Anxiety

Mood & Anxiety Disorders

Mood and anxiety disorders encompass many conditions under the broad category of mental health disorders. Common mood disorders are represented by several types of depression and related conditions. Mood disorders are more difficult to diagnose, especially in children or adolescents, because of how the symptoms crossover, and those symptoms are sometimes hard to express. 

Common Mood Disorders

There are many mood disorders, though you may be most familiar with those listed below. Symptoms may overlap, and you can have more than one mood disorder at a time. This can make treatment complicated, but one option worth considering is ketamine therapy, particularly in the case of depression.

  • Major depression means you have less interest in everyday activities, feel sad or desperate, and may experience other symptoms for two or more weeks.
  • Bipolar disorder I and II encompass a condition where someone has episodes of depression alternating with instances of elevated mood or mania.
  • A mood disorder caused by another health condition, like cancer, injuries, infections, and chronic illnesses. All of these can trigger depression symptoms.
  • Seasonal affective disorder is a kind of depression closely associated with months when there are fewer hours of natural daylight, generally in the fall and winter, with symptoms beginning to fade with warmer weather and longer days.

What causes mood disorders?

Depending on what disorder you suffer from, there could be several basic factors. Factors related to genetics, biology, your environment, and others have been identified as triggers for mood disorders.

Risk factors:

  • Family history.
  • You’ve had a mood disorder before.
  • Trauma and significant life stressors.
  • You were sick or were prescribed certain medications. “Depression has been linked to major diseases such as cancer, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and heart disease.”
  • Brain construction and how it works, particularly regarding bipolar disorder.

Common Anxiety Disorders

Occasional anxiety is an expected part of life. You might feel anxious when faced with a problem at work, before taking a test, or before making an important decision. But anxiety disorders involve more than temporary worry or fear.” If you have anxiety that doesn’t go away and the symptoms worsen over time – affecting daily life, including job performance, schoolwork, and relationships – then you may be suffering from a more serious anxiety disorder.

Types of anxiety disorders include:

  • Agoraphobia, characterized by fear and avoidance of places or situations that might trigger panic and induce feelings of being helpless, trapped, or embarrassed.
  • Generalized anxiety disorder includes consistent and extreme anxiety and worries around ordinary, everyday activities or events. The worry is often out of proportion to actual danger.
  • Panic disorder is characterized by recurrent instances of unexpected feelings of deep anxiety and fear that reach peak intensity within minutes (commonly known as panic attacks).
  • Separation anxiety disorder, mostly in children, is extreme anxiety for a child’s developmental level and is linked to separation from someone charged with parental roles.
  • Social anxiety disorder, or social phobia, involves high points of anxiety, avoidance, and fear of social settings because of feelings of embarrassment, worry about being unfairly judged or viewed negatively by someone else, and self-consciousness.

Anxiety disorders could be caused by:

  • Chemical imbalances in regions of the brain which control your mood.
  • Environmental factors and trauma.
  • Anxiety disorders may run in your family and be passed down from a biological relative.

Know the symptoms

Ketamine therapy can often treat anxiety and mood disorders symptoms, but it’s a good idea to know what they are before agreeing to treatment.

  • You feel sad nearly every day or almost all the time 
  • Low energy or feeling sluggish
  • Feeling hopeless or worthless 
  • Lack of appetite or binge eating
  • Unexplained weight gain or loss
  • Feeling fidgety, wound-up, or on-guard
  • Being easily tired
  • You feel out of control, and experience many other symptoms

Diagnosis & Treatment

A healthcare provider or a mental health specialist can diagnose mood and anxiety disorders. It normally involves a physical examination to look for an underlying medical cause for your symptoms and document personal and family medical history. Talking with someone who specializes in mental health has the same goals but focuses on your thoughts, feelings, and behavior as triggers for your condition. Your personal and family history of mental illness will also be explored, with your symptoms compared to specific mood and anxiety disorders criteria.

If you suffer from either condition, ketamine therapy may help control the symptoms, but your healthcare provider will also probably recommend psychotherapy and certain other medicine.

Psychotherapy

What Is Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy?

People who suffer from depression and chronic pain conditions often feel they have nowhere to turn if they can’t find relief through conventional treatment or medicine. They may try an alternative therapy, self-help strategies, or other methods to improve their mental and physical health, but what about Ketamine-assisted therapy?

What is Psychotherapy?

Psychotherapy is used when treating psychological issues by talking with a mental health specialist, like a psychiatrist or psychologist. While undergoing psychotherapy, you learn about your illness, including your behaviors, feelings, moods, and thoughts. It’s a kind of “talk therapy” which helps you regain control of your life and react to stressful situations with healthy coping skills. There are numerous psychotherapy, each with a unique approach customized to your needs.

What is Ketamine?

Ketamine is powerful medicine, initially used for anesthesia in the early 1960s. Sixty years ago, it was field-tested to treat wounded U.S. combat troops fighting in Vietnam and began its march toward fame and widespread acceptance. Ketamine was formally approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1970 for human use and as a veterinarian anesthetic. Since that time, its other medicinal value has been explored, including treating symptoms of mental illness.

Why use Psychotherapy?

Psychotherapy, in general, helps people deal with conflicts, reduce stress, and self-manage their symptoms. It’s a therapeutic approach that’s returned positive results for people dealing with illnesses such as:

  • Anxiety disorders (obsessive-compulsive disorder, phobias, or post-traumatic stress disorder)
  • Mood disorders (bipolar disorder or depression)
  • Addictions (drug dependence, alcoholism, or gambling)
  • Eating disorders like anorexia or bulimia
  • Personality disorders including dependent personality disorder or borderline personality disorder 
  • Schizophrenia or other conditions resulting in detachment from reality

What Is Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy? 

Ketamine-assisted therapy is a unique treatment approach utilized for mental health issues that don’t always respond well to other singular forms of therapy, such as depression, addiction, post-traumatic stress, chronic pain, and some conditions of anxiety. It involves a combination of ketamine to improve and deepen the therapeutic procedure and the use of “talk therapy” and other consolidative forms of treatment to boost and lengthen the medicinal power of ketamine.

When dispensed in low doses, ketamine is a supplement to psychotherapy because it temporarily softens natural psychological defenses. It provides for more profound self-reflection and management of sometimes-painful symptoms of mental illness. 

Because it’s a dissociative medicine, ketamine produces psychedelic effects, some of which may foster a new understanding of the human psyche beyond personal identity. These kinds of experiences can offer clarity and vision into one’s psychological struggles, adding what some people consider a spiritual dimension to ongoing therapy and fostering a sense of interconnectedness and meaning to one’s life.

Ketamine therapy benefits

  • If a person responds to ketamine, it can quickly minimize life-threatening thoughts and behaviors.
  • Ketamine may relieve other symptoms of depression. It may also be helpful for treating combined instances of depression and anxiety.
  • It has a strong anti-depressive effect.

What about side effects?

All drugs have side effects, but ketamine may result in:

  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Queasiness and vomiting
  • Perceptual instabilities, with time, seemingly speeding up or slowing; overly stimulating colors, textures, and noises; and blurred vision

Psychotherapy can offer many benefits throughout several therapeutic sessions, including:

  • Helps you recognize and change behavior and thinking patterns known to be harmful or ineffective.
  • Helps people understand interpersonal issues that are bothersome, like unsettled grief, changes within social or work circles, and other relationship troubles.
  • Helps people with long-term suicidal thoughts and those experiencing eating disorders, borderline personality disorder, and posttraumatic stress disorder.
  • May improve self-awareness.
  • Helps develop positive coping mechanisms.

Alternative Therapies

Not everyone experiencing anxiety or more serious mental health issues feels comfortable going to psychotherapy or using medicine like ketamine. Fortunately, there are alternative methods you can explore to help manage symptoms of depression, chronic pain, and other conditions. These may include:

  • The use of dietary supplements “to promote health and wellness as well as to treat pain, depression, and anxiety.”
  • Mindfulness and other kinds of meditation help to better understand personal consciousness and the surrounding world.
  • Aromatherapy, uses natural aromatic essences to foster balance, harmony, and promote a healthy body, mind, and spirit.

Final Thoughts

Symptoms of treatment-resistant depression, other mental illnesses, and chronic pain conditions pose significant challenges for millions of Americans regardless of age or gender. If ignored or untreated, they can have terrible consequences, but helpful options exist, including ketamine-assisted therapy.

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