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.
SYMPTOMS OF DEPRESSION
Symptoms of depression occur in everyday life, which might explain why they’re easily ignored. People assume sadness or other bad feelings are caused by a rough day at home, school, or work, but if they persist, they could be signs of a serious mental health issue. Watch out for prolonged episodes of sadness, anxiety, helplessness, low energy, you move or talk slowly, have trouble concentrating, can’t sleep, or experience weight changes with poor eating habits.
HOW TO DIAGNOSE DEPRESSION
To get treatment for depression, you first need to be diagnosed and undergo a mental health assessment. According to Michigan Medicine:
“A mental health assessment gives your doctor a complete picture of your emotional state. It also looks at how well you are able to think, reason, and remember (cognitive functioning). Your doctor will ask you questions and examine you. You might answer some of the doctor’s questions in writing. Your doctor will take note of how you look as well as your mood, behavior, thinking, reasoning, memory, and how well you can express yourself.”
- Why It’s Done: A mental health evaluation, for the purpose of diagnosis, has four goals: Discover and check on mental health problems like anxiety, schizophrenia, and others; understand the difference between physical health issues and mental health problems; check on someone who’s been referred to mental healthcare due to trouble at home, school, work, or elsewhere, and to decide if someone has a learning disability or other disorder; and, finally, to check on the mental health of someone in the hospital or who’s been arrested for a crime.
- How To Prepare: Children, adolescents, and adults may be asked to jot down their feelings and emotions for a few days leading up to the exam or be asked to be accompanied by a family member or other responsible party. It’s important to talk to your doctor about your concerns, the medicine you’re taking, and your personal and family history of mental illness.
- How It’s Done: You’ll undergo a physical exam, a mental health questionnaire, and can expect to have lab tests or diagnostic procedures, like an MRI or CT-scan. You may also have written or verbal tests to look for specific problems or conditions, to determine thinking and reasoning skills, and how you perform simple tasks. The whole process could take anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours.
- How It Feels: You could feel resentful, angry, hostile, or confused afterward, but those are normal reactions.
- Possible Risks: The most significant one being if your doctor or therapist can’t find the cause of your symptoms.
- What The Results Look Like: The assessment can help uncover physical or mental health problems, development issues, a history of substance or physical abuse, a nervous system disease, or other problems.
- The diagnosis could be affected if you don’t trust or can’t work with your doctor, have existing physical or emotional problems, are taking prescription or illegal drugs, are using alcohol, or have problems reading, writing, or there are other communication issues.
For decades, the go-to treatment for mental health issues has been some form of psychotherapy, medicine, or a combination of both. A doctor or therapist may prescribe exercise, diet, or lifestyle changes, but an option besides the traditional methods is ketamine or other similar medicines with psychotropic properties. Children and adolescents have been known to benefit from psychotherapy, which is the preferred treatment option, though a doctor or therapist may also prescribe an anti-depressant medicine.
WHAT ABOUT KETAMINE?
As previously mentioned, medical professionals have begun administering ketamine in controlled doses for symptoms of mental health disorders like depression, chronic pain, and other conditions which haven’t responded to conventional treatment.
Depression, if left untreated, can lead to more severe mental health issues. Its symptoms shouldn’t be ignored, but they can be treated as long as you recognize the symptoms and get help.If you or a loved one have questions about the clinical use of ketamine we can help. Contact us today to learn more or schedule a free consultation.