Depression is a serious condition that plagues nearly 7 million adults in the United States alone.
However, despite its shockingly frequent occurrence, not many will describe their symptoms of depression similarly to anyone else’s. For some, being depressed means wading through a constant gray fog without excitement, while, for others, it means constantly having to wear a heavy blanket that prevents them from jumping with joy. These are two common descriptions of what depression feels like, but there are countless others, too.
Webster’s Dictionary defines depression more precisely as “a mood disorder marked especially by sadness, inactivity, difficulty in thinking and concentration, a significant increase or decrease in appetite and time spent sleeping, feelings of dejection and hopelessness, and sometimes suicidal tendencies.” Regardless of how it is described, though, what results is often the same: long periods of unenjoyable, non-descriptive, flat moods and experiences. It is equally incredible and unfortunate that so many people have to fight depression everyday in order to simply function.
Major Depression (MD) is commonly diagnosed when an individual experiences five or more specific symptoms for two weeks or longer. The symptoms of depression include:
Dramatic shifts in interest (especially with previously enjoyed activities)
Dramatic appetite changes (eating more or eating less)
Dramatic sleep changes (sleeping more or sleeping less)
Lack of energy & sluggish movement
Regular feelings of guilt
Long periods of low self-esteem
Dealing with these symptoms can be difficult, especially if life demands us to go “the extra mile.” For many, dealing with depression means smiling when they’re not actually happy, and participating in events that they don’t actually have the energy for. While this strategy may work for some, it is not a viable long-term solution. Eventually, the individual will hit a “brick wall” and be unable to continue. This can be especially devastating if it means losing a job or a loved one.
To make things worse, an incredible 40 million adults in the United States are both depressed and clinically anxious. In fact, nearly 50% of patients who are treated for their depression are also treated for anxiety that they cannot manage on their own. For the 40 million, this makes daily life an incredibly exhausting task.
Anxiety, like depression, also varies in its description. Some many have crippling anxiety about crossing roads, while others may have crippling anxiety over talking to the cashier in a check-out line at a store. What remains the same, though, is that these emotions can manifest into painful and destructive behaviors and thought patterns. In many cases, anxiety is so severe that it prevents people from attempting or approaching everyday scenarios. As a result, this leads to a severely compromised life that is restricted by unrealistic interpretations of the environment.
When a person is diagnosed with general anxiety disorder (GAD), they typically experience the following symptoms for six months or more:
Excessive worry for extended periods
Restlessness during times of rest
Easy to fatigue when physical activity is involved
Inability to concentrate for extended periods of time
Trouble falling asleep & staying asleep
Just like any other serious illness, it is important to treat these conditions at the first sign of distress. Thankfully, once treatment begins, the process is quite simple and painless. Through regular psychotherapy, an individual can learn how to effectively break their troubles down into realistic and actionable pieces that they can overcome. Meanwhile, by taking a daily dose of an antidepressant, their available serotonin levels slowly increase. This chemical is believed to be responsible for regulating and maintaining a positive mood.
This combination has been the tried-and-true treatment for depression for decades. However, there are certain circumstances when this is still not enough. In these cases, supplementing therapy and traditional antidepressants with newer solutions, like ketamine infusions, is quite effective. Ketamine for depression generates rapid relief in the short-term, as well as long-term relief of anxiety and depressive symptoms.
In addition to the symptoms listed above, there are certainly other symptoms that may manifest in an individual suffering from MD or GAD. However, as a guideline, this may offer some insight and direction for those who wish to seek out treatment for their anxiety or depression. Regardless of the circumstances, it is important to remain persistent and, eventually, some combination of medication and talk therapy will work. Just be patient, ask your doctor about alternative treatment options, and keep trying.
At Renew Ketamine, we have seen our patients flourish with the rapid, long-lasting relief provided by ketamine infusions. Ketamine gives these patients a chance to see what life is like outside of their depressive symptoms. We would love to do the same for you or your loved ones. Please request a free consultation at our Chicagoland ketamine clinic by calling our office or completing the brief form below.