As anyone who’s struggled with depression can tell you, the symptoms can range in severity. Sometimes it’s just a particularly bitter bout of sadness, and others it’s a complete inability to perform basic tasks in everyday life. At this point, it may feel like your depression is crippling. Let’s take a look at what that means and what treatment options are available.
What is depression?
Depression is a mental health illness known for its continually depressed mood or loss of interest in things, leading to significant restrictions in daily life. There are many causes, including a combination of biological, psychological, and social forms of distress. Research shows the condition may result in changes in brain function, which is why treatments like ketamine, known to strengthen damaged or weakened neurotransmitters, may help depression when the condition has resisted other treatment options.
Major depressive disorder
Major depressive disorder is another term for depression, clinical depression, and crippling depression. It’s characterized by classic symptoms which may include continual sadness, loss of interest, anger, anxiety, irritability, changes in sleep and eating habits, and trouble concentrating. The condition is treatable with psychotherapy and medicine, including ketamine for depression.
Is depression a disability?
Depression by itself doesn’t meet the criteria for disability as established by the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA). The SSA says your condition must prevent you from doing “substantial work” and that it’s lasted more than a year and is potentially life-threatening. More disability criteria information is available online.
Types of depression
Crippling depression, also called major depressive disorder, is just one of many kinds of depression which can have severe consequences if left untreated.
- Treatment-resistant depression is depression that has resisted treatment from therapy or medicine.
- Subsyndromal depression is characterized by symptoms not severe enough to be diagnosed as clinical depression, based on criteria in the DSM-5.
- Persistent depressive disorder “may be less severe than major depression, but — as the name suggests — it lasts longer.”
- Premenstrual dysphoric disorder is similar to premenstrual syndrome but is more severe. According to the U.S. Office on Women’s Health, it “causes severe irritability, depression, or anxiety in the week or two before your period starts. Symptoms usually go away two to three days after your period starts. You may need medicine or other treatment to help with your symptoms.”
- Bipolar depression was once called manic depression. It causes uncommon shifts in activity levels, concentration, energy, mood, and the ability to carry out daily tasks.
- Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder is a childhood illness of severe anger, irritability, and frequent, severe temper outbursts. It can lead to impairment and the need for clinical help.
- Postpartum depression normally occurs in women for more than two weeks before or after childbirth.
- Seasonal affective disorder mostly occurs in the winter or colder months when there is less natural sunlight and people are forced to spend more time indoors.
- Substance-induced mood disorder refers to “depressive, anxiety, psychotic, or manic symptoms that occur as a physiological consequence of the use of substances of abuse or medications. It may occur during active use, intoxication or withdrawal.”
- Psychotic depression is a serious form of depression where you experience the typical symptoms of depression, plus hallucinations and delusions.
- Depression because of an illness can occur with people suffering from heart disease, AIDS, and other conditions.
How to diagnose depression
A depression diagnosis may be based on:
- A physical exam to determine an underlying cause for depression symptoms
- Lab tests including a complete blood count and to ensure thyroid functionality
- A psychological evaluation to determine your thoughts, behavior, feelings, and personal and family mental illness history.
- Criteria in the DSM-5
Treatment for depression most often begins with some form of psychotherapy, with regular sessions continuing for several months or longer. Depending on your progress, your doctor may also recommend medicine during or after psychotherapy. One therapy growing popular is ketamine to fight depression symptoms.
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 ketamine infusions.
We are here to help! Contact us today to learn more about this innovative new treatment option.