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Not Just the Blues: The Truth About PTSD and Depression

Your partner or friend has said they’re worried about you.

Maybe you can’t stop reliving the traffic accident you were in a few months back.

You’re struggling with mood swings and low self-esteem.

Or you’re avoiding social situations, and spending more time on your own – concentrating solely on work, and spending all your free time watching Netflix.

Does this sound familiar?

You could be depressed. If a scary event in your life is causing sleepless nights and nasty flashbacks, you could even have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which, though common in US veterans, is not just an active combat issue. Every year eight million Americans are diagnosed with PTSD.

While it’s easy to worry if you have PTSD or depression, there are a number of signs you can look out for to help you identify and manage these conditions. Even better, there’s a cutting-edge therapy to help alleviate the symptoms and get you back on track.

What Exactly Is Depression?

Depression is a mood disorder characterized by continuous sadness, or feelings of numbness and disinterest, and can occur after a major life event such as a bereavement, or occur due to brain chemistry or hormonal changes. You can also become depressed through reaching burnout – where the stress of work and/or work life can erode your energy levels, mood, and wellbeing.

But depression isn’t simply “feeling blue” – it can have an impact on your thoughts, feelings, and behavior, and you may find it difficult to do things you previously enjoyed, or feel that you have a purpose in life. Depression isn’t mere sadness – you can be angry, or feel lost inside.

Depression is more than just a poor mood – it’s not something you can force yourself out of by putting on a smile. In fact, many people who struggle with depression may feel like they’re supposed to put a brave face on for friends and family, and may be terrified to let the mask slip for even a moment. Without proper treatment, depression is very hard to overcome, and it’s likely to get much worse, often leading to suicidal ideation.

Symptoms of Depression

Depression can often creep up on you slowly – and if you have high-functioning depression, where you are able to keep working, socializing, and achieving, you may be adept at ignoring the sad or empty feeling by keeping busy.

But what does it look like?

Do you experience:

If you have answered yes to two or more of these symptoms, you may be struggling with depression.

If you’re struggling with suicidal thoughts please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on 1-800-273-8255.

Depression can be different from person to person, so if you’re concerned you have depression but don’t tick every single box symptom-wise – that’s okay!

What Is PTSD?

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that you can develop after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. PTSD is understandably common in our veteran population, and it’s a condition that can interfere with your day-to-day life if left untreated. Post-traumatic stress disorder often involves uncontrollable thoughts about the trauma, nightmares and night terrors, anxiety attacks, and flashbacks.

Triggers of PTSD include:

As you can see from the above list, you can develop PTSD after some, particularly tough life experiences. While you would have had an intense reaction at the time of the incident due to the fight or flight reflex – and your hypothalamic-pituitary axis triggering a release of cortisol to keep you ready – PTSD has you both reliving that event, and experiencing a strong physical reaction to the flashback.

What Are the Major Signs and Symptoms of PTSD?

Usually, the symptoms of PTSD develop in the month after the traumatic event, but for some people, it can take longer – sometimes years pass before symptoms arrive.

PTSD symptoms can be loosely separated into four groups:

Reliving

You relive the traumatic experience through:

These symptoms can be scary and debilitating, often interfering with your sleep and routine, and making you feel powerless.

Avoiding

Going out of your way to avoid reminders of the traumatic experience is a common symptom, including but not limited to:

Avoidance may feel like the easiest way to cope with your feelings, but it can cause strain on relationships – while concentrating intently on hobbies and work only delays the inevitable, while keeping you isolated from your support network.

Hyperarousal

Hyperarousal is the term for a state of mind where you find it hard to relax and feel anxious. You may be constantly on the alert for threats and feel easily startled. Hyperarousal can lead to:

Hyperarousal can be exhausting – and not just because of the lack of sleep. Your anger and irritability can place strain on close relationships.

Linked conditions

Lastly, PTSD can be linked to, and feed into, other mental health problems and physical symptoms, including:

These conditions and symptoms are not easy to cope with on top of post-traumatic stress disorder, so it’s important to seek treatment to lighten the load.

If you’re struggling with suicidal thoughts please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on 1-800-273-8255.

What Are the Best Treatments for PTSD and Depression?

While your mood disorder may make you feel that you don’t deserve help, post-traumatic stress disorder and depression (and a combination of the two) do require treatment so that you can enjoy your life and thrive again. At the very least, you need a formal diagnosis so you can decide on your next steps.

Consider:

  1. Therapy – the “talking cure” is a powerful tool to help you deal with depression and/or PTSD. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is an excellent approach, and patients with PTSD respond well to eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) and group therapy.
  2. Medication – there is a wide range of medications available to treat mood disorders, and you and your doctor can work together to select the right one to help stabilize your mood, as you undergo therapy.
  3. Ketamine IV infusion – If therapy is going slow, and you’re struggling with the side effects of medication, consider trying a ketamine treatment for depression and PTSD. Beginning with a series of treatments over two weeks, moving to one appointment a month, ketamine intravenous therapy has been proven to alleviate PTSD and depression – and is beneficial for thoughts of suicide and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Ketamine IV therapy can improve your mood without the side effects of traditional antidepressant therapy, or the inconvenience of having to remember to take your meds every day.

At StrIVeMD Wellness and Ketamine, we’re committed to helping you access nutrient IV treatments quickly and safely. We offer a range of different nutrient therapies to suit your needs – and we can often offer same day appointments or a discreet home visit.

If you’re looking for IV therapy for burnout in the Chicago area, make an appointment with StrIVeMD Wellness and Ketamine by calling 847-213-0990 or email us here.

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