Author William Styron famously called depression “the grey drizzle of unrelenting horror.” Sometimes it hits without warning, leaving you grappling with emotions you never worried about before. In most cases, such feelings will subside, but when they don’t and instead interfere with daily life, you may need help controlling the symptoms.
What is Depression?
“Depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. Also called major depressive disorder or clinical depression, it affects how you feel, think, and behave and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems. You may have trouble doing normal day-to-day activities, and sometimes you may feel as if life isn’t worth living.”
Millions of people experience depression. Though the exact cause is unknown, symptoms are treatable.
What Causes Depression?
- People with depression may have physical changes in their brains.
- The function of neurotransmitters in the brain and interaction with neural circuits critical to mood stability may be important.
- Hormonal imbalances can result in or trigger depression, like during or after pregnancy or other conditions.
- Depression may be an inherited condition.
Prevalence of Depression
- “An estimated 17.3 million adults in the United States had at least one major depressive episode. This number represented 7.1 percent of all U.S. adults.”
- The prevalence of major depressive disorder is higher among adult females (about 8.7 percent) compared to males (5.3 percent).
- The prevalence of people experiencing a major depressive episode was biggest among individuals 18- to 25-years old (13.1 percent).
- About 3.2 million adolescents 12- to 17-years old experience depression each year.
How to Stop Depression
Some people with depression reject traditional forms of treatment for spiritual, ethical, or other reasons, but there are ways to stop or reduce depression before its symptoms become dangerous which don’t involve medicine or psychotherapy:
- Maintain a social life
- Stay active with regular, even low-impact, exercise such as walking or stretching
- Confront your fears
- Stay away from alcohol, caffeine, tobacco
- Develop healthy eating and sleeping habits
- Have a routine and set small goals for yourself
Does Depression Go Away on its Own?
It can, but that depends on the kind of depression you’re experiencing and what caused it. For instance, seasonal affective disorder and postpartum depression have been known to go away on their own.
- Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. This is a type of depression that is well documented in the cold or winter months when there’s less natural sunlight and people are forced to spend several hours each day indoors. SAD is more than just the “winter blues,” with its psychological effects being severe and long-lasting. According to some research, about five percent of U.S. adults reported instances of seasonal affective disorder lasting about 40 percent of the year. It normally subsides, however, as the weather warms, and days become longer.
- Postpartum depression. A woman’s body and mind changes during pregnancy, and this type of depression may result in intense feelings of emptiness, sadness, and being emotionless before or after childbirth. If such feelings persist for two or more weeks, a woman may be experiencing depression and should get help. Normally, postpartum depression goes away on its own, but also has been observed in spouses, and other children and family members of the woman ready for or who’s already given birth.
The most important part of diagnosing depression is a mental health evaluation. During this exam, you’ll talk about behavior, feelings, thoughts, and personal and family history of mental illness. Before making a final diagnosis, your doctor will compare symptoms to depression criteria in the DSM-5. Diagnosis will inform your treatment.
If you’ve done any research, you know that treatment for depression – following a clinical diagnosis – normally involves psychotherapy of some kind. Depending on the severity of your symptoms and how long they’ve lasted, your doctor may recommend an antidepressant or other medicine, with both forms of treatment lasting several months.
How About Ketamine?
For the last two decades, Yale researchers have led ketamine studies by experimenting with subanesthetic doses of ketamine administered intravenously in regulated clinic settings for patients experiencing severe depression and whose condition hasn’t improved with typical antidepressant treatments. “The results have been dramatic: In several studies, more than half of participants show a significant decrease in depression symptoms after just 24 hours. These are patients who felt no meaningful improvement on other antidepressant medications.”
Depression can be sudden, mysterious, and painful. When it hits, it hits hard, but sometimes disappears on its own without a trace. If your depression lingers and interferes with daily life, the symptoms may only be manageable with professional help – some kind of psychotherapy and medicine, including ketamine.
An innovative new treatment option, ketamine started as a fast-acting anesthetic and pain reliever. Research in the last two decades has shown that Ketamine is a powerful new tool for the treatment of depression.
Ketamine works to stimulate the growth and regrowth of neurotransmitters in the brain, essentially rewriting the parts of the brain causing distress. Up to 70% of patients may be able to find relief from the symptoms of depression after a series of IV kKetamine infusions.
Contact us today to learn more about this innovative new treatment option.