Depression affects 40 million people in America and nearly 300 million around the world. It’s a leading cause of disability. It can harm anyone no matter gender, age, income, or ethnicity, but symptoms are treatable once you’ve been diagnosed with the illness. But first, you need to know the signs.
How do you manage the symptoms of depression? Recognizing and managing symptoms of depression over the long haul – nine or more months without recurrence – offers the best chance of you living with the condition, but not being controlled by it.
You’ve had a long day at work. Running a forklift to and from your company’s warehouse is a lot harder than it was three or four months ago. In fact, when you go to bed every night, you lay awake from pain – which seems to come from everywhere and nowhere.
It is easy for us to forget that depression is more than just normal sadness. Sadness is a normal human emotion that we all need to feel from time to time as part of a normal human life. Depression is when these feelings of sadness go above and beyond and become debilitating and isolating.
Depression is not a condition that can be “cured” in the traditional manner of speaking, and it is not something a person can easily will themselves out of. That said, there is a myriad of ways a person can find relief from their symptoms.
Treating depression can be a daunting task due to the contradiction at its heart – the very things you must do to help yourself fight against your symptoms are many times the hardest things to do because of the way depression makes you feel.
Options for depression treatment range everywhere from baby steps to more overwhelming, but ultimately helpful, endeavors that can help you find relief from the symptoms of your condition.
What To Do When Depressed
Depression tends to make a person socially withdraw, making you feel like you have to face everything completely on your own. It erodes your personal sense of objective reality and makes things seem more overwhelming than they really are. Depression puts significant strain on your personal and professional lives.
The first step in your journey to recovery is to reach out for support. This support can come in many forms: close friends, family, therapy, treatment, support groups, etc. The important part of this is learning that others can help you get better or at least support you along the way.
Do Something You Enjoy
This may sound obvious, but it’s not easy. Depression can make even your favorite hobbies and activities a chore. Your symptoms may get in the way of enjoying anything. Sometimes, the most therapeutic thing you can do is get out of your comfort zone for a little while.
If it gets too overwhelming, it’s ok to retreat to your comfort zone for a time. The goal of this is not to completely abandon your comfort zone. It’s about expanding your comfort zone until you can fit everything in the world into it.
Spending some time with hobbies and social activities can also reduce stress levels, which can strengthen your defenses against your depressive symptoms.
Support Your Physical Health
Mental health and physical health are closely linked to each other, and supporting your physical health can positively impact your mental health. You should try to get eight hours of sleep a night, eat well-balanced meals, and practice relaxation techniques like meditation or yoga.
Seek Out Treatment
There should be no shame for seeking treatment for any health condition, depression among them. No one else can really see the pain of suffering you are going through, so the only person who can really judge if you deserve treatment is yourself.
Depression treatment is entering an optimistic new age thanks to traditional treatments and innovative new techniques like ketamine infusion therapy alike. With the right treatment, you can find relief from your symptoms.
Pain is a normal part of human life – it is your body’s way of warning you that something is wrong. In most cases, your body heals and you stop hurting. For others, however, this pain continues long after you have healed and is more intense. This is known as chronic pain.
Approximately one in four people (25%) with chronic pain suffer from a condition called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). This is a condition that has symptoms more than just chronic pain, including depression and anxiety – symptoms that will interfere greatly in a person’s everyday life.
Although the symptoms can be debilitating, there is hope for relief thanks to treatments like counseling, physical therapy, medications, and ketamine infusions.
- Joint problems
- Back pain
- Muscle strains
- Repetitive stress injuries
- Nerve damage
- Lyme disease
- Broken bones
- Acid reflux
- Irritable bowel syndrome
Anyone can develop chronic pain, although some factors can make a person more at risk, including the following:
Treatment for Chronic Pain
The treatment of chronic pain aims chiefly to reduce pain enough to allow you to carry out your everyday activities once again.
CRPS has no known cure, and treatment plans must be adjusted according to each individual.
In some cases, over-the-counter medications, like acetaminophen or ibuprofen, can help reduce the symptoms of chronic pain. Some people find relief with opioid pain relievers, but the side effects can be harmful when abused.
There are also some general lifestyle changes and home remedies you can participate in to help ease the symptoms, such as engaging in physical therapy or yoga, seeing a therapist, or practicing meditation.
Ketamine for Chronic Pain Treatment
Ketamine was first approved by the FDA for use as an anesthetic, but it has also found significant use as a pain reliever over the years, with many organizations now recommending it for the treatment of chronic pain conditions.
Research into ketamine infusions for treating pain is still ongoing, but it is generally believed that ketamine helps to foster connections between synapses and restore damaged nerve connections, essentially “rewiring” the brain. Ketamine infusions may be particularly effective at not only treating the pain symptoms of Chronic Pain Syndrome, but also the additional depression and anxiety symptoms.
The recent FDA approval of Spravato (a ketamine-based nasal spray for treatment-resistant depression), as well as the development of new psychedelics research centers by John Hopkins, may indicate a shift in the chronic pain treatment industry, providing innovative new options like ketamine infusion to those who experience persistent and treatment-resistant chronic pain.
Is depression a disease? It’s a tricky question. The difference between disease, disorder, and illness is sometimes difficult to find. According to some, it can definitely be classified as a disease. Others who take a more purist approach might argue that the American Psychiatric Association refers to depression only as a disorder and an illness.
The standard definition of disease is “a condition of the living animal or plant body or of one of its parts that impairs normal functioning and is typically manifested by distinguishing signs and symptoms.” If we follow this definition, we can definitely consider depression a disease.
What Is Depression?
Depression is also known as clinical depression or major depressive disorder. It is a medical condition that is debilitating and greatly affects the way you feel, think, and behaves. Depression brings on intense feelings of sadness and makes you withdraw from things you used to enjoy. This can put a great strain on your personal and professional lives.
The symptoms of depression can include the following:
- Feelings of sadness
- Depressed mood
- Lack of interest in hobbies you used to enjoy
- Changes in appetite (eating too little or too much)
- Changes in sleep patterns (sleeping too little or too much)
- Lack of energy
- Slowed movement and speech
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- Trouble concentrating
- Trouble making decisions
- Suicidal thoughts or actions
Sadness vs. Depression
Several things in everyday life can lead a person to feel sad or melancholy. Common examples of these events include the loss of a loved one, natural disasters, or stressful changes at work.
Make no mistake, even intense sadness is normal when experienced from time to time. Per the American Psychological Association, the sadness you experience in everyday life is different from depression in several aspects:
- If you are experiencing grief, these feelings tend to come in waves and are intermixed with positive memories of the deceased. If what you are experiencing is depression, the overall mood is decreased for a period of most of two weeks.
- During periods of grief, self-esteem is typically maintained. However, during periods of depression, your self-esteem is brought down by feelings of worthlessness and self-loathing.
Depression is like other mental health disorders – it is a complex mix of both biological and environmental factors rather than the result of a single cause. Factors like temperament, life experiences, and family history of mental health conditions can increase your likelihood of developing depression.
- Family history
- Early childhood trauma
- Brain structure
- Medical history
- Drug abuse
- Stressful events
Without treatment, depression may only get worse with time. There is no shame in seeking treatment for this condition, and fortunately, the future of depression treatment looks brighter now than ever before.
Traditional treatments, like antidepressants, and innovative new techniques, like ketamine infusion therapy, both present options for treatment and relief from your symptoms.
Contact us today to learn more about our innovative new treatment options available.
Anxiety is an emotion – a momentary feeling of stress, the human body letting you know it thinks you may be in danger. Anxiety disorders are more serious mental health conditions where feelings of anxiety go above and beyond this normal response to urgency or perceived danger and greatly disrupt your life.
Most people will experience anxiety regularly, and up to 40 million adults in the United States experience an anxiety disorder every year. Fortunately, despite how the symptoms can make a person feel, there is still hope for the future.
Anxiety disorders can be treated through medications, therapy sessions, lifestyle changes, and more. While no single treatment will work for every person, anyone can find a treatment that helps relieve their symptoms.
Here is a helpful guide explaining some tips and tricks that can help with handling anxiety symptoms.
How To Handle Anxiety
Mental health and physical health are two sides of the same coin. Regular exercise can help relieve anxiety symptoms. This can be as little as 30 minutes of exercise, 3 to 5 times a week.
Ideally, every person should get around eight hours of sleep every night. If you are struggling to get to sleep, try techniques like adapting a consistent sleep schedule or avoiding screens and electronic devices an hour before bedtime.
Avoid Harmful Substances
If you find yourself anxious or stressed out, it’s easy to turn to things like caffeine or alcohol, but these substances may only make your anxiety worse in time.
There should be no shame in seeking out treatment for your anxiety, especially if it is interfering with your everyday responsibilities.
The types of anxiety disorders
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder
- Panic Disorder
- Social Phobia/Social Anxiety Disorder
- Selective Mutism
- Separation Anxiety Disorder
- Substance-Induced Anxiety Disorder
The symptoms of anxiety
- Feelings of nervousness
- Feelings of restlessness
- A sense of impending doom or urgency
- Increased heart rate
- Rapid breathing (hyperventilation)
- Trouble concentrating
- Trouble sleeping
- Gastrointestinal distress
- Avoidance of anxiety triggers
The Causes of Anxiety
The development of an anxiety disorder is not as crystal clear as other conditions, such as an illness like the common cold. Whereas a cold can be traced back to exposure to a cold virus, anxiety disorders are instead a complex mix of several biological and environmental factors.
Examples of conditions or medical problems linked to anxiety include some of the following:
- Heart disease
- Thyroid problems (like hyperthyroidism)
- Respiratory disorders, such as COPD or Asthma
- Drug abuse or withdrawal
- Chronic pain
- Irritable bowel syndrome
Ketamine Treatment For Anxiety
Exactly how ketamine treats anxiety disorders is still being researched, much like what leads to the development of anxiety. The current understanding is that ketamine binds to receptors in the brain that increase the amount of a neurotransmitter – glutamate – is released. This will then set off a chain of reactions within the brain that affects thinking and emotional regulation.
To put this in layman’s terms, the brain reacts to ketamine in a way that triggers hormones that help create more positive emotions. This can occur within minutes after a person receives their infusion, but some people may need several treatments before they experience the highest level of benefits.
If you or a loved one are suffering from anxiety, contact us today to find out if one of our innovative new treatment options are right for you.
Mental wellness is a major problem. The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance says that nearly 15 million adults in the United States suffer from depression. A study from the World Health Organization calls depression a leading cause of disability, affecting nearly 300 million people of all ages around the world.
WHAT IS DEPRESSION?
Everyone feels miserable or worried occasionally, but depression is more than a momentary case of “the blues.” Depression is a mood disorder resulting in a constant feeling of loss of interest and sadness. Officially called clinical depression or major depressive disorder, it alters your feelings, thoughts, and behavior and can lead to several physical and emotional problems. There is no cure for depression, but its symptoms can be treated with psychotherapy or drugs including ketamine.
SYMPTOMS OF DEPRESSION
Like other mental health illnesses, depression is characterized by many symptoms – some easy to identify, others more subtle which sometimes get taken for granted. You may only be depressed once in your life, but most people normally experience multiple episodes. During these times, symptoms happen most of the day, almost every day and can include:
- Feelings of tearfulness, emptiness, sadness, or hopelessness
- Being angry, irritable, or frustrated, even over trivial matters
- Loss of pleasure or interest in nearly all normal activities, like intimate relations, hobbies or sports
- Sleep problems like insomnia or sleeping more than normal
- Fatigue and loss of energy, so even small chores require extra effort
- Loss of appetite and weight or a bigger appetite (binge eating) and weight gain
- Anxiety, restlessness, or agitation
- Slowed thought, speech, or body movements
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or obsession with self-blame or past failures
- You can’t think straight or concentrate
- Trouble with remembering things and making decisions
- Frequent or constant thoughts of death, suicide attempts, or suicidal thoughts
- Inexplicable physical discomfort, such as headaches or back pain
- For many people, the symptoms of depression are usually severe enough to be noticeable day-to-day, interfering with school, social activities, work, or interpersonal relationships.
WHAT IS A DISABILITY?
Even with all the pain and suffering it causes, depression isn’t considered a disability by most people. The World Health Organization defines a disability as any condition of the mind or body (“impairment”) that makes it harder for the person experiencing the condition to participate in certain activities (“activity limitation”) and intermingle with society around them (“participation restrictions”).
These “disability dimensions” are defined by the World Health Organization as follows:
- Impairment of a person’s mental functioning like memory loss, or body structure or function such as loss of a limb, or loss of vision.
- Activity limitation, including trouble hearing, walking, seeing, or problem-solving.
- Participation restrictions in typical daily activities, including working, participating in recreational and social activities, and getting preventive and health care services.
I’M DEPRESSED – DOES THAT MEAN I HAVE A DISABILITY?
If you’re unable to function – to be employed, manage your day-to-day responsibilities – then you may be disabled, but it’s a slippery slope from a legal standpoint. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines disability as any mental or physical impairment that interferes with a key life activity. Your physical disabilities are normally easier to define, but mental disabilities are more challenging. Clinical depression is listed as a disability under the ADA, but even if you suffer from it, you may not be protected. Generally, the ADA is consulted on a case-by-case basis, but if you are depressed, get it documented.
CONDITIONS RELATED TO DEPRESSION
Depression might be caused by chronic illnesses, common medical conditions affecting your body’s regulatory systems, and even surgery. Studies show that physical ailments boost the likelihood of depressive illness, including these:
- Multiple sclerosis
- Heart disease
- Chronic pain, fibromyalgia
- Postpartum depression
People battling depression may also have problems with substance abuse. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America According reports that nearly 20 percent of Americans with a mental health disorder also suffer from substance abuse, and 20 percent experiencing a substance abuse disorder also suffer from a mood or anxiety disorder.
Depression symptoms can happen or be triggered by these psychiatric disorders:
- Bipolar disorder
- Adjustment disorder
- Eating disorders
- Panic and other anxiety disorders
- Obsessive compulsive disorder
- Borderline personality disorder
Depression is clinically diagnosed by a mental health professional following a physical exam by a medical doctor. Once you’ve been diagnosed, your therapist or doctor will talk about treatment options that are suitable for your condition and symptoms. The recommendation could be psychotherapy or drugs, or a combination of both. Ketamine, once used solely as a pre-surgical anesthetic, is believed to treat symptoms of depression rapidly versus the typical weeks it may take a regular antidepressant to work.
If you or a loved one have questions about the clinical use of ketamine to help treat depression we can help. Contact us today to learn more about the innovative new treatments we offer.
Something doesn’t feel right. Luckily, you and your family haven’t been diagnosed with COVID-19, but you’re fatigued all the time and your appetite isn’t what it used to be. Like millions of others struggling with the global pandemic, it’s hard to function sometimes. You may be suffering from atypical depression.
WHAT IS ATYPICAL DEPRESSION?
Atypical depression — also called depression with atypical features — implies that your depressed feeling can improve with positive events. You may have other symptoms, too, like a bigger appetite, sleeping too long, feeling rejected or feeling like your limbs are heavy.
As with other kinds of depression, atypical depression carries similar markers: Changes in how you think, feel, and behave, physical and emotional problems, trouble handling regular day-to-day activities, and debating with yourself if life’s worth living.
SYMPTOMS OF ATYPICAL DEPRESSION
Did you know that many kinds of depression and mental health illnesses can be treated with traditional psychotherapy and newer treatment methods including ketamine infusion therapy?
Atypical depression is characterized by mood reactivity, but you also may experience two or more of:
- Increased appetite resulting in noticeable weight gain
- Sleeping too many hours
- You’re more sensitive and have intense reactions to criticism or rejection, leading to considerable social and work impairment
- These symptoms are distinct from what you might have with typical depression, but the mood of people suffering from typical depression usually doesn’t change, even when something positive happens.
- Some of the other symptoms linked to atypical depression include:
- Sadness or low mood for most of the day or nearly every day
- You no longer enjoy activities that were once pleasurable
- You’ve noticed big changes in your appetite or weight
- You have sleep issues and either sleep too much or not enough
- Other people notice you appear rundown or appear restless
- You have low energy or fatigue nearly every day
- Every day includes feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, or excessive guilt
- You have trouble making decisions and can’t focus
- You’re preoccupied with notions of death and suicidal thoughts
WHAT ARE YOUR RISK FACTORS FOR DEPRESSION?
Scientific and medical research has taught us a lot about mental health disorders, and even though there isn’t a definitive cause, we’ve identified several factors which may trigger depression:
- You suffer from extreme dependency, low self-esteem, and pessimism and are overly critical of yourself
- You’ve experienced trauma, like physical or sexual abuse, passing of a loved one, bad relationships, or financial problems
- Blood relatives with a history of mental health disorders, alcoholism, or suicide
- Your sexual orientation or gender identification is not positively accepted by family, friends, or co-workers
- You have a history of mental disorders, including an anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, eating disorder, or other mental health illnesses
- You abuse drugs or alcohol
- You have a serious chronic illness like cancer or heart disease
- Use of prescription drugs for high blood pressure or sleeping disorders. Warning: Talk to your doctor before you use or stop taking any medication
CAUSES OF DEPRESSION
We don’t know what causes atypical depression or why different features of depression show up in some people. Atypical depression normally begins in the teen years, sooner than other kinds of depression, and can follow a more long-term or chronic path.
Researchers try and identify causes by looking for a combination of factors like chemical imbalances and inherited traits from blood relatives. Even though neurotransmitters are chemicals, they act as signal carriers in the brain, transmitting data to other regions of your body and brain. When they work poorly, nerve receptors and nerve systems function start to change, causing depression.
DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT
Diagnosis of atypical depression or any other normally involves:
- A physical exam to eliminate or connect depression to an existing medical condition.
- Undergoing blood tests or other procedures to see how your thyroid or other organs are functioning.
- A questionnaire and psychiatric evaluation to discuss your thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and symptoms.
- Reviewing criteria established by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).
- Following a psychological and medical evaluation, your doctor could recommend treatment if you’re clinically diagnosed with atypical depression. Therapy like self-help, hospitalization, psychotherapy, and the use of an innovative new treatment using ketamine may be discussed.
- Ketamine is administered via infusion therapy and has been shown to be effective to help relieve common depression symptoms.
Mental health disorders like depression are treatable with psychotherapy and drugs such as ketamine, but managing the symptoms depends on recognizing them and getting medical care. If you think you’re experiencing atypical depression, get help as soon as you can. If you or a loved one have questions about the clinical use of ketamine to help treat the symptoms of depression we can help. Contact us today.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly a third of Americans have reported symptoms of depression since April – coinciding, of course, with the onset of COVID-19. But help is available.
ARE YOU DEPRESSED?
Your spouse says you might be depressed or a little on edge. Your co-worker, during a department meeting via Zoom, told you to “snap out of it.” But if you don’t know what depression is, how can you “snap out of it” without help?
The U.S. National Institutes of Health offers this succinct definition:
“Depression (major depressive disorder or clinical depression) is a common but serious mood disorder. It causes severe symptoms that affect how you feel, think, and handle daily activities, such as sleeping, eating, or working. To be diagnosed with depression, the symptoms must be present for at least two weeks.”
HOW TO NOT BE DEPRESSED
If they’re not treated, symptoms of depression can be life-threatening, especially if they lead to physical health problems or even thoughts of suicide. Sadness and worry can pass on their own, but if they don’t, you may need professional help. Here are steps you can take on your own to not be depressed; some may work, others not so much – the point is trying.
Exercising regularly is a great way to tweak your mental health for the better. The Mayo Clinic says exercise is helpful in many ways:
- Raises body temperature and calms the central nervous system.
- Boosts positive moods by releasing chemicals like endorphins.
- Restricts immune system chemicals that contribute to depression.
Dial back on social media
Cut back on your social media time for your own benefit:
- Disable automatic mobile phone notifications of new Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram posts.
- If you see a news item in a feed that interests you, never automatically assume it’s the truth.
- Verify what you’re reading through multiple, respectable sources.
- Avoid engaging in “spirited discussions” with online trolls.
Build a routine
- Put an X through the current date on the calendar when you go to bed. Recognize the passage of time, so it doesn’t seem endless.
- Try and go to bed at the same time every night.
- Eat meals with the family.
- Practice good personal hygiene habits.
Foster strong relationships
Stay connected with friends and family. Organize a virtual game night, or have lunch with a co-worker while practicing social distancing.
Don’t avoid the great outdoors
Physical distancing guidelines recommend staying home and keeping at least 6 feet of distance from other people, but that doesn’t mean you can’t go outside near your home. That’s good news, because natural sunlight is known to reduce symptoms associated with seasonal affective disorder or just the “blues” from being cooped up so long.
Simplify your daily choices
Little things can reduce stress levels:
- Learn to make faster decisions.
- Cut back on the volume of weekly decisions by preparing the week before. Try meal planning, or deciding which outfits you want to wear in advance.
Do something that makes you happy
Some people are happy with alone time – or at least they were pre-pandemic. Now, we’re all chomping at the bit to get outdoors, go to a restaurant or movie theatre, or just go shopping. We may not be able to do those things, yet, but you can still do things to make yourself happy and fight off depression:
- Try DIY painting, sewing, or building projects.
- Buy a new house plant.
- Try a new cake recipe and add lavish decorations.
- Buy an old fashioned crossword puzzle book.
Take little steps to reduce the stress in your life and, as a result, toss depression into the trash. Avoid over-commitment, practice meditation, be willing to let go of things you can’t control.
Respect where you live
Maybe the pandemic dashed your hopes or plans to move into a new home or relocate to another city for a new job, but that doesn’t mean you should let your current home go to pot. Clutter is a known stressor. Tidy up around your house each week, maintain yard chores, finally commit to that small home improvement goal you’ve had for years but never had time to work on – until now.
Depression, even in the midst of a global pandemic, doesn’t have to be a life sentence and isn’t anything to be ashamed about. It’s a mental health disorder that affects millions, regardless of gender or other socioeconomic factors. If you or a loved one are depressed, get help. Talk to a doctor or contact us today to learn more about treatment options, which may include psychotherapy or innovative new treatments like ketamine infusion therapy.