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What Is Atypical Depression

The number of Americans suffering from depression is significant – about 15 million people every year. But that number will jump in 2020 due to COVID-19 and its effects, driving millions more into its depths as they struggle with illness, death, financial hardships, and other societal changes never imagined.


WebMD defines atypical depression as “a subtype of major depression or dysthymic disorder that involves several specific symptoms, including increased appetite or weight gain, sleepiness or excessive sleep, marked fatigue or weakness, moods that are strongly reactive to environmental circumstances, and feeling extremely sensitive to rejection.”
Major depression or dysthymic disorder have a common “specifier” – atypical depression. People suffering from atypical depression have frequently faced depression first early in their lives, normally in their teens.


Besides mood reactivity, someone suffering from atypical depression may experience two or more of:

  • A bigger eating habit, resulting in significant weight gain
  • Sleeping an excessive amount of hours
  • Feeling as if your arms and legs are very heavy, also known as leaden paralysis
  • You have increased sensitivity and intense reaction to rejection or criticism, resulting in considerable work and social impairment

These symptoms are different than you might experience with typical depression, which includes insomnia and loss of appetite. Unfortunately, the mood of people suffering from atypical depression usually does not get better, even when something good happens.
It is not uncommon for a person with atypical depression to experience other symptoms, such as:

  • Depressed mood or sadness for the entire day or nearly every day
  • Loss of enjoyment in activities that were once enjoyable
  • Major change in appetite or weight
  • Insomnia or too much sleep nearly every day
  • A state of being rundown or physical restlessness that is observable by others
  • Loss of energy or fatigue almost every day
  • Feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, or excessive guilt nearly every day
  • Problems with making decisions or focusing almost every day
  • Repeated thoughts of suicide or death, suicide planning, or suicide attempts


Over the years, research has begun pinpointing several factors that appear to increase the risk of triggering or developing depression:

  • Personality traits, such as being too dependent and having low self-esteem, being pessimistic or self-critical
  • Stressful or traumatic events, including instances of sexual or physical abuse, the
  • loss or death of a loved one, a bad relationship, or money problems
  • Blood relatives with a history of bipolar disorder, depression, alcoholism, or suicide
  • History of an anxiety disorder, eating disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, or other mental health ailments
  • Abuse of recreational drugs or alcohol
  • Serious or chronic illness, including stroke, chronic pain, cancer, or heart disease
  • Taking certain medications, like some high blood pressure drugs or sleeping pills – always talk to a doctor before using any medication


While the roots of depression are unknown, there are factors which boost the risk, including:

  • Family history
  • A substantial loss — from divorce, death, or separation — that could trigger an underlying susceptibility to depression as opposed to normal grief
  • Interpersonal disputes and related emotions like guilt
  • Any type of physical, sexual, or emotional abuse
  • Any kind of major life experience such as changing or ending a job, moving, retiring, graduating, or social isolation in people with a biological predisposition to depression
  • Any type of major illness such as COVID-19, heart disease, cancer, stroke, or HIV
  • Drug or alcohol misuse


Diagnosis of atypical depression or any other normally involves:

  • A physical exam to rule out or link depression to an underlying physical health problem.
  • Lab or blood tests to ensure your thyroid or other organs work as expected.
  • A psychiatric evaluation and questionnaire to review your symptoms, thoughts, feelings, behaviors.
  • Consulting with criteria listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).

Following a medical and psychological evaluation, a positive diagnosis will likely result in your health provider recommending treatment. Options like psychotherapy, self-help, hospitalization, and the use of a newer form of treatment like ketamine infusion therapy to treat mood changes may be discussed. Ketamine and esketamine are administered via infusion therapy or as a nasal spray and are known to help manage your depression symptoms.


Depression and other mental illnesses are treatable with psychotherapy and drugs like ketamine, but the key to managing symptoms is recognizing them and seeking immediate care. If you think you suffer from atypical depression, contact us to get help today.


When Is Depression Crippling?

Everyone gets depressed occasionally. It is a normal part of life. Looking forward to something that does not return desired results can lead to mood changes, weight fluctuation, loss of sleep. In most cases, the symptoms are temporary. But if they drag on for weeks, they can be crippling.


A person suffering from clinical depression, sometimes also called major depressive disorder, must either experience a lack of interest or joy in daily activities or depressed mood regularly for two weeks. Such depression when observed usually denotes a substantial difference from what would be considered the person’s usual daily mood. Mood shifts can harm how a person functions at school, work, or at home, but the symptoms can often be treated with medications like ketamine.


Mental health professionals use the same criteria when diagnosing mental illness. That criteria is spelled out in The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), published by the American Psychiatric Association.

A person suffering from a mental illness may be diagnosed when five or more of the following, including depressed mood or loss of interest or pleasure, are present for two weeks:

  • Depressed most of the day, nearly every day as indicated by subjective report (e.g., feels sad, empty, hopeless) or observation made by others (e.g., appears tearful)
  • Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities most of the day, nearly every day (as indicated by subjective account or observation)
  • Significant weight loss when not dieting or weight gain (e.g., change of more than 5% of body weight in a month), or decrease or increase in appetite nearly every day
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia nearly every day
  • Psychomotor agitation or retardation nearly every day (observable by others, not merely subjective feelings of restlessness or being slowed down)
  • Fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day
  • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt (which may be delusional) nearly every day (not merely self-reproach or guilt about being sick)
  • Diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness, nearly every day (either by subjective account or as observed by others)
  • Recurrent thoughts of death (not just fear of dying), recurrent suicidal ideation without a specific plan, or a suicide attempt or a specific plan for committing suicide”


According to most mental healthcare professionals, depression becomes crippling for different people at different times, based on many factors. But the one thing most agree on is this: Depression is crippling when it begins restricting basic functioning, such as going to work and living normally. Some people with depression have episodes that persist for a few weeks or months. For others, depression is a crippling ailment when it resists treatment and becomes a lifelong struggle.


The number of people suffering from depression is unknown, mostly because it is a mental health condition that goes unreported and untreated for many reasons – embarrassment, lack of healthcare, the belief that it will “just go away.” The number of U.S. adults affected by depression could be 15 million annually.


Diagnosis of crippling depression follows a standard pattern. First, a medical doctor will perform a physical, ask about your medical history, and run tests that may rule out a condition that causes the depression. Second, or instead of a physical, a mental health provider will perform a psychological exam that focuses on emotions, moods, and behavior. Finally, the results of one or both exams will be compared to criteria in the DSM-5 for final diagnosis.


There are many ways to treat depression, which you and your doctor or therapist will talk about and decide on. Options include psychotherapy, electroconvulsive therapy, self-help, medication, and in some cases hospitalization. In-patient therapy will occur regularly, often spanning the course of several months or longer to help manage symptoms.


In many cases, a doctor or mental healthcare provider will prescribe anti-depressants to be used in conjunction with some form of therapy. Over the last several years, government and private research has looked into the efficacy of drugs like ketamine, which improve neurotransmitter function in the brain, to ease symptoms of depression. Ketamine, or esketamine, is dispensed via infusion therapy or a nasal spray. It was originally used as an anesthetic during the Vietnam war.


If you or a loved one is depressed, seek care immediately and do not wait until the symptoms become crippling. A medical doctor or mental health provider will work with you to design a treatment program, possibly including psychotherapy or drugs like ketamine.
If you or a loved one have questions about the clinical use of ketamine we can help. Ketamine has been shown to provide rapid relief from the symptoms of depression where other medications have failed. Contact us today.


What is Complex PTSD?

You’ve likely already heard of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – an anxiety disorder that some people develop after witnessing or experiencing a traumatic event.

You may not, however, be familiar with complex post-traumatic stress disorder (CPTSD). CPTSD comes about as a result of repeated trauma over a longer period of time, rather than one single traumatic event.

CPTSD Symptoms

The symptoms are mostly like those of PTSD, but with additional symptoms not found in the regular condition.

Standard PTSD Symptoms

  • Reliving the traumatic experience (through nightmares, thoughts, or flashbacks)
  • Avoiding certain activities or thoughts that remind you of the event
  • Changes in thoughts and actions, such as feeling distrustful or losing hope about the future
  • Hyperarousal, which means being on high alert or jittery. This also results in difficulty sleeping or focusing.

CPTSD Symptoms

  • Being unable to regulate your emotions or control your feeling, resulting in things like explosive anger
  • Changes in thinking and consciousness. For example, dissociative feelings or getting about the traumatic event
  • Negative thoughts about yourself, such as intense guilt or shame
  • Conflicts in your personal or professional relationships
  • Developing a distorted perception of your abuser, for instance developing a preoccupation with getting “revenge”
  • Loss faith in beliefs or values you once held

Causes of CPTSD

Some research suggests that trauma may have a lasting effect on the amygdala, the hippocampus, and the prefrontal cortex. These are parts of the brain that have a major role in the function of memory and the way a person responds to stress.

This leads to speculation that long-term trauma, inflicted over months or even years, may wear a person down and lead to CPTSD.
Examples of long-term trauma include, but are not limited to:

  • Ongoing physical, sexual, or emotional abuse
  • Living in an area affected by war
  • Ongoing childhood abuse or neglect

Risk factors for developing CPTSD include some of the following:

  • Personal or family history of other mental health conditions
  • Inherited personality traits (your temperament)
  • The way your brain regulates hormones in response to stress

CPTSD Treatment

CPTSD will deeply affect a person’s life. It can be unforgiving, but no matter what there is hope for relief from the symptoms. Hope can come in many forms: treatments both old and new like antidepressant medications, psychotherapy sessions, ketamine infusions, or general lifestyle changes like social support or supporting your physical health.

Ketamine for CPTSD Treatment

Ketamine has been used for decades as an anesthetic and pain reliever, but in recent years is being used as a powerful and rapid-acting treatment for mental health conditions such as CPTSD. Research seems to indicate that ketamine plays a role in the treatment of mood disorders through its interaction with the neurotransmitter known as glutamate. Glutamate is a powerful neurotransmitter that mediates the body’s response to stress and traumatic memories.

To learn more about ketamine and its use for CPTSD treatment, contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

Ketamine for OCD

Everyone, it seems, will toss out a joke occasionally about OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder): “I have OCD when it comes to folding my t-shirts” or “I have OCD about cleaning my glasses.” But the condition, characterized by the need to repeat an action or behavior continuously, is very real. It’s pop culture relevant, discussed often by Lena Dunham, Howie Mandel, and others. Ketamine-derived nasal spray and infusion therapy are now considered viable OCD treatment options.

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Ketamine for Anxiety

Anxiety is undue concern or worry. It prepares your body for action to battle danger. But what if there’s no danger? Then, anxiety obliges the sufferer to keep fleeing from an unseen beast to an alien destination. If you’ve run this race before and feel like a champion, then you know the effects of anxiety – trouble at work, school, home, and with relationships. But help is available, through clinical therapy, hospitalization, and medication like ketamine.

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Ketamine for PTSD

PTSD, or posttraumatic stress disorder, is most popularly associated with distressed American combat veterans, but it’s a serious mental health disorder affecting millions of men, women, and children – most of whom have never experienced war or front-line combat situations. Normal symptoms include trouble sleeping, reliving distressing memories, and negative thoughts, but all can be treated with therapy or medication, including ketamine and ketamine-derived drugs. In most cases, treatment is customized for each patient’s unique situation.

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Ketamine for Depression

Depression is a significant but treatable medical condition affecting how a person thinks, feels, and acts. More than 17 million U.S. adults suffer from it, while nearly two million children under 17 also experience its symptoms. It’s usually characterized by sadness, but symptoms can appear as apathy or irritability. Occasionally other medications or ailments can trigger or simulate the symptoms, so it’s crucial to seek care, which may involve therapy including the use of ketamine.

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