Depression doesn’t look the same in everyone

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Our program of innovative ketamine therapy can help bring about that crucial breakthrough you need in your path towards overall wellness.

Clinical Definition

What is Depression?

Everyone feels down from time to time but these feelings tend to subside in most people. Depression, medically defined as a mood disorder, differs from momentary feelings of sadness based on its heightened frequency and extended duration. Its chronic symptoms are also far more severe and may affect multiple facets of one’s life including but not limited to cognition, motivation, attitude, diet, energy, approaching responsibilities, and simply just getting through the day.

Depression knows no demographic bounds and can affect anyone including those who suffer from other types of illnesses. Depression is a tremendously difficult and intricate illness to grapple with but it is treatable and seeking out help is the first step in taming its symptoms.

  • Major Depressive Disorder

    Includes symptoms of depression most of the time for at least 2 weeks that typically interfere with one’s ability to work, sleep, study, and eat.

  • Persistent Depressive Disorder

    Includes less severe symptoms of depression that last much longer, typically for at least 2 years.

  • Seasonal Affective Disorder

    A less common form of depression that takes hold in fall and winter and fades away in the spring and summer months.

In 2017, the NIMH shared prevalence data from a major survey that reported over 17 million American adults (7.1% of all U.S. adults) who suffered from at least one major depressive episode.

Mental Health America, 2020 Access To Care Data Report

Get help with depression
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Signs & Symptoms

  • Loss of interest or pleasure
  • Long-lasting feeling of sadness, apathy, or hopelessness
  • Chronic fatigue or dwindling energy levels
  • Feelings of low self-worth, self-esteem, or failure
  • Paralyzation in motivation, decision making, or concentration
  • Oversleeping or restlessness
  • Overeating or drastic changes in appetite
  • Thoughts of self-harm

Ketamine: A New Hope in Depression Treatment

At low, therapeutic doses, ketamine produces shifts in consciousness that can help neurons rebuild lost connections allowing individuals to view their own patterned behavior with renewed clarity, broaden awareness, and suppress networks in the brain responsible for producing persistent and obstructive thoughts.

Backed by Evidence

The well-known “Yale Protocol” laid the groundwork for demonstrating the healing power that ketamine possesses in relieving major symptoms of depression and anxiety. Over the past decade, ketamine’s popularity and profile have risen through national spotlights driven by studies that examine its ability to treat depression.

Our Program

Tripsitter Clinic’s physician-directed, therapeutic ketamine program can help bring about that crucial breakthrough that is essential to setting you on an upward path of progress. Ketamine therapy has been an especially powerful clinical tool in providing immediate and sustained relief for those with treatment-resistant depression, defined as an inadequate response to at least one antidepressant medication.

For those who respond to ketamine therapy, treatment has been shown to rapidly reduce severe symptoms of depression compared to a host of traditional and alternative treatments (antidepressant medications, talk therapy, electroconvulsive therapy), which can take weeks or months before demonstrating any efficacy.

Striving Towards Overall Wellness

Every patient has a unique relationship to their depression and thus, must work with their primary care physician to arrive at the right mix of treatments in order to curb the symptoms of severe depression and set forth on a path towards overall wellness. As you embark on your treatment plan with Tripsitter Clinic, a licensed physician will evaluate your medical history, current medications you are taking, your struggle with depression, and discuss your goals for treatment.

If you or someone you know is in immediate distress or is thinking about hurting themselves, call or text the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline toll-free: Call:1-800-273-TALK (8255) Text: HELLO to 741741

Further Reading:

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), there are just over 17 million Americans that have experienced at least one major depressive episode. That is approximately 7% of all American adults.

Mental health data reveals that women are at a slightly higher risk for a major depressive episode compared to men. Approximately 9% of women have experienced severe depression, while only 5% of adult men have been diagnosed with it.

Depression can touch every aspect of your life. From your ability to focus and concentrate to employability. Personal relationships are also greatly impacted by depression because of some of the dissociative behaviors. And the debilitating symptoms of depression can last for years.

Some patients may have given up hope that they can reduce the symptoms of depression. But new treatments available with psychedelic medications are creating more options for patients with treatment-resistant depression. Intranasal and oral ketamine [1] treatments can be safely done at home. 

What Causes Depression?

Depression is a clinical mental health condition that can be caused by emotional or physical trauma. In a small number of cases, patients that experience a major illness can develop depression. It may be triggered by a health problem or sometimes by a chemical imbalance caused by prescription medication.

About 30% of people who have a substance abuse problem have clinical depression. Most often, people struggling with addiction have major depressive episodes. That is a debilitating and severe level of depression that does not respond to conventional medical treatments.

Clinical depression can be caused by:

1. Physical or Emotional Abuse

Some studies suggest that adults who experience sexual, physical, or emotional abuse early in life may have a higher risk of developing depression. There is a strong correlation between adults with major depressive disorders and victimization in early childhood.

2. Loss of a Loved One

The death of someone we love causes grief. But grief is more than just an emotional response to loss. It creates a number of physiological changes in the body, including natural hormones. Researchers believe that bereavement can trigger clinical depression [2] in some patients.

A strong emotional state can also be caused by leaving a family. Or when an individual has become estranged from their family and unwelcome. Social isolation and rejection from family can feel very much like a bereavement.

3. Heredity and Genetics

Do you have a history of diagnosed depression in your family? Sometimes, when looking at hereditary factors, it may seem like you have no family members with a history of depression. But in some cases, people can have depression for years, or even decades, and not know it.

There are online surveys that can help identify if someone has symptoms of depression. Or they can take a survey at their next doctor’s appointment. However, a self-survey should never replace testing and diagnosis by a mental health professional. But it can give you an idea if your parents or siblings want to participate.

4. Major or Disruptive Life Event

You lose your job, and suddenly you are in a situation that is highly uncertain and stressful. Or your spouse has asked for a divorce. These are two common examples of stressors that can cause major disruption to your mental health.

A major or disruptive life event doesn’t have to be a bad thing, to cause symptoms of depression. Moving to a new city could be a great thing, but may cause a lot of stress over a prolonged period of time. Even happy life events that are overwhelming can increase the risk of developing depression and grief because of the impact of extreme emotions on the brain and body chemistry.

5. Conflicts and Emotional Stress

Do you have a relationship in your life that is a constant cause of stress or anger? A volatile relationship with a spouse, sibling, parent, child, or friend may cause depression. There are many clinical studies that suggest any period of extreme chronic stress may cause symptoms of depression. Or alter the natural chemical balance in the brain.

6. Substance Abuse

We all experience periods of high and happy moods and low periods when we can experience some of the symptoms of depression. Clinical depression is more than just a change in mood, however. The worst symptoms of depression can last for months and sometimes even years.

Coping with depression means working with your physician and a mental health expert. Once you have a treatment plan, you can start to experiment with different treatments. But when someone has not been diagnosed with depression, they may try to cope with the symptoms by self-medicating with alcohol or recreational drugs.

With clinical depression and substance abuse, it can be a vicious circle. Depression can encourage substance abuse when patients are not able to get relief from their symptoms. But certain drugs and alcohol can also cause depression.

Substances can temporarily numb some of the symptoms of depression but can also make clinical depression worse. Substance abuse combined with clinical or treatment-resistant depression [3] can also increase the risk of self-harm or suicidal thoughts and behaviors.

7. Serious Illness

If you are diagnosed with chronic pain or a permanent health disorder, the news can be very upsetting. Some people have chronic diseases that impact every aspect of their life. And constantly coping with the symptoms of the disease can take a mental toll.

Patients with chronic illnesses can feel tired of coping with the symptoms. Especially after exhausting all the treatment options and not getting relief from their symptoms. People who have debilitating chronic or long-term diseases have a higher risk of developing clinical depression.

A physician can administer tests and interview the patient about current symptoms. Those two methods are used to identify if an individual has clinical depression. Or if the feelings of depression are temporary or transient and will go away after a stressful period is over for the patient.

What are Common Depression Symptoms?

Someone diagnosed with depression may have all of the classic symptoms of the mental health condition. Or they may have only one or two. A chemical imbalance causes depression in the brain. Therefore, the symptoms are not predictable and can vary depending on the patient.

There are some signs that may indicate you are suffering from depression. The classic symptoms of clinical depression are:

  • Feelings of worthlessness and guilt

  • Insomnia

  • Persistently feeling tired or fatigue

  • Feelings of restlessness

  • Irritability or crankiness

  • Problems with focus and concentration

  • A prevailing sense of pessimism and hopelessness

  • General aches and pains that do not go away

  • Digest upset

  • Eating too much (or not enough)

  • Feelings of sadness or emptiness

  • Suicidal thoughts (ideation)

  • Self-harm (injury to self, drug abuse, lack of self-care, and more)

One of the first questions a physician may ask you is about the frequency of your symptoms. How often you experience one or more symptoms of depression can help determine the severity. If the patient has had depression for a short time, but the symptoms have worsened, it may be diagnosed as a major depressive episode.

One of the biggest misconceptions people have about depression is thinking that the condition will naturally disappear. Clinical depression doesn’t disappear after it has been diagnosed. And symptoms can get worse. Ignoring the symptoms and not managing them can cause other health complications.

Can you Cure Depression?

There is no cure for depression. The goal for every physician treating a patient with depression is to help reduce the severity and frequency of the symptoms. Once the doctor has discovered what medications and lifestyle changes work, the next step is to continue therapy with the hope of remission of symptoms.

Nothing can make depression go away. But the right therapies can help the brain restore normal functioning and reduce how often symptoms occur. However, even if a patient achieves remission of their depression, some symptoms may still occur.

What Medical Treatments Are Used to Help with Symptoms of Depression?

Physicians who treat patients have a number of different approaches. The therapies that the patient receives depend largely on the severity of the symptoms of depression. Doctors create a depression treatment plan for the patient. And prescribes different psychotropic medications and antidepressants.

In addition to prescription medications, a psychotherapist may be used to provide one of three types of therapies used for treating depression:

1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

This type of psychotherapy is also called CBT. Cognitive-behavioral therapy tries to help the patient identify negative narratives and thoughts. Then, the therapist teaches patients how to change the self-narrative to a positive and healthy one.

2. Interpersonal Therapy

When a patient is referred for Interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT), it becomes about learning internal management skills. Once a patient understands that they have clinical depression, they can start to see themselves in a new light.

There is nothing wrong with someone who has depression; it is a health condition. And with the right treatment plan, patients can reduce the severity of depression symptoms. Interpersonal therapy helps people with depression to learn how to have better relationships with others and with themselves.

3. Psychodynamic Therapy

This type of therapy involves digging down into the patient’s memories to determine the roots of the trauma. Whether it was one traumatic event or several over the course of years, psychodynamic therapy dives into the psychology of ego and self-psychology (or self-programming).

One of the other beneficial things that psychodynamic therapy provides is understanding the impact of depression on the patient’s life. It draws a line through the connecting events, symptoms, and learned behaviors. This helps show causation or demonstrate the cost of depression on lifestyle, career, finances, and social relationships.

What are the Best Psychedelic Drugs for Depression?

Patients are learning more about psychedelic drugs for depression because many psychotropic prescription medications don’t work. Or patients can experience cascading side effects from taking multiple medications.

Some people who have been diagnosed with depression have been told there are no other treatments they can try. When all prescription medications and therapies have been exhausted, the patient is diagnosed with treatment-resistant depression.

Psychedelic medications like ketamine and psilocybin (mushrooms) are a new frontier of treatment. In several studies, people with mental health disorders responded better to psychedelic medications.

And in ketamine studies, patients were found to improve brain plasticity quickly. One of the causes and symptoms of depression is a build-up of proteins in the brain. This happens when the body is exposed to high levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

Ketamine helps to repair the damage from free radicals and extra proteins. Ketamine has also been used by hospitals and first responders to suicide [4] calls. It's fast-acting and can be more effective than anti-anxiety medications or anti-depressants.

Some doctors have shared that ketamine can take a person out of a suicidal or self-harm mode quickly. So, it is a valuable emergency intervention. The effects of reduced stress, relaxation, and relief from symptoms of depression can also last for weeks after treatment.

Who Can’t Get a Ketamine Treatment?

Doctors will generally not prescribe ketamine for patients that have an active psychosis, schizophrenia, or individuals who experience manic episodes regularly. Ketamine is also not recommended for patients who have heart problems. Ketamine is also not recommended for therapeutic use on minors.

Can I See a Doctor Online for Depression?

Whether you have a new diagnosis of depression or you have been struggling with clinical depression for years, there is help. Ketamine therapies can help reduce symptoms of depression like fatigue, feelings of low mood or sadness, insomnia, appetite loss, and more.

A physician can provide a telemedicine appointment for you. In some cases, if the patient prefers, an in-office visit can be scheduled. The physician will review your health history, diagnosis, and symptoms. If the doctor feels that ketamine treatments could provide effective symptom relief, the physician will prescribe your ketamine.

Low-dose ketamine treatments are safe for the majority of individuals. Those with a history of psychosis or schizophrenia, however, are a poor fit for this particular therapy due to well-documented medical contraindications and will not be approved for treatment during the screening process.

Sources

[1]Oral Ketamine in Treatment-Resistant Depression, “U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, 2021. 

[2] “The Ketamine Antidepressant Story: New Insights,” U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, 2021.

[3] “The Role of Ketamine in Treatment-Resistant Depression: A Systematic Review,” U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, 2021.

[4] “Mortality and Suicide Risk in Treatment-Resistant Depression: An Observational Study of the Long-Term Impact of Intervention,” Plos One, 2021.