Everybody suffers from “the blues” or has a bad day because of a conflict with a loved one or friend, but if low moods, anger, or changes in appetite or weight happen every day, all day, for two or more weeks, you may be experiencing the first signs of depression.
WHAT IS DEPRESSION?
According to the American Psychiatric Association literature, “Depression (major depressive disorder) is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. Fortunately, it is also treatable. Depression causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease your ability to function at work and at home.”
IS DEPRESSION A DISABILITY?
Many people consider depression a disability, and if you’ve had relationship issues because of it or had trouble at work or school, you can understand why. The World Health Organization estimates almost 300 million people worldwide suffer from depression and call it a leading source of disability. If you’re a U.S. adult suffering from depression, you may qualify for benefits through the Social Security Administration, though the burden of proof may be an uphill climb.
RISKS OF DEPRESSION
Depression is a leading mental disorder in America. Research suggests that it’s caused by a combination of biological, environmental, genetic, and psychological influences.
Depression mostly begins in adulthood but can strike at any age. It’s now recognized as happening in children and adolescents, with symptoms often mirroring those of signs of high-level anxiety. Risk factors may include:
- Family or personal history of depression
- Big life changes, stress, or trauma
- Certain medications and physical illnesses
5 KEY SYMPTOMS OF DEPRESSION
There are many warning signs of depression to watch for. If you’ve been experiencing any of the following symptoms much of the day, nearly every day, for two weeks or longer, you may be suffering from depression:
- Continual sadness, anxiety, or low moods
- Lack of pleasure or interest in activities and hobbies
- Feelings of guilt, helplessness, or worthlessness
- Trouble concentrating, making decisions, or remembering
- Preoccupied with suicide or death, or suicide attempts
Like other mental illnesses, depression is unique to every person who suffers from it. As such, different people experience various symptoms, which may also include:
- Pessimism, or feelings of hopelessness
- Fatigue or low energy
- Moving or talking more deliberately
- Having problems sitting still or feeling restless
- Problems sleeping, early-morning waking, or oversleeping
- Changes with appetite or weight
- Aches or pains, cramps, headaches, or intestinal problems absent a precise physical cause and/or discomfort that doesn’t subside even with treatment
But not everyone suffering from depression experiences all of the symptoms mentioned above. Some people have only a few symptoms while someone else may experience many. Several ongoing symptoms, such as low mood, are required to be diagnosed with major depression, but a person with only a few – but upsetting – symptoms may be experiencing “subsyndromal” depression. The frequency and severity of symptoms and their duration will vary based on the individual’s particular illness. Symptoms can also differ based on the phase of the illness.
Many depression symptoms can be managed with treatments like ketamine.
HOW TO DIAGNOSE DEPRESSION
If you believe you’re depressed, you have to get diagnosed before you start therapy. Many kinds of medical professionals can diagnose mental illness, including doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, and certain other licensed medical professionals. Diagnosis typically requires a complete medical exam to uncover a potential medical problem, and a psychiatric evaluation to delve into personal and family history of mental illness. Symptoms are usually compared to criteria in the DSM-5 before a final diagnosis is made.
Once diagnosed, your doctor or clinician may recommend different kinds of treatment to help manage depression symptoms. The first option is normally talk therapy or psychotherapy, which is sometimes paired with prescription medication depending on the severity of the symptoms and how long you’ve been ill. Another option? Ketamine therapy.
DOES KETAMINE WORK?
Originally launched as a pre-surgical anesthetic, ketamine has since become a popular option for treating symptoms of mental illness, chronic pain, and other conditions which failed to respond to conventional therapy. In fact, a nasal spray based on ketamine received U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval in 2019 to treat depression symptoms.
Depression is a serious mental ailment that can be debilitating if its symptoms are ignored. Everyone experiences its warning signs differently, which is why it’s so important to see a doctor or clinician with experience diagnosing mental illness. If you suffer from depression, contact us today to learn more about the innovative options offered by our clinic.