fold increased probability of having only a mild clinical outcome from COVID-19 rather than a severe outcome. In addition, another study showed that optimizing vitamin D could result in 190,000 fewer deaths each year from all causes. Yet this rapidly growing body of research is largely ignored.

Although it's important to take common sense precautions during this pandemic, the massive amount of fear mongering on COVID-19 that Americans are constantly bombarded with is causing more harm than good. It's time to broaden our perspective of the actual risks we face, not only so we make more informed decisions, but that we also calm down a bit.

Jacob Teitelbaum, MD

is one of the world's leading integrative medical authorities on fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. He is the lead author of four research studies on their treatments, and has published numerous health & wellness books, including the bestseller on fibromyalgia From Fatigued to Fantastic! and The Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Solution. Dr. Teitelbaum is one of the most frequently quoted fibromyalgia experts in the world and appears often as a guest on news and talk shows nationwide including Good Morning America, The Dr. Oz Show, Oprah & Friends, CNN, and Fox News Health.

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