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.