Depression And Drugs And Alcohol
Drowning your sorrows is actually a bad idea when it comes to depression. Alcohol is categorised as a strong depressant which can make depression worse, and drinking or taking drugs to cope can lead to a downward spiral by having a negative affect on other parts of your life.
Theres evidence that cannabis can cause depression, particularly in teenagers, even if it helps you relax.
What Medicines Are Used To Treat Depression
Medicines that treat depression are called antidepressants. They help increase the number of chemical messengers in your brain.
Antidepressants work differently for different people. They also have different side effects. So, even if one medicine bothers you or doesnt work for you, another may help. You may notice improvement as soon as 1 week after you start taking the medicine. But you probably wont see the full effects for about six to eight weeks. You may have side effects at first, but they tend to decrease after a couple of weeks. Dont stop taking the medicine without contacting your healthcare provider first.
When Should I See My Doctor
If you are experiencing symptoms of depression, its best to seek help early and your GP is a good place to start. There’s no need to struggle on your own. Seek help:
- if you are feeling sad, teary or overwhelmed most of the time
- if these feelings have been with you for 2 weeks or more
- if your low mood affects how you cope at home, work or school.
Your GP can suggest effective treatment options, and the sooner your symptoms are addressed, the better the outcome will likely be.
Some people with depression feel that life is too difficult, not worth living or even that they themselves are worthless. If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, dont wait seek help now.
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Diagnosing Depression And The Physical Exam
Again, the goal with a physical exam is usually to rule out another medical cause for depression. When performing the physical exam, the doctor may focus primarily on the neurological and endocrine systems. The doctor will try to identify any major health concerns that may be contributing to symptoms of clinical depression. For example, hypothyroidism — caused by an underactive thyroid gland — is the most common medical condition associated with depressive symptoms. Other endocrine disorders associated with depression include hyperthyroidism — caused by an overactive thyroid — and Cushing’s disease — a disorder of the adrenal gland.
Many central nervous system illnesses and injuries can also lead to depression. For example, depression might be associated with any of the following conditions:
- Central nervous system tumors
Corticosteroid medications such as prednisone, which people take for diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis or asthma, are also associated with depression. Other drugs, including illegal steroids, excessive alcohol use,Ã and amphetamines and over-the-counter appetite suppressants, may cause depression on withdrawal.Ã
Talking With Friends And Family About Suicide
Its important to watch for signs and symptoms of depression or suicide. Dont shy away from asking if a family member or friend is feeling depressed or suicidal. It may be an uncomfortable conversation, but it is important. Asking if someone is having thoughts of suicide will not make them more likely to act on those thoughts. Your questions may help the person open up about how theyve been feeling and encourage them to seek treatment.
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Can Giving Birth Cause Depression
In the days following the birth of a baby, it is common for some mothers to have mood swings. They may feel a little depressed, have a hard time concentrating, lose their appetite, or find that they cant sleep well even when the baby is asleep. This is called the baby blues and goes away within 10 days after delivery. However, some women have worse symptoms or symptoms that last longer. This is called postpartum depression.
Where Can I Find Clinical Trials For Depression
Clinical trials are research studies that look at new ways to prevent, detect, or treat diseases and conditions. Although individuals may benefit from being part of a clinical trial, participants should be aware that the primary purpose of a clinical trial is to gain new scientific knowledge so others may receive better help in the future.
Researchers at the National Institute of Mental Health and around the country conduct many studies with patients and healthy volunteers. Talk to your health care provider about clinical trials, their benefits and risks, and whether one is right for you. For more information, visit NIMH’s clinical trials information.
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Working With A Mental Health Professional Or Treatment Program
Once the diagnosis is made, the professional can then advise the individual on treatment for the condition. Depending on the type of condition and severity, there are several general treatment types that may be prescribed, either alone or in combination, as described by the American Association of Community Psychiatrists:
- One-on-one work with a counselor or psychiatrist
- Outpatient treatment through a treatment program
- Inpatient treatment through a rehab or treatment center
- Hospitalization or other emergency measures
The care plan will be determined by the treatment professional based on the severity of the disorder, how well the individual is able to function, the expected potential for recovery or relapse risk, the persons living environment and its ability to support recovery, and the individuals safety risk, among other factors.
How To Get Diagnosed With Depression: Everything You Should Know
Depression is more than just grief in reaction to life’s difficulties and misfortunes. Depression alters how you think, feel, and operate in everyday tasks. Major life experiences, such as a divorce or loss of employment, can trigger depression. You can get depressed when you experience chronic sadness for weeks or months rather than just a few days.
Feelings of grief are only considered depression if they become prolonged and interfere with your daily functioning. Depression can cause a range of mental and physical challenges, as well as a decrease in your productivity both at work and at home.
Luckily, depression, also known as clinical depression or major depressive disorder, is treatable. Seeking help early can have a significant impact on someone suffering from depression.
Learning about emerging symptoms or early warning signs, and acting on them, can make a huge difference. Early intervention can serve to lessen the severity of the depression disorder condition. It may even be able to slow down or avoid the condition entirely.
Have you considered clinical trials for Depression?
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People Are Diagnosed Earlier Than In The Past
In many countries, mood disorders such as depression and bipolar disorder are being diagnosed earlier than they were in the past.2
We see clear evidence of this in the data in the chart.
This data comes from a study conducted in Denmark, which looked at the age when people were first diagnosed with mental disorders. They used data from across the population.3
In 1996 the age of diagnosis varied widely. Young, middle-aged and old people all had a similar chance of being diagnosed with depression for the first time. By 2016, people were diagnosed much earlier. They were much more likely to be diagnosed with depression when they were young adults than later in their lives.
There are several reasons that this age distribution has shifted.
First, people have become more willing to seek treatment for mental health conditions.4
Second, there are more guidelines on how to diagnose conditions in children and adolescents than in the past. In Denmark, children and adolescents have become more likely to be seen by professionals and screened for mental health conditions, and have regular check-ups for psychiatric symptoms at schools.5
This means they are more likely to be diagnosed during their first episode of depression. In the past, they may have been diagnosed later perhaps when they were actually having their second or third episode or not diagnosed at all.
Keep reading on Our World in Data:
How Can I Find Help
If you think you may have depression, start by making an appointment to see your doctor or health care provider. This could be your primary care practitioner or a health provider who specializes in diagnosing and treating mental health conditions. Visit the NIMH Find Help for Mental Illnesses if you are unsure of where to start.
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How To Get A Diagnosis
There are multiple steps that can be followed to get an accurate diagnosis for a mental health disorder, summarized by Mayo Clinic. The first step is to see a doctor regarding the symptoms. This can rule out any physical conditions that may be contributing to the condition. Sometimes, chronic illnesses like diabetes or acute onset of conditions like cancer can cause changes in mood or ability to cope. As a second step, lab tests may also indicate that theres a physical component to the mental symptoms and behaviors.
Its important to bear in mind that physical ailments can also result in mental health disorders, so just because theres a physical reason for the issue does not mean a mental health disorder is not present. For this reason, seeing a mental health professional as a follow-up step, such as making a visit to a psychiatrist or psychologist, can help. The type of mental health professional selected may depend on the type of mental health disorder suspected. For example, if substance abuse is the potential disorder, it can help to select a professional addiction treatment or rehab center to determine the diagnosis.
The Complex Depression Equation: Treatment Options
After your depression severity is determined, your healthcare provider will speak with you about ways to lessen your depression .
According to a quick reference guide, Treating Major Depressive Disorder , available from the American Psychiatric Association , the severity of depression helps your healthcare provider determine an appropriate course of treatment. The provider will likely discuss your history, including medical, psychiatric, prescription, personal, and family. Taking into consideration your clinical condition, they will decide whether your treatment should take place at home or in the hospital .
Your healthcare provider then will choose an initial treatment plan, with the aim to induce remission of the major depressive episode and achieve a full return to the patients baseline level of functioning, states the APA guide. The APA advises healthcare providers to consider the following when selecting the initial treatment:
- Severity of symptoms
- Presence of co-occurring disorders or psychosocial stressors
- Biological, psychological, and environmental factors contributing to the current episode of depression
- Patient preference
- Prior treatment experiences
Talk therapy only works if you feel open and comfortable talking about your depression and other aspects of your life. With talk therapy, what you typically get out of it is based on the effort you put in.
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How Common Is Depression
Depression affects people of all age groups, races, ethnicities, and socioeconomic backgrounds, although it affects certain groups more than others. More than 19 million adults in the United Statesnearly 8% of the populationexperienced at least one severe depressive episode in 2020.¹
Women, more than their male counterparts, are more likely to suffer from depression. According to some research, one in three women will have a major depressive episode sometime during their lives.²
Other risk factors include:
Diagnosing And Treating Depression
Theres no physical test for depression.
If you experience depression symptoms most of the day, every day, for more than two weeks, you should visit your GP. This is especially important if:
- you have symptoms of depression that arent getting any better
- you have thoughts of self-harm or suicide
- your work, relationships with friends and family, or interests are affected by your mood
It can be hard for people with depression to imagine that anything can help them but the sooner you seek help, the sooner the symptoms start to get better.
Your GP may examine you and perform blood or urine tests to make sure there isnt another condition causing your depression symptoms, like an underactive thyroid.
When you see your GP, theyll try to find out if you have depression by asking you questions. These are likely to be about your health, how youre feeling, and how that is affecting you mentally and physically.
Telling your doctor your symptoms and the affect they are having on you will help your GP to tell if you have depression, and how severe the condition is. Its important to be as open as possible.
Your conversation with your GP will be confidential. This rule can only be broken if your GP thinks there is a significant risk of harm to you or others, and that telling a family member or carer would make that risk lower.
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Why Does My Mental Health Professional Ask Me About Mania
Depression and bipolar disorder share some symptoms, but they are different illnesses that require different treatments. Bipolar disorder includes episodes of depression as well as episodes of mania. Mania can be harder to see, so bipolar disorder may be diagnosed as depression. Depression can be more troubling than mania, so many people seek help for depression first.
Common signs of mania include:
Feeling like you need less sleep
Feeling like your thoughts are racing
Taking on many tasks or making big plans that you cant realistically complete
Taking big risks you wouldnt normally consider, like going on expensive shopping sprees
Some people interpret mania as periods when they’re simply “very creative” or “very productive,” but mania can have a lot of negative consequences. It’s important to see if mania is part of the picture so you get the right treatment and support. For more on mania and bipolar disorder, find bipolar disorder info sheets at www.heretohelp.bc.ca/bipolar-disorder.
Consider Seeing A Psychiatrist First
There’s a tendency for some new patients to visit a counselor or psychologist for their initial mental health evaluation rather than a psychiatrist. This can be beneficial for many people, especially if your case is not severe, but for others, it’s often not enough.
Only psychiatrists are also medical doctors, which means that they are able to prescribe medications.
If your depression stems from a chemical imbalance, talk therapy will not be sufficient to treat you. It’s best to make your initial visit to a psychiatrist, who can both prescribe medications and offer you psychotherapy if it’s needed. This two-pronged approach of medication and talk therapy is often the most beneficial to patients.
Psychotherapy is a broad term for a variety of different verbal and psychological techniques that are employed to help an individual work through their mental health condition or source of underlying stress. These techniques include but are not limited to psychoanalytic therapy or psychodynamic psychotherapy, behavior therapy, cognitive therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy . Oftentimes, other mental health professionals in the field such as counselors and social workers will draw from psychotherapeutic techniques and use them with their clients.
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Depression Can Look Different Depending On A Persons Cultural Background
Signs and symptoms of depression can look different depending on the person and their cultural background. People from different cultures may express emotions, moods, and mood disorders including depression in different ways. In some cultures, depression may be displayed as physical symptoms, such as aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems.
How Can I Take Care Of Myself
Once you begin treatment, you should gradually start to feel better. Go easy on yourself during this time. Try to do things you used to enjoy. Even if you dont feel like doing them, they can improve your mood. Other things that may help:
- Try to get some physical activity. Just 30 minutes a day of walking can boost mood.
- Try to maintain a regular bedtime and wake-up time.
- Eat regular, healthy meals.
- Do what you can as you can. Decide what must get done and what can wait.
- Try to connect with other people, and talk with people you trust about how you are feeling.
- Postpone important life decisions until you feel better.
- Avoid using alcohol, nicotine, or drugs, including medications not prescribed for you.
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What Are Signs And Symptoms Of Depression
How do you know if you or your loved one may have depression? Does depression look different as you age? Depression in older adults may be difficult to recognize because older people may have different symptoms than younger people. For some older adults with depression, sadness is not their main symptom. They could instead be feeling more of a numbness or a lack of interest in activities. They may not be as willing to talk about their feelings.
The following is a list of common symptoms. Still, because people experience depression differently, there may be symptoms that are not on this list.
- Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
- Feelings of hopelessness, guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
- Irritability, restlessness, or having trouble sitting still
- Loss of interest in once pleasurable activities, including sex
- Decreased energy or fatigue
- Moving or talking more slowly
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
- Difficulty sleeping, waking up too early in the morning, or oversleeping
- Eating more or less than usual, usually with unplanned weight gain or loss
- Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts
If you have several of these signs and symptoms and they last for more than two weeks, talk with your doctor. These could be signs of depression or another health condition. Dont ignore the warning signs. If left untreated, serious depression may lead to death by suicide.