There are many treatments and therapies for depression available – the most important part of treatment is finding the right one for you. Major Depressive Disorder affects over 300 million global citizens of all ages, and while there is no cure, there are several treatment options. Depression is most often treated with psychotherapy (talk therapy) and antidepressant medications administered together. Although antidepressants can be effective for many patients, they do not work for everyone. Alternative treatments are also available, such as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). More recently, ketamine therapy is currently helping patients with treatment-resistant depression (TRD) manage their symptoms and find relief.
Symptoms of depression can include:
- Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide
- Persistent low mood
- Loss of or diminished interest in activities
- Feelings of worthlessness or excessive and inappropriate guilt
- Feelings of hopelessness and/or helplessness
- Diminished ability to think, concentrate, or make decisions
- Significant decrease or increase in appetite, with significant weight loss (when not dieting) or weight gain
- Excessive sleepiness or insomnia
- Agitation and restlessness
Ketamine as a depression treatment blocks the NMDA receptor instead of inhibiting the uptake of serotonin/norepinephrine/dopamine, as most antidepressants currently on the market are designed to do. By blocking this receptor, ketamine allows the brain to begin repairing itself and regulate the chemicals in the brain that cause depression.
For 70-80% of patients treated, ketamine treatments provide a break from debilitating symptoms of depression within 24 hours of a ketamine treatment, but it is not a permanent cure. These breaks last different lengths of time for each individual and can range from a day to months at a time. Booster treatments can be given to extend the relief from depression symptoms.
What is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)?
PTSD is a type of anxiety disorder that emerges after you live through trauma, such as personal assault, domestic abuse, active shooter situations, and military combat. While around 70% of Americans experience trauma at some point during their lives, only a fraction of them develop PTSD.
It’s normal to feel anxious, depressed, or have other abnormal emotions after trauma. In most cases, these feelings subside as time passes. However, if you develop PTSD, your symptoms might not emerge right away, and instead of getting better, they become more severe over time. Fortunately, with treatment, PTSD is manageable, and you can restore your quality of life.
What are the signs of PTSD?
PTSD causes four distinct types of symptoms: intrusive memories, avoidance behaviors, negative thoughts, and heightened arousal.
- Intrusive memories
Flashbacks and nightmares are perhaps the most well-recognized symptoms of PTSD. Your memories and nightmares are often so realistic that you feel like you’re reliving the trauma. You may have specific triggers for your flashbacks, or they may strike out of nowhere.
- Avoidance behavior
If you know that a person or place triggers your memories, it may feel like a rational response to avoid them. However, when untreated, avoidance behaviors often become more severe and more restrictive and can eventually interfere with your day-to-day activities.
- Negative thoughts
You might be plagued by negative thoughts about yourself or others. For example, you might feel like you’re bad or deserved what happened, or you might have a deep distrust of others. You might live with pervasive fear, horror, or guilt. It’s also common to lose interest in previously enjoyed activities or become estranged from friends and family.
- Heightened arousal
With PTSD, you might find that you’re easily startled or prone to angry outbursts. You might also develop problems sleeping or concentrating. Many patients start to engage in reckless or self-destructive behaviors, including substance abuse.
How is PTSD treated?
At Wayne Behavioral Service, LLC we create personalized treatment plans to help you recover from and cope with PTSD. Your treatment plan may include psychopharmacology and therapy. We may also recommend meditation, dietary changes, and increased physical activity. We work with you to help you explore and resolve your feelings while also learning strategies to cope with your negative thoughts and behaviors.