Depression

I’m Depressed – Does That Mean I Have A Disablility?

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
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Stroke
  • Heart disease
  • Chronic pain, fibromyalgia
  • Hormone
  • HIV
  • Postpartum depression
  • Cancer

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:

  • ADHD
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Adjustment disorder
  • Eating disorders
  • Panic and other anxiety disorders
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder
  • Borderline personality disorder

FINAL THOUGHTS

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.

Depression

Do I Have Atypical Depression?

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.

CONCLUSION

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.

Depression

Ways To Decrease Depression Naturally

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.

Exercise regularly

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.

Banish stress

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.

FINAL THOUGHTS

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.

Anxiety

Anxiety In Kids

Anxiety in children is often difficult to diagnose because the symptoms overlap with other illnesses, but progress is being made. While millions of kids 17 and younger suffer from anxiety, research continues into evaluating traditional therapy and medication, and the efficacy of newer treatment options including the use of ketamine infusion therapy.

THE SCOPE OF THE PROBLEM

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • About 4.4 million children aged 3-17 years have diagnosed anxiety.
  • About 1.9 million children aged 3-17 years have diagnosed depression.
  • For children aged 6-17 years, the numbers who were diagnosed with either anxiety or depression went up from 5.4% in 2003 to 8.4% in 2011–2012. For those children diagnosed with just anxiety, the numbers increase from 5.5% in 2007 to 6.4% in 2011–2012.

ANXIETY IN KIDS AND THE ICEBERG ANALOGY

Doctors and therapists will often use the iceberg analogy when talking about anxiety in kids. Icebergs look beautiful floating in the ocean, their tips reflecting the sun. But what lies beneath the waterline is just as worrisome as whatever you see above it. In a child, anxiety is the tip; behaviors that

are below the waterline are accumulated layers of experiences and emotions:
Difficulty Sleeping

Anxiety and sleep trouble are like the chicken and the egg. Research indicates that anxiety can result in sleep disorders, and chronic sleep interruptions can manifest as anxiety. These are hallmarks of anxiety in
children.

Anger

Children who are anxious often perceive a potentially threatening situation as more dangerous than it really is, such as a test in school, or underestimate their own ability to cope with these situations. When kids are overly and chronically worried and feel ill-equipped to handle the anxiety, they feel helpless. Helplessness is an expressway to frustration, dead-ending at a roadblock called anger. Irritability, part of the anger family, shows up in anxious children.

Defiance

Children who suffer from anxiety often try to take back control for comfort and security, often in peculiar and unexpected ways. Because the child has trouble communicating what is happening, adults often misinterpret the situation as simple defiance – rather than an effort to manage a time where they feel helpless and anxious.

“Chandeliering”

This is an analogy for when an apparently calm person suddenly goes ballistic for no reason. But what has happened is the child has buried anxiety and hurt for so many months or years that a harmless comment or event unexpectedly sends them plowing through a metaphorical chandelier. Such tantrums demonstrate a child unable to communicate about their fear and they try to bury it instead.

No Focus

Lack of focus is sometimes misdiagnosed as a characteristic solely of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) but also appears in children with anxiety. That does not necessarily mean the child has ADHD. Rather, the conditions have overlapping symptoms. Kids experiencing anxiety often get preoccupied with their own feelings that they cannot recognize what is happening around them.

Avoidance

Kids who try to avoid a person, place or task usually end up dealing with more of whatever they wanted to avoid, like school work or chores around the house. They will have wasted time and energy on avoidance, making it the driver of bigger anxiety than before.

Negativity

Kids with anxiety often express negative thoughts more frequently than positive ones. Because of this, negative thoughts take root faster and easier than positive thoughts, making a child suffering anxiety appear like a downer most of the time. Children suffering anxiety are susceptible to these patterns because they are not mature enough to see a negative thought for its true meaning and reverse it by engaging in upbeat self-talk.

Overplanning

Some children express anxiety by trying to take control through defiance, while others fall victim to overplanning for an event where planning is unnecessary or minimal.

TREATING ANXIETY IN CHILDREN

The first step in recovery is to converse with a healthcare professional, such as the child’s primary care doctor or a licensed pediatric therapist, about obtaining an evaluation. Some of the symptoms and signs of depression or anxiety in kids may be created by other conditions, like trauma. Treatment for children normally involves regular psychotherapy sessions, but ketamine infusion therapy has also shown promise for reducing symptoms of anxiety in young children and teen patients.

Like any medication or form of treatment you want to do your own research and speak with a trusted provider on the possible benefits. It’s never a one size fits all approach when you’re treating the symptoms of a mood disorder like anxiety.

CONCLUSION

If you suspect your child is suffering from anxiety, call your primary care doctor immediately for a consultation. Treatment may include psychotherapy, medication, or possibly ketamine infusion therapy, but none of these options will work unless you take the initiative on your child’s behalf. The condition can be managed with prompt care and compassion.

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