Depression is a sometimes-debilitating mood disorder affecting almost 300 million people worldwide. Clinical research indicates it starts in adolescents as young as 12 and persists well into adulthood. It affects males and females and has no known cure. Its economic impact is documented, with more than 80% of adults in the U.S. reporting work-related depression. According to Scientific American, the economic impact of depression was estimated at more than $200 million in 2015 and has likely spiked since then. It’s a disorder that leads to more worrisome concerns, including fluctuating weight, thoughts of suicide, withdrawing from society, and many others.
Signs of Depression
People suffering from depression often miss the signs, attributing sadness to memories of deceased relatives, or a low mood to a rough day at work. But the National Institute of Mental Health points to signs that shouldn’t be ignored:
- Feelings of emptiness or sadness that won’t go away or being anxious for no reason.
- Instead of seeing hope, you focus on despair; instead of optimism, pessimism.
- You are easily irritated.
- You feel helpless, worthless, and take on personal guilt for events beyond your control.
- You’ve lost interest in hobbies and activities you once looked forward to.
- You have low energy or become fatigued.
- Your speech slows, and your body movements seem glacial in their pace.
- You can’t sit still or are restless frequently.
- Decisions are hard to arrive at, and you can’t concentrate or easily forget things, people, or places.
- Quality sleep is a distant memory, as you oversleep or don’t get enough restful hours.
- Your diet or appetite has changed, leading to weight gains or losses.
- You are preoccupied with thinking of death or have suicidal thoughts.
- You suffer from unexplainable aches or pains, cramps, headaches, or stomach problems but have yet to rule out demonic possession or food poisoning.
Do I Have Depression?
Loved ones mean well, but when they offer an opinion on your state of mind, they often want to avoid hurting your feelings and may not be honest with their appraisal. If you’ve experienced any of the signs described above for more than two weeks, then you may be depressed.
Coping with Symptoms
A key activity in beating depression is coping with the systems. Here are tips which may help:
- Put on your detective hat and track down a support network. This could be family members and other loved ones to lean on when you need help. Build and maintain personal ties, offering ears to listen to someone else who may be feeling down. Support is a two-way highway.
- Work to remove stressors. Understand that imperfections are part of the human condition. Learn to pace yourself when it comes to making promises to someone else, either personally or professionally and don’t over-commit.
- Take steps to improve your sleep cycle. This could mean getting to bed earlier, or buying a new mattress, pillow, or weighted blanket. If you’re bothered by light, invest in room darkening window treatments, and buy an alarm clock where the light can be turned off. And you don’t need the distraction of a smartphone (put it on Do Not Disturb between specific hours) and can do without other electronic gadgets like eBook readers.
- A well-balanced diet will help to defend against symptoms associated with depression. According to the Mayo Clinic: avoid large, high-fat meals late in the day; avoid caffeine late in the day and alcohol before bedtime; and don’t drink too many fluids before going to bed.
- Try and minimize negative thoughts. Look for sources of positivity, including in inspirational books or self-help guides, websites, and smartphone apps.
- People who are depressed often lag behind in completing daily chores. Ease yourself into improvement by adding goals to a daily calendar. Place a happy face sticker on each one you achieve.
- A cluttered home may lead to a cluttered mind, which in turn may result in depression. This means you must achieve order over chaos. Get rid of or donate items you don’t need, organize closets, drawers, and pantries, and clean before things get out of hand.
- Embrace activities that contribute to overall mental and physical wellbeing. Curl up with a book by a favorite author, take your dog for a walk, look through family photographs that bring back good memories.
If you’ve identified with the signs of depression mentioned above, you may be suffering from depression. This is a mental disorder requiring treatment, either from a doctor or mental health professional who will prescribe a course of action. You may even consider a treatment option like ketamine infusion therapy to control the symptoms, which is a newer form of treatment that is having considerable levels of success.
Ketamine for Depression Treatment
Used across the planet as an anesthetic and pain reliever, ketamine is also what institutions like Harvard are calling an important and innovative new tool for depression treatment. Research shows that up to 70% of patients can find relief from their symptoms of depression after a series of IV ketamine infusions.