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Depression Brings Disabling Feelings of Hopelessness

Hopelessness, persistent sadness, and pessimism are common symptoms of depression. With an estimated 322 million people suffering from depression, it is one of the most prevalent mental health disorders in the world.

Depression Seen in Negative Light

Depression is a negative view of oneself, of the world, their life, their future. According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only about 25% of adults who have a mental health issue feel that others in society are sympathetic toward them. It is a common statement for people who are depressed to think that no one understands them, which makes living with and struggling with how they view their diagnosis a really tough place to be.

Mood State versus Physical State

Many people consider being depressed as an issue with mood. Depression actually involves major physical symptoms which may take one longer to seek mental health services as they believe something else is wrong with them. Depressed behaviors may also be accompanied by restlessness, indigestion, nausea, headaches, joint and muscle fatigue, as well as an increase in any previous physical pains or difficulties you may already be living with. The symptoms of mood and physical symptoms are tied together and affect one’s normal life routines and behaviors.

Difficulty Imagining Ever Being Happy

A recent study published in December of 2016, conducted at McMaster University in Canada, reports those with depression tend to live in a “stuck state” which they cannot imagine ending, nor can they imagine ever being happy again. Study findings indicate that depressed adults had less ability to imagine how someone who was not depressed would feel; they tend to focus inward, often losing touch with the feelings and experiences of others. For those who cannot imagine what it would be like to not be depressed, they often lose hope and become unable to “see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

Local Psychiatrist

There is hope. Call Dr. Hege for a confidential appointment to discuss your diagnosis and treatment options.

Co-Occurring Disorders with PTSD

Many people may think they have anxiety because they suffer from social anxiety, or they have difficulty making quick decisions or any decision at all. Or some may feel as though they seem to be functioning in “survival mode” in order to just get through the day. While it may be determined that they do have anxiety, in some instances, they may actually be suffering from PTSD, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as well as one or more co-occurring disorders.

PTSD Statistics

It has been estimated that almost 8% of Americans will suffer from PTSD symptoms at some point during their life. Women are twice as likely as men to develop PTSD, with the numbers 10.4% and 5% respectively. Approximately 3.6%, or 5.2 million adults in the U.S. have PTSD during the course of a given year.

PTSD Symptoms

Three different kinds of symptoms are experienced with PTSD:

  • First set of symptoms involve reliving the trauma in some way
  • Second set of symptoms occur when you purposefully stay away from places or people that remind you of the trauma; you become isolated from other people or feel numb
  • The third set of symptoms include feeling irritable, startling easily, or feeling on guard

Examples of PTSD Symptoms

While there are numerous symptoms reported with PTSD, following are some of the more commonly reported issues:

  • Loss of confidence in trusting your own instincts
  • Social anxiety
  • Difficulty at times separating reality from imagination
  • Waking up frequently at night; having a “fitful” sleep
  • Finding yourself flip-flopping on making a decision
  • Difficulty with short term memory retention
  • Finding it difficult to focus on a task, conversation, idea; difficulty with following through to the end of a thought process
  • Physical or mental lethargy
  • Feeling hopelessness, despair, or depression
  • Becoming exhausted after even small tasks; simple things become “just too hard to do”
  • Making poor life choices where you feel shame instead of making choices to change the situation to the positive
  • Confusion as to why you feel in a “fog” or feel “shell-shocked” by life in general
  • Exhibiting addictive behaviors as a means of escape

Co-Occurring Conditions with PTSD

Those that suffer from PTSD are also commonly diagnosed with other disorders such as depression, substance abuse, anxiety, difficulties with memory or cognition, as well as other problems with mental health or physiological changes.  The disorder itself is associated with impairment of the ability to function in social or family life – it is common to see problems with relationships, family discord, difficulties in parenting, and job instability.

For men, more than half with PTSD also have problems with alcohol; the most common co-occurring issues for men in order are depression, conduct disorder, and substance abuse.

For women, just under half of those with PTSD experience depression; the next most common co-occurring mental health issues are specific fears, anxiety, problems related to alcohol.

PTSD Psychiatric Care

PTSD is not just a “veteran’s ailment.” PTSD can occur across every socio-economic status and life stage. Call Dr. Hege for a confidential appointment at one of his convenient weekend and weeknight office hours for a comprehensive evaluation that addresses your primary and co-occurring issues.

Sexual Side Effects and Psychiatric Medications

Reporting a sexual side effect while using psychiatric medications is a common complaint for both men and women. The severity of sexual side effects vary widely depending on the person, how they react to their medication, the specific medication prescribed, the dosage taken, and any co-existing medical disorders such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.

Sexual Side Effects

Psychiatric medication may effect sexual function in a number of ways. The severity of sexual side effects may be minor, may ease up as your body adjusts or become a continuing issue that impacts life enjoyment. Sexual side effects include:

  • Erectile problems
  • Orgasm difficulties
  • Problems with arousal and satisfaction
  • A change in the desire for sex

Statistics of Sexual Dysfunction

Most of the research available on impaired sexual function and psychiatric medication focus primarily on depression and antidepressants. Sexual dysfunction however is also a concern for those diagnosed with anxiety disorders, mood disorders, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia to name a few. While 35% to 50% of those with untreated major depression report some type of sexual issue, those taking SSRIs (anti-depressant medication) report 30% to 40% delayed orgasm, 20% report decreased libido, and 10% of men complain of erectile function.

Impact of Psychiatric Medications on Sexual Function

The following classes of medication listed indicate some common drugs within each class that have more reported sexual side effects versus those with fewer reported sexual side effects:

Antidepressants:

  • More reported side effects: Celexa (citalopram), Prozac (fluoxetine), Paxil (paroxetine), Zoloft (sertraline)
  • Fewer reported sexual side effects: Wellbutrin, Aplenzin, Forfivo XL (bupropion), Cymbalta (duloxetine), Remeron (mirtazapine), Viibryd (vilazodone)

Antipsychotics:

  • Increased side effects: Cozaril (clozapine), Risperdal (risperidone)
  • Fewer reported effects: Abilify (aripiprazole), Zyprexa (olanzapine), Seroquel (quetiapine)

Sedatives:

  • Increased sexual side effects: Valium (diazepam), Mellaril (thioridazine)
  • Less reported effects: BuSpar (buspirone)

Reduce Psychiatric Sexual Side Effects

The solution is not to stop the medication you need for your mental health issues but rather to work with your psychiatrist to find an effective medication or combination of medications that work for you and reduce any sexual dysfunction that you have been experiencing.

Call Dr. Hege for a confidential appointment – there are many avenues of treatment available to help you live a full and satisfying life. Let Dr. Hege help.

Depression and Fast Food: An Overlooked Cause

With almost 16 million adults in the U.S. experiencing at least one major depressive episode over the course of a year, depression is one of the most common mental health disorders diagnosed in this country. The Anxiety and Depression Association (ADAA) report that approximately 7% of all American adults experience a major form of depression every year. More than 50% or more than 8 million adults may be struggling with depression because they are eating a fast food diet.

Fast Food and Depression

While most will agree a diet of fast food is not good for a healthy lifestyle; it is a quick, easy and tasty fix to grabbing a fast meal that also fills you up. Two different university studies, with an initial study starting in 2011 analyzed data from almost 9,000 participants who had never been diagnosed with depression or taken antidepressants. The data results showed that those who did eat fast food were 51% more likely to develop depression than those that ate little to no fast food.

Link Between Fast Food and Depression

Both previously mentioned research studies also demonstrated that there was a link between fast food and depression which was dose responsive; greater quantities of fast food eaten resulted in a greater risk for the development and diagnosis of depression. Even eating small amounts of fast food was linked to a significantly higher chance of developing depression.

Drive Through Versus Sit Down Food

In our fast paced society, we may find it almost impossible to follow a strict holistic or organic diet. Even those restaurants that we feel provide a more nutritious menu still offer “fast food” entrees and side dishes such as fries, hash browns, subs, specialty desserts, and pizza. The University of Illinois reported in a study that the total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium intake were substantially larger when full-service restaurant food was consumed away from home.

Depression Treatment Recommended

No matter what kind of diet you are eating, getting help for your depression is the best choice and recommended option for living your life to the fullest. A comprehensive mental health evaluation will provide an accurate diagnosis of the type of depression you have and allow treatment to begin immediately. Nutrition plays a big role. Changing your eating habits and lifestyle can be addressed throughout your depression treatment. Call the office for a confidential appointment.

Holiday Depression Dampens the Spirit

During this time of good cheer, bright and colorful decorations, advertisements and commercials showing happy times seemingly enjoyed by all except for maybe you, makes being depressed all that more noticeable to others and to one’s self.  Signs of holiday depression or sadness may bring comments like “Don’t be a Grinch,” or being called “Scrooge,” which certainly do not help cheer you up at all.

Holidays Not Always A Happy Time

The months of November and December may not be in reality so cheerful. The store window dressings, magazine decorating articles, food ads, and holiday shows belie what may really be going on in people’s lives. The end of the year is often extremely stressful trying to plan for the holidays with limited finances, end of year deadlines and responsibilities. In addition, social work events, poor eating and drinking habits, or dealing with increased family stress also occur. Add holiday stress on top of dealing with the loss of a loved one during increasingly cold and dark winter days, and holiday depression finds its way into thousands of lives.

Sadness or Depression

It can be normal to be sad or depressed at any time of the year. The stress of the holidays may trigger sadness or depression for many. Seeing others happy and cheerful, full of generous spirit, may make one feel there is something wrong with them if they do not feel that way. During the months of November and December the stress and anxiety experienced may cause those who are normally content with their lives to experience loneliness, a lack of fulfillment, sadness or depression.

Signs of Holiday Depression

The most common signs of depression are crying, loss of interest in usual activities, fatigue, social withdrawal, feelings of sadness, thoughts of being worthless; additionally, irritability, changes in sleep, weight, appetite, blaming oneself or feeling guilty about a situation or event are commonly seen. These symptoms can come and go during the year. If they become severe or last for more than a couple weeks, it may be more than the holidays causing this. It is time to get professional help, turn your life around letting some joy back into your life.

Statistics of Holiday Depression

Part of feeling depressed can come from being alone, or from having limited support of family and friends. In the U.S. 43% of adults are single and 27% live alone. With senior citizens 17% are single, divorced or widowed over the age of 65 often with health and mobility issues. Women have twice the risk as men for depression. After development of heart disease, depression is the next most debilitating illness for women, 10th for men.

Holiday Depression Help

Holidays are supposed to be a time of joy and celebration, but some people find them anything but happy times. Call the office for a confidential appointment to determine if you have seasonal affective depression, a bout of the blues, or are clinically depressed. Help is available. Call today.

Hidden Depression: 6 Concealed Signs

Many people struggle through life with hidden depression, hiding their depression from others and even from themselves. While help is readily available, many keep their depression concealed, masking their symptoms and putting on a “happy face” or always responding with “I’m fine” when asked how they are.

Reasons for Hiding Your Depression

There can be so many individual reasons for hiding personal depression; however, one reason may be that they do not want to admit or acknowledge the severity of their depression. Other reasons may be that they believe their depression will go away on its own, or may think, “We don’t talk about feeling sad, but push on through life.” It can be a common plight for thousands to believe that having a hidden depression makes them weak and asking for help is the last thing that they should do.

Signs of Hidden Depression

  • Unusual sleep, eating, or drinking habits. When a change in the way a person sleeps or eats occurs, it can be a sign that something is not right in their world. For example: they cannot sleep or they sleep far beyond normal every day; overeating may help someone feel less emotionally empty by “stuffing” themselves; drinking may be used as a means to help cover up the feelings of sadness and loneliness. Others may lose all interest in food or drinking.
  • Wear a “happy face” or “all is well face” so that others may think that indeed all is fine. In addition to the “mask of happiness,” they may avoid or give excuses why they cannot hangout, go out to dinner, go to a get-together, etc.
  • Conversation may turn to topics the person does not normally talk about, with topics tending to focus on what their life has amounted to so far, what the meaning of life is, is life really worth living, would death be a better choice than the life they currently have, is there happiness out there for them, can they change the course their life is on. Hidden depression can change one’s entire outlook on life.
  • Put out an attempted “cry for help” by making that appointment to see a specialist, or by letting some of their hidden feelings out to friends and family. These are attempted cries for help however as they tend to not keep that medical appointment, or they just blow off what they had said as having a bad day and that they did not really mean it.
  • Those with a hidden depression who are keeping all of their emotions bottled up may find “leakage” of emotion, crying during a movie, commercial, or at family event, where they normally would not reveal that side of themselves. Other emotions may come out unexpectedly like flashes of anger, or becoming overly demonstrative with feelings of love and endearment toward others.
  • Exhibit Depressive Realism where they have a more realistic and less optimistic view of world around them. For the most part, it is harder to cover up depressive realism as their viewpoints lack expectation that they will succeed or do well – they may look toward an outcome with a negative foundation that does not fare well for them – for example, they may have applied for a job promotion but say, “I doubt that I’ll get it, let alone be anywhere in the running for it.”

Help for Hidden Depression

Call a local psychiatrist with decades of experience who is ready to help you from taking the first step to recovery to reclaiming the happiness in your life that you deserve.

10 Behaviors that Indicate a Mental Health Problem

People with quirky or eccentric personalities may be more interesting or fun to be around, but when their behaviors become too extreme or negatively impact their lives, there may be something else at play, including the possibility of a mental health disorder. In the U.S., about one in five adults, or almost 44 million people exhibit the occurrence of a mental illness every year.

Signs and Behaviors of Mental Health Issues

You may feel that you are unique and different, or even having a personality that is often misunderstood – when do those thoughts change over to questioning if you need to see a psychiatrist? There are certain behaviors and signs that do signal a need to see a mental health practitioner – if you recognize any of the following in yourself it does not mean you are disturbed or crazy, but rather that your life may be able to benefit from an aspect of mental health guidance and treatment.

  • Difficulty coping with life on a day to day basis, having irrational fears
  • Intense anxiety where every worry is “super-sized” and worst case scenario is expected
  • Feeling overcome with sadness, or feeling down or hopeless on a regular basis that affects your ability to function
  • Unexplained and recurrent headaches, stomach-aches or a rundown immune system
  • Using a substance to cope with daily life; use of alcohol, illegal or prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications or other illicit activities to numb emotional pain
  • Have impulsive or obvious mood swings
  • Cannot shake the impact of recent or past traumatic events
  • Thinking about suicide or hurting one self
  • Serious anger issues, significant irritability, hostility, rage and frequent outbursts of anger
  • Distorted body image along with a highly troubled relationship with food and eating

Help is a Phone Call Away

While the list above does not cover all the mental health issues or concerns a person may have, it does highlight some of the most common behaviors and signs that a comprehensive evaluation by a skilled psychiatrist may provide a diagnosis for. Mental health disorders are treatable. Call for an appointment.

Empty Nest Depression

For thousands of parents, the end of summer also brings the arrival of “the empty nest syndrome,” when one or more children leave home for college. Middle age brings many life changes one of which is having to discover living a new lifestyle – an “empty nest” one.  A parent may experience sadness, grief, loss, and loneliness when the children leave home; for many, these negative feelings may linger on, developing into depression.

Treatment for Empty Nest Depression

It is normal to feel sadness, grief and loss when a child leaves home; however, when those emotions interfere with your daily life it is imperative to seek professional help. Empty nest syndrome’s emotions, fears and depression are treatable. This can be a time to enjoy new freedom in your life as well as realizing that without having a child at home there are new adventures waiting just ahead.

Seek Help with Severe Symptoms

Painful emotions and feelings that become stronger and more severe signal that it is time to seek professional help. Following is a list of symptoms that may occur during empty nest syndrome depression – if you recognize any of these symptoms in yourself, call for mental health help:

  • Excessive crying
  • Feeling that your life is now useless with nothing left to live for
  • Avoidance of friends; relationships damaged
  • Calling in at work; job performance impaired
  • Losing your sense of identity
  • Mood related changes in appetite
  • Constant worry and anxiety over child’s welfare
  • Insomnia, low energy and poor concentration
  • Finding no joy in life any longer
  • Looking for solace in alcohol and drugs
  • Thoughts of suicide or of harming yourself

Empty Nest Syndrome Help

If you experience symptoms of depression that are interfering with your life, call the office to set up a confidential appointment. Learn to manage your symptoms to begin enjoying life once again.

 

Depression is More Than a Mental Disorder

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about 6.7 percent of adults in the United States have depression. Major depression is also called major depressive illness or clinical depression. Major depression is a serious medical condition that has a dramatic effect on your quality of life. Depression is more than a mental disorder as it affects the whole body, affecting one’s physical health and well-being.

Research Shows Depression as Systemic Disease

Science Daily reports in a research article released March 2016 that depression causes alterations in the body’s reaction to stress with such wide ranging effects that it needs to be considered a systemic disease that affects the whole person’s physical health and mental health. Research has shown the significant association depression has with cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and early mortality. Research may also be useful in finding new therapeutic means for the prevention and treatment of the disorder and disease.

Treatment Lowers Risk of Systemic Disease

Harvard Medical School’s study of depression and the link to physical health concerns show that recurrence of cardiovascular problems is linked more closely to depression than to smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol. Left untreated, depression raises the risk of dying after a heart attack. In addition, depression and stress may affect one’s immune system making your body more vulnerable to development of infections and other diseases. Treatment does bring health issues back into normal ranges.

Effects on the Body

While depression is a mental disorder, but it can also impact on your physical health in the following ways:

  • Cognitive Changes (inability to concentrate, memory issues, decision making issues)
  • Weight Problems (over-eating, binging, poor appetite, digestive problems, cramps)
  • Constricted Blood Vessels (increased blood pressure and cardiovascular stress)
  • Weakened Immune System (increased susceptibility to infections and diseases)
  • Aches and Pains (headaches, chronic body aches, pain that does not respond to meds)
  • Heart Attack Outcome
  • Overwhelming Fatigue
  • Insomnia (altered sleeping patterns)

Health Evaluation

Call the area’s psychiatrist who not only has decades of experience in treating depression, but the psychiatrist who is up-to-date on new research data and in treating the body as a whole. Treat your depression and health issues to bring good health and happiness back into your life. Call the office for a confidential appointment.

Empty Nest Syndrome, Depression, and Anxiety

Empty nest syndrome typically refers to the feelings of depression, grief, sadness or anxiety experienced by parents when their children, especially their last child leaves home for college, a job or marriage. While women predominantly make up the majority of those dealing with empty nest syndrome, men can also experience similar feelings of loss when their children leave home.

Empty Nest Syndrome and Depression or Anxiety Disorder

Empty nest syndrome may be responsible for feeling sad or depressed. These feelings are normal during this time of change. Feeling anxious as your child moves on to start their life away from home is also a normal reaction to experience. It is not normal however to let those feelings interfere with your daily life. Men and women who find themselves weighed down by loneliness, sadness, and negative emotions may develop depression which requires professional help.

Effects of Additional Life Changes

While dealing with the symptoms and depression associated with empty nest syndrome other factors can come into play that makes a parent even more vulnerable to developing clinical depression. Additional life changes include grieving for loss of a loved one, caring for an elderly frail parent, coming to terms with their place in the changing workforce, or facing retirement and any financial constraints that go along with that. Women have an additional strain as the empty nest syndrome often occurs along with perimenopause and menopause and their own challenge of living with fluctuating hormones.

Monitor Empty Nest Symptoms

It is important to keep track of your reactions and how long they may last. If you find yourself crying excessively, unable to function at work or with your daily routine, fearful and anxious about not knowing what your child is doing or if they are safe, or find yourself withdrawing from friends or family, please seek professional help. Depression and anxiety are treatable.

Empty Nest Psychiatrist

Making an appointment with a qualified psychiatrist will help you change the overwhelming sadness into excitement for your child’s new life adventures, and how you can continue to be an active part of their lives now and into the future. Call for a confidential appointment today.