If you or a loved one suffers from depression, there may be some comfort in knowing you’re not alone, and you’re not any different than the more than 17 million American adults who experience its symptoms every year. Finding a common bond – in symptoms and understanding that mental health disorders aren’t a death sentence – can be a source of strength. Managing depression requires knowledge, resources, and a commitment to finding treatment appropriate for your symptoms.
WHAT IS DEPRESSION?
Depression (major depressive disorder) is a widespread and significant medical illness that adversely affects your feelings, how you act, and the way you think. Fortunately, it can be treated. Depression triggers feelings of sorrow and/or less interest in activities you once found enjoyable. It can lead to a range of physical and emotional troubles and can lessen a person’s ability to perform at home and at work. Depression symptoms can fluctuate from mild to acute.
- Anxious distress includes unusual restlessness or worries about possible events or loss of control
- Mixed features of depression and mania
- Melancholic features showing a lack of reaction to something that brought pleasure; associated with early morning waking, changes in hunger, feelings of agitation, guilt, sluggishness
- Atypical features temporary cheerfulness caused by happy events, bigger appetite, excessive need for sleep, sensitivity to rebuff, intense feeling in limbs
- Psychotic features include hallucinations or delusions, sometimes involving personal inadequacy or bad themes
- Catatonia is depression which includes uncontrollable and purposeless motor activity and fixed and rigid posture
- Peripartum onset depression happens during pregnancy or in the weeks or months after delivery
- Seasonal pattern depression is linked to shifts in seasons and diminished contact to sunlight
WHAT ELSE MAY CAUSE DEPRESSION?
There are numerous other disorders with symptoms similar to those of depression, including:
- Bipolar I and II include mood variances ranging from mania to depression.
- Cyclothymic disorder involving lows and highs that are weaker than those of bipolar disorders.
- Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder in children includes persistent, extreme irritability, anger with repeated severe temper outbursts, and worsens in teen years and adulthood.
- Persistent depressive disorder is a mild but more persistent kind of depression.
- Premenstrual dysphoric disorder involving symptoms associated with hormone changes beginning a week before and lessening a few days after a female’s menstrual period.
- Other depression disorders.
HOW DEPRESSION IS DIAGNOSED
Your doctor may arrive at a diagnosis based upon:
- Physical exam and asking questions about your wellbeing. In certain cases, depression can be linked to a physical health issue.
- Lab tests like a blood test called a “complete blood count” or testing your thyroid to make certain it’s working properly.
- Psychiatric evaluation with questions related to thoughts, symptoms, feelings, behavior patterns. You could be asked to complete a questionnaire to assist in the diagnosis.
- DSM-5. Your doctor or therapist could use the benchmarks for depression in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), from the American Psychiatric Association.
DOES THE DOCTOR LOOK FOR SOMETHING SPECIFIC?
To make an accurate diagnosis, your doctor will eliminate conditions, illness, injury which might be the cause, and he or she will look for any of the following:
- Sorrow or low mood much of the day
- Loss of pleasure in things that were formerly enjoyable
- Significant fluctuation in weight (increase or loss of greater than 5% of weight during any month) or appetite
- Sleeplessness or extreme sleep
- Physical agitation, sense of being shabby visible to others
- Exhaustion, loss of energy
- Feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, extreme guilt
- Troubles with concentration and making choices
- Persistent thoughts of suicide, death, suicide plans or suicide attempts
QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR DOCTOR ABOUT DEPRESSION
- What kind of depression do I have?
- Should my depression be handled with psychotherapy, medicines, or both?
- Could my depression result in physical pain?
- Is it possible that other health conditions could add to my symptoms of depression?
- Do the symptoms need special care?
- How long will my depression last?
Treatment normally depends on the type, severity, frequency of the symptoms, mental and physical wellbeing, family history, and other factors. Your doctor or therapist could recommend ketamine infusion therapy to help manage symptoms, but you must educate yourself before deciding on medicine or psychotherapy care methods.
Depression is a treatable mental illness affecting millions but can be difficult to diagnose. For immediate help, contact a doctor or therapist about the benefits of medicine like ketamine, the success rate of psychotherapy, and other treatment options. Help resources: NAMI, WebMD, and the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.
If you or a loved have questions about the clinical use of ketamine we can help. Contact us today to learn more about the benefits of ketamine infusion therapy.