Category: Depression

can depression cause chronic pain

The Connection Between Depression And Pain

You get depressed occasionally and often notice you have headaches and minor back pain to go along with it. So it makes you wonder – are they related? Chances are very high that pain and depression are linked, but the more you know, the greater your chance of treating both conditions.

What Is Depression?

Depression (major depressive disorder or clinical depression) is a common but serious mood disorder. It causes severe symptoms that affect how you feel, think, and handle daily activities, such as sleeping, eating, or working. To be diagnosed with depression, the symptoms must be present for at least two weeks.” It triggers feelings of sadness and lack of interest in once enjoyable activities. Depression is characterized by emotional and physical problems, to the point where it interferes with daily life.

Types Of Pain

The five most familiar kinds of pain are:

  • Acute pain, which only lasts minutes to about three months – and in rare cases, six months.
  • Chronic pain can be steady or intermittent, persisting for months or years.
  • Neuropathic pain is caused by nerve injury or injuries to the nervous system.
  • Nociceptive pain is triggered by harm to body tissue.
  • Radicular pain happens when your spinal nerves get squeezed or inflamed.

Most pain symptoms are treatable.

Depression Risks

You can be depressed at any age, but it often starts in adulthood. We know that depression can now happen in children and adolescents, though it’s sometimes characterized by irritability more than low feelings. If you had high levels of anxiety as a child, you’re at greater risk of chronic mood and anxiety disorders as an adult.

Risks may include:

  •     Personal or family record of depression
  •     Big life changes, trauma, or stress
  •     Certain illnesses and medications

What Is Ketamine?

Ketamine, pain and depression have a long, interconnected history dating back to the early 1960s. At that time, the medicine was used solely as a pre-surgical anesthetic – gaining fame for treating wounded U.S. combat troops in Vietnam – before scientists discovered it had other curative applications. By the end of the decade, ketamine had become a sought-after option for reducing not only symptoms of physical pain but mental health issues that wouldn’t respond to conventional therapy.

The Connection Between Depression And Pain

Pain and depression are inextricably linked. Depression can trigger pain and pain can lead to depression, resulting in a vicious circle that is hard to break free of. Sometimes the circle makes the pain worsen the symptoms of depression, leading to depression, making feelings of pain even worse. For many people, depression results in unexplained physical symptoms like back pain or headaches. This is often the kind of pain that is the first or sole warning sign of depression. 

If you experience pain and its resultant problems, then you know it can beat you down over time and alter your mood. Chronic pain is likely worse, causing many problems that can trigger depression, such as problems sleeping and ongoing stress.

According to study results published by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, “pain and depression are closely correlated from the perspectives of both brain regions and the neurological function system, whereby chronic pain may lead to depression. One of the important causes for chronic pain leading to depression appears to be the crucial effect of common neuroplasticity changes on the occurrence and development of the two disorders in question. Nevertheless, current efforts in this field fail to sufficiently and explicitly explain their connection. Further investigations into the common neuroplasticity changes shared by pain and depression are warranted to promote the identification of new drug targets and to free patients from chronic pain-induced depression.”

Fortunately, many symptoms linked to mental illness (depression, bipolar disorder, etc.) and chronic pain conditions can be managed.

Diagnosis & Treatment

Diagnosing pain and depression normally depends on:

  • A physical examination to rule out a medical cause for your pain or depression symptoms.
  • A psychiatric assessment to understand your thoughts, feelings, behavior, and personal or family history of mental illness.

If your symptoms have a psychological component, your healthcare provider will compare them to criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders before recommending treatment.

Treatment may include pain medicine, psychotherapy, or ketamine infusion therapy.

Final Thoughts

If you suffer from ongoing pain or depression, don’t let the symptoms control your life. If ignored, pain and depression can lead to even worse physical and mental health conditions. The good news? Once symptoms are recognized, they can often be treated with ketamine to improve your quality of life. Contact us today to learn more.

what-is-atypical-depression

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.

WHAT IS ATYPICAL DEPRESSION?

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.

SYMPTOMS OF ATYPICAL DEPRESSION

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

RISK FACTORS FOR DEPRESSION

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

CAUSES OF DEPRESSION

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 AND TREATMENT

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.

CONCLUSION

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

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.

WHAT IS MAJOR DEPRESSIVE DISORDER?

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.

WHAT IS THE CRITERIA FOR MAJOR DEPRESSIVE DISORDER?

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”

WHEN IS DEPRESSION CRIPPLING?

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.

HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE DEPRESSED?

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.

HOW DO YOU DIAGNOSE DEPRESSION?

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.

HOW DO YOU TREAT DEPRESSION?

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.

DOES MEDICINE WORK?

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.

FINAL THOUGHTS

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.

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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