Depression, Therapy Services

Group Therapy for Depression: How it Works

Do you ever feel like you’re the only one struggling? Depression tends to have that effect. Many people struggling with depression feel that they must suffer alone, but this isn’t true Group therapy for depression has helped thousands of people get much needed support and reduces the effects of isolation that often plague those with depression. 


How Does Therapy Help Treat Depression?

Someone seeks therapy for their depression typically because they feel stuck and don’t know the way forward. With therapy, you have a place to explore and discover the underlying issues that keep you stuck and find healthy ways to cope. Therapy helps you move from a place of hopelessness to a place of confidence and purpose. Therapy comes in every shape and size from individual, to group, to family or couple’s therapy. 

A group therapy group for depression


What To Expect in Group Therapy

In a group of roughly 5-15 people, you will work with a psychologist who leads and guides the group. In group therapy for depression, the psychologist of the group will work with the group to build coping skills that help with depression and provide other tools and insights that work to improve the debilitating symptoms of depression. There are a wide range of topics that can be covered in a group therapy session. 

  • Coping skills
  • Relationship and Social skills
  • Setting boundaries
  • Building self-esteem and confidence
  • Overcoming fears


Why Choose Group Therapy?

Social support and interaction are important for people struggling with depression. Depression is isolating and stigmatizing, leaving people with depression feeling even worse. There are tons of ways you can benefit from group therapy.

Fight Isolation

Depression can make it difficult to socialize, and the effects of isolation irritate symptoms of depression and make things worse. When you self-isolate, you start to feel like you’re the only one fighting this painful battle. Through group support, you will find that your group members feel similarly, and helps to normalize suffering. 

Therapy in a group can be a great option if you struggle with feeling connected to the outside world. Group therapy is a healthy container for creating social connections and ultimately helps you feel less alone in your struggles. 

Accountability

Sometimes it takes a village. If you’re someone who performs better with social pressure, group therapy could be the right environment for you. In group therapy, you are surrounded by people who are also there to achieve their goals. You have a whole room of people that you will feel accountable to. If you struggle to hold yourself accountable, which is normal with depression, being accountable to a group will help you stay focused on recovery.

Improve Confidence

Group therapy doesn’t just provide a support system, it’s also an enriching experience for those who have issues with self-esteem. It’s especially helpful to experience someone with depression getting better. When someone in the group is able to share a personal success, it helps prove to you what is possible for your health. This encouraging environment leaves you more confident in your own abilities to heal and cope with depression.

Supportive Environment

Everyone in a support group is there for the same reason – to get better and beat depression. In group therapy for depression, you have a group of people willing to be honest and open with you as you sort out your emotions.

You will also learn a lot through the stories you hear from other group members and what they struggle with. Exposure to struggles from other people helps you understand your own struggles better. All of these factors make group therapy a supportive environment for your recovery.

Gain Multiple Perspectives

Not only will you get to work with a psychologist, but you get to work with people who are struggling just like you. The stories you hear in group therapy will help you on your own journey and get validation in how you feel. Members of your group will also get to help you with your issues by offering their own unique perspective. This is often an eye opening experience for those new to group therapy. The collaborative aspect of group therapy will help you think clearer and offers a new way of seeing things. 


What Makes Group Therapy Successful? 

 With the right leader and a group of people who are dedicated to healing, group therapy can be an effective way to fight depression. A successful group is aware of the ground rules, understands the objectives, and is on the same page about what therapy will look like within group sessions. There are a few key qualities of group therapy that will bring the best results. 

  • Everyone is as honest as possible
  • Topics discussed in session remain confidential
  • Concerns and questions are immediately addressed
  • Group members engage with each other in a respectful manner
  • Fun and vulnerability are encouraged but not forced


When To Seek Group Therapy

If you have experienced symptoms of depression for a prolonged period of time and haven’t seen improvement, it’s time to seek support. Someone people who have tried individual therapy may also benefit from trying group therapy. If you struggle most with the effects of isolation, group therapy can be beneficial to your mental health and fight feelings of loneliness that often come with depression. 


Possible Disadvantages of Group Therapy

While many people find success with group therapy, it’s not for everyone. If you have severe social phobia, working within a group may hold you back from experiencing the full benefits that group therapy has to offer. Some patients may find it intimidating and have a hard time being vulnerable. 

Group therapy can also be difficult for those with severe depression, because it requires being able to engage with an entire room of people. If these are not concerns for you, group therapy can still be an option with many benefits. 


Group Therapy Alternatives

Some people don’t find success through group therapy but still need help. There are complementary and alternative therapies that provide relief to the many people who suffer from depression. Always talk with your doctor about your issues and concerns so they can provide you with the most optimized treatment plan.

Individual Therapy

If group therapy is too overwhelming for you, individual therapy with a psychologist is a better option. Individual therapy will provide an environment that feels safer to be vulnerable and open with your therapist about your fears and issues. Some people use individual and group therapy to get the unique benefits that both therapies provide. 

TMS Therapy

If you don’t like the idea of medication and fail to find what you need with talk therapy, TMS is an alternative therapy for depression that is effective and safe. Through the use of magnetic pulses, TMS stimulates the areas of the brain responsible for depression. This alternative therapy is FDA approved to treat depression 

Creative Therapy

Using creative therapies like art and music have been shown to increase feelings of wellbeing and decrease symptoms of depression for many. You can talk with your therapist about the types of creative therapy that will work for you. Creative therapy is an individual experience, so what works well for one person may induce anxiety for another. There are many creative outlets to choose from that can provide therapeutic benefits to the depressed mind.

  • Poetry
  • Dance
  • Music
  • Painting
  • Sculpting
  • Yoga
  • Meditation


We Have Therapy Options!

Everyone has different needs for their mental health. We are an anxiety and depression therapy center with a mission to provide patients with medical services for every aspect of their health. Whether you’re seeking individual or group therapy, or need help with pain management, we strive to provide you with a personalized care experience. Reach out to us at (301) 363-1063 if you have any questions or want to schedule a consultation!

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A group therapy group for depression
Depression

Is There an Alternative to Antidepressants?

Depression continues to rise each year, affecting approximately 1 in 4 Americans. As one of the most common mental health disorders worldwide, the options for treatment have come a long way. Antidepressants are the leading drug used to treat and minimize symptoms of depression. 

While antidepressants help thousands of people cope with depression and improve their life, those with co-occurring disorders like addiction can run into problems with this type of therapy. Some people seek treatments for depression with similar effects of antidepressants, without the negative side effects and risk of dependence. 

There are other reasons that people seek alternatives to antidepressants, like treatment-resistant depression. Some patients may look for something in addition to medication. Either way – if you’re seeking safe alternatives to antidepressants for depression, there are many options to choose from. 


What do Antidepressants do for Depression?

Antidepressants are one of the most common ways that clinical depression is treated and are commonly used to treat other mental health disorders like anxiety, PTSD, and OCD. Depression is characterized by decreased activity in certain areas of the brain that affect mood, hormone regulation, and dealing with stress. These areas include the hippocampus, amygdala, and the prefrontal cortex.

Antidepressant medication is used to increase activity in these previously mentioned regions of the brain. This increased activity is known to improve symptoms of depression like low mood and suppressed appetite. As good as this sounds, antidepressants can sometimes come with many side effects that are unpleasant like apathy, weight gain, and fatigue. 


Lifestyle Factors That Affect Risk of Depression

First and foremost, there are numerous lifestyle factors that can affect symptoms of depression. Leading a healthy lifestyle and taking preventative measures for your health will increase your chances of avoiding or minimizing the plague of depression. Many studies point to the fact that poor lifestyle factors have strong links to mental illness, and healthy factors provide antidepressant qualities. Below are a few ways your lifestyle can support better mental health. 

Regular Exercise

If physical inactivity leads to depression, then the opposite is true. Exercise is a natural antidepressant. Physical activity releases natural happy chemicals that support mood regulation. For best results, it’s important to get regular exercise of at least 30 minutes 3 to 5 days a week.

Consistent Sleep Schedule

Chronic sleep deprivation and poor sleep habits can lead to mental health problems like depression and makes existing problems worse. Your sleep is an imperative part of your wellness and most areas of health require quality sleep. Keeping a regular sleep schedule helps to avoid sleep problems and helps regulate your sleep cycles for optimal results. 

Balanced Diet

Food is another pillar of wellness that contributes to your mental health. Sugar and processed foods increase inflammation in the body and worsen symptoms of depression. Lacking a diet in essential nutrients also contributes to poor mental health. Ensuring that your diet is rich with omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, vitamin D, and other important nutrients will help increase your chances of avoiding depression. 

Exposure to Sunlight 

Lack of vitamin D not only affects your physical health but your mental health too. Sunlight helps naturally produce vitamin D and increases the release of serotonin, known for regulating mood and increasing focus.

Mindfulness and Relaxation

Depressive thoughts and rumination contribute to the negative feelings that come with depression. Mindfulness is a safe and healthy alternative to antidepressants. Practicing mindfulness can be used to reduce brain fog, anxiety, and symptoms of depression. You can use techniques like breathwork, meditation, and body-scanning to increase mindfulness. 

Limit Daily Screen Time

While technology is fairly new, there are definite links to screen time and depression. Those who spend more time on screens are more likely to be depressed. Excessive screen time also leads to other problems that contribute to depression, like sleep dysregulation and brain fog. Regulating your screen time can help stave off symptoms of depression. 


Complementary and Alternative Options to Antidepressants

If you’ve had a negative experience with antidepressants or simply desire an alternative, there are a number of safe and effective treatment options to choose from. The options presented below can be taken ahead of choosing antidepressant medication as well. Some patients with more severe depression may need more than one treatment. These therapies and treatments are sometimes combined with antidepressants to maximize treatment. 

TMS Therapy

If you have treatment resistant depression, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) could be an effective option for you. TMS is a drug free and safe alternative to antidepressants that is considered effective with minimal side effects. TMS therapy provides relief from severe symptoms of depression using short pulses of magnetic energy to stimulate nerve cells in the brain. 

This noninvasive procedure requires a round of 30-36 treatment sessions but the treatment has a high success rate for depression. TMS involves magnetic pulses that stimulate nerve cells in areas of the brain that affects depression. We partner with Gemini TMS to provide you with the most effective treatment for your needs using an individualized treatment plan. Many patients say they feel like a different person after finishing TMS therapy.

Stellate Ganglion Block Injections

SGB injections can be a great option if you have depression along with anxiety and PTSD. SGB injections are the use of local anesthesia to disrupt the nerves that are hyperactive during a major depressive episode. These hyperactive nerves keep the body in a perpetual state of stress. 

Blocking the nerve signals responsible for depression allows the brain to reset. Many people report feeling an immediate sense of calm after an SGB injection. The good news is that SGB is low risk aside from initial bruising and discomfort. The better news is that SGB injections have lasting effects and patients often feel relief for a few months and even up to a few years. 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

With the help of a therapist, cognitive behavior therapy is a highly successful talk therapy that aims to change the way you think. Often combined with medication, CBT is used to identify unhelpful thought processes and challenge them.

CBT may require “homework” that is to be completed outside of sessions. While this requires a lot of effort, it is considered very effective if you are willing to put in the work. CBT is popular amongst therapists and known for treating various mental health disorders, such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD.

IV Ketamine

Ketamine is becoming a revolutionary treatment for mental health conditions like depression. Intravenous Ketamine infusions consist of administering ketamine through an IV. Ketamine is an anesthetic that activates the neurotransmitter in the brain that is responsible for mood regulation. Ketamine works to repair synapses and effectively rewires the brain. 

Popularly used to treat conditions like depression, bipolar disorder, and PTSD, ketamine is a great option in alternative to antidepressants. . 

Lithium

Often taken in tandem with antidepressants, lithium has long been used to help with symptoms of depression. Lithium is a naturally occurring organic element that acts as a mood stabilizer by increasing certain chemicals in the brain. Lithium also helps reduce the frequency and severity of depressive episodes and reduces risk of suicide.

Neurofeedback 

Also known as EEG biofeedback, neurofeedback is a medication-free approach to treating mental health conditions. Neurofeedback works by using sensors to record brainwave activity. A program then analyzes your brain activity and provides positive reinforcement when the brain meets certain goals. 

Through the use of positive reinforcement, this process teaches the brain to form healthier habits and more balanced thoughts. You can think of this training like exercise for the brain. Neurofeedback may be an option for treatment resistant depression, and the risk factors are significantly low, making it a safe alternative to antidepressants. 

Acupuncture

A thousand-year-old practice, acupuncture is a holistic procedure that uses needles that are placed into specific parts of the skin to release chemicals and neurotransmitters. These chemicals and neurotransmitters are known to help with levels of stress and anxiety by helping with mood regulation and boosting feelings of wellbeing. 


Looking for options?

Gemini Health offers therapy services for depression and anxiety and can provide you with the alternatives you’re looking for. Our dedicated team of mental health professionals offering individual and group therapy and TMS therapy. Avoid the negative side effects of antidepressants by reaching out to Gemini Health today. Reach out to us at (301) 363-1063 and speak with our amazing staff about scheduling an appointment!

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Anxiety, Depression, PTSD

Benefits Of Ketamine For Anxiety, Depression, and PTSD

Nearly one in five adults in the US live with a mental illness. But not everyone benefits from the same treatment options. The good news is that there are different treatments to try, including ketamine. 

Ketamine can draw a mixture of reactions. Some people have never heard of it before, whereas others will remember its history as a wartime anesthetic or think of it as a party drug. However, using ketamine for anxiety, depression, complex PTSD, and other psychological disorders is a breakthrough treatment option.

Are you interested in learning more about ketamine therapy for anxiety and other disorders? Read on for everything you need to know. 


What Is Ketamine?

Ketamine was first discovered in the 1960s and was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as an anesthetic in the 1970s. It was used during the Vietnam War for injured soldiers as it is an anesthetic that does not require a ventilator.

It is now used in different ways, including in veterinary medicine and as a common sedative in pediatric emergency care. Some people use it recreationally, which is why it is only legal by prescription only. 

Ketamine produces a dissociative experience, which can be described as a trance-like state. There are different types of ketamine, with two main types being used for psychological treatment. These are:

The types of ketamine interact differently with the brain, but both are effective treatment options. However, it can treat treatment-resistant depression and other psychological disorders, such as complex PTSD and anxiety. What type of ketamine you receive depends on your doctor's assessment of your needs and where you receive treatment.

 

How Does Ketamine Work?

Research is still being done to determine how ketamine precisely works. However, what is known is that it produces important and useful effects. There is evidence that it can work in different ways in the brain to relieve depression and other psychological disorders:

  • Stimulates neural activity
  • Increases neuroplasticity for new thought patterns 

When the ketamine dose is administered, the experience can last around two hours, but its benefits last after treatment finishes. The experience can include feelings of unreality, euphoria, and distortions. Ketamine therapy for anxiety and other psychological disorders is done in safe clinical settings with medical supervision.

 

How Does Ketamine Work for Depression? 

Ketamine for depression and other psychological disorders works differently than when it is used as an anesthetic. A lower dose is given, with the focus on the other effects ketamine produces. It depends if you are given the nasal spray or IV treatment, but both offer benefits for depression. 

For example, studies have found that ketamine triggers glutamate production, which helps the brain produce new neural connections, which can be lifesaving for people with depression. It helps them break negative thought patterns and behaviors, open up to new perspectives, and become more receptive to therapy.

Ketamine likely increases glutamate production because it connects to NMDA receptors in the brain. This allows it to create more glutamate between neurons. Glutamate triggers connections in AMPA receptions, which help other neurons communicate more efficiently.

The result includes changes in mood and thought patterns. There are suggestions that ketamine works for depression in different ways, such as opening communication between other parts of the brain. It may also reduce inflammation signals, which can contribute to depression.


Ketamine for Anxiety 

Ketamine for anxiety works in different ways. Depression and anxiety are often connected, so the changes to glutamate also help reduce anxiety symptoms.

Studies have found that ketamine can help with a variety of anxiety disorders, including:

Often ketamine therapy for anxiety will be done alongside other treatment forms, such as therapy. This means you have sufficient reduction in anxiety symptoms to benefit from other treatments, such as therapy, which can help you get to the root cause of anxiety.

Ketamine opens you to different perspectives, which can help you reach new realizations. It can help you move forward with your recovery journey. 


Ketamine for Complex PTSD

Ketamine for PTSD can also be beneficial. As with depression and anxiety, glutamate plays a role in stress response, traumatic memory formation, and other symptoms of PTSD.

Because ketamine targets glutamate, it can help the brain release trauma and ease symptoms of PTSD. Studies have found that PTSD severity reduces in patients who have ketamine therapy. 


Benefits of Ketamine

There is a reason why ketamine has been used for so many years. It offers a variety of benefits, which have helped patients in many ways. Here are the top benefits of ketamine therapy for anxiety, depression, and other psychological disorders. 


Immediate Effect

The benefits of ketamine are almost immediate. It can rapidly reduce symptoms of depression and other psychological disorders. You do not have to wait, which can speed up the recovery process and can be lifesaving for people who are experiencing suicidal ideation. 

Patients are able to see changes that motivate them to continue with their treatment. This may involve other interventions, too, such as counseling. They do not have to wait for new medications to work to engage in their treatment plan.

Although ketamine has a rapid effect, several doses are usually required for long-lasting impact. Usually, the effects of one dose last for around a week. 


Maintenance Doses Possible 

Ketamine is a safe intervention under supervision, which means medical professionals can create treatment plans for IV ketamine. Patients can receive IV ketamine for a set period of time, such as weekly for twelve weeks. This enables them to focus on overcoming their psychological disorder.

 

Safe to Use Under Medical Supervision

Medical staff used ketamine during the Vietnam war because it is an anesthetic that does not slow breathing or heart rate. Patients need to use it under medical supervision because of the risks causal use presents. There are several side effects and the risk of addiction if people chase the euphoria of the experience.

However, under medical supervision, it is safe to use to treat psychological disorders. Usually, it is for people who have treatment-resistant psychological disorders. But ketamine therapy is becoming increasingly common in the mental health field. 


Physical Health Benefits

Ketamine can help reduce pain, which is why medical professionals use it to treat neuropathic conditions and as an anesthetic. However, many people who experience psychological disorders also experience physical pain. Ketamine can relieve this burden and help patients who use opioids or other substances for pain relief. 


Allows New Thought Processes

One of the biggest benefits of ketamine for PTSD, anxiety, and other psychological disorders is that it improves synapse growth. It rewires connections between neurons, so new thought processes are easier to access. It can be difficult to break thought patterns, which is why ketamine for anxiety and other disorders can be so beneficial. 


Reduces Safety Risks

Ketamine can also reduce safety risks associated with mental health disorders. For example, it can reduce the severity of symptoms, such as:

  • Suicidal ideation
  • Self-harm thoughts
  • Isolation
  • Paranoia 
  • Compulsive behaviors
  • Substance abuse

Sometimes patients cannot wait for a traditional SSRI to work. Ketamine opens the gateway for more treatment possibilities that empower the patient while keeping them safe. It also provides peace of mind for loved ones who may be worrying about the severity of symptoms. 


Take Advantage of Therapy 

There are different types of therapy available for psychological disorders. Therapies include:

The type of therapy you need depends on the psychological disorder you experience and your personal needs. However often the symptoms of psychological disorders make it difficult to engage in therapeutic interventions.

Ketamine therapy can help relieve the symptoms that act as a barrier to therapy. It can allow the patient to access therapy and attend. Or it can help them get more out of their therapy sessions. 


Fewer Side Effects

Most mental health treatments involve side effects of some kind. However, the benefits of a treatment can outweigh the risks. However, most of the ketamine's possible side effects are not long-term. 

These side effects can include:

  • Nausea and vomiting 
  • High blood pressure 
  • Dissociation 
  • Perceptual disturbances

Most side effects just last for the first IV ketamine infusion and end soon after. This is different from some other mental health treatments, which can include long-term side effects. However, more research is being done into frequent and long-term ketamine usage. 


Research Support

Research on ketamine therapy for anxiety, depression, and other psychological disorders is promising. This is why it is now being used as a mental health treatment option. And research continues to grow, making it possible for ketamine to be a more common mental health treatment.


Ketamine for Depression in Maryland 

Ketamine offers many benefits as a mental health treatment. It can help people overcome psychological disorders and continue on their recovery journey. However, it is essential to pick a reputable provider who offers ketamine for anxiety and other psychological disorders.


Are you looking for ketamine for depression in Maryland? Gemini Health Elkridge Maryland offers ketamine for PTSD in Maryland, along with other conditions. Contact us today to learn more. 

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A man with depression wearing a blue shirt with his hands on his face
Depression

Types of Depression

Depression is extremely common, with it being a leading cause of disability across the world and an estimated 5% of adults suffering from it globally. Depression is actually classified into several different types, with the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (currently known as the DSM-5) being the standard that is used to classify mental disorders, such as depression. The DSM-5 breaks down the definition of depression and the different types to better help mental health professionals to be able to diagnose patients, treat those patients appropriately, and conduct further research. 

 

What is Major Depression? 

Major depressive disorder is known as a serious mood disorder that causes continuous bouts of sadness that can be extremely debilitating. Major depression is characterized by a loss of interest in regular activities and a variety of physical and behavioral symptoms. Also known as clinical depression, symptoms must be present for at least two consecutive weeks and there must be a noticeable change in the person’s level of functioning in their daily life. Common symptoms include changes in sleep (either sleeping too much or sleeping too little), changes in appetite, lower energy levels, trouble focusing, accompanying irritability and/or anxiety. It is also thought that women are affected more by depression than men, although this could be because men underreport and do not seek help due to social stigmas. 

Depression is not merely the occasional feeling of sadness, which everyone experiences at times, and often requires treatment in order to overcome. Depression treatment can be long-term depending on the severity of symptoms and first-line treatment typically involves psychotherapy, consisting of talk therapy, and antidepressants. 

What are the Other Types of Depression? 

Different depression types are classified and diagnosed depending on the specific set of symptoms that people experience, as there is some overlap of symptoms but also key differences, and the way people are affected by their depression. These are the forms of depression that are currently listed in the DSM-5: 
 

  • Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): Also called seasonal depression, it predominantly affects people in the colder months of fall and winter. This is when the Earth is furthest away from the Sun and people are exposed to very little sunlight on a daily basis. SAD is associated with disruptions in the circadian rhythm and imbalances in the chemicals in the brain, leading to depression. Symptoms also generally start at the end of fall or the beginning of winter when the days start to become shorter. Common symptoms include having low energy, feeling listless, sleeping too much, overeating (craving carbohydrates) and weight gain, feeling worthless, and feeling listless. For it to be diagnosed, major depressive symptoms must be present for a specific season at least two years in a row, although not everyone will experience symptoms every year. 

 

  • Peripartum Depression: Also known as postpartum depression, it is a type of depression that starts during pregnancy (peripartum) or within four weeks after a person has given birth (postpartum). This is more than just the “baby blues,” as it is an actual form of mild depression that can be diagnosed, however it generally goes away on its own around one to two weeks after it starts. Postpartum depression is most often characterized by feelings of extreme sadness, fatigue, withdrawal from family and friends, loss of interest in things that were once enjoyable, loss of interest in the baby, or even thoughts of harming the baby. People are also highly likely to experience anxiety along with the depression symptoms. Postpartum depression is a serious mental health disorder and should be treated as such and anyone experiencing severe symptoms needs to seek medical attention for the appropriate treatment.  

 

  • Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD): Premenstrual dysphoric disorder is often thought to be PMS, or premenstrual syndrome, but they are two separate disorders. It is classified differently from PMS because it is a much more severe disorder and can be very debilitating. PMDD symptoms will begin one to two weeks before a person’s period starts and will end two to three days after their period starts. Symptoms of PMDD are mood swings, depressed mood, irritability, decreased interest in daily activities, sense of being out of control, problems with being able to sleep, lack of energy, changes in appetite, weight gain, bloating, and breast tenderness. The underlying cause of PMDD is not currently known, although it is thought that hormonal changes play a part.  

 

  • Persistent Depressive Disorder (Dysthymia): Previously referred to as dysthymic disorder, persistent depressive disorder is a chronic form of depression that is less severe than major depression. One of the key differences between persistent depressive disorder and major depression is the length of time people usually experience it. Those with persistent depressive disorder will have symptoms of depression for more days than not for at least two years, which is significantly longer than major depression. The symptoms also can’t be absent for more than two consecutive months for it to be considered persistent depressive disorder. Symptoms include depressed mood, poor appetite or overeating, insomnia, fatigue, low energy, and a general feeling of being “down in the dumps.” Persistent depressive disorder can greatly affect a person’s daily life, such as at school, work, or with relationships.  
     
  • Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder (DMDD): This is a childhood condition that usually occurs between the ages of six and eighteen. Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder will appear in children as irritability, anger, and frequent temper outbursts that are significantly worse than normal child moodiness. For there to be a diagnosis of DMDD, these extreme temper outbursts must present themselves at least three times a week and symptoms must occur for at least one year, with the onset of symptoms before the age of ten. The temper tantrums will also interfere with a child's ability to function at home, in school, and interact with other children or adults.  
     
  • Bipolar Disorders: Bipolar disorders (there are three types) cause extreme mood swings and when people are experiencing low mood as part of the cycle of bipolar disorder it actually meets the criteria of major depression, which is also referred to as bipolar depression. When someone with bipolar disorder, usually either bipolar disorder I or bipolar disorder II, experiences the depression side they will display classic symptoms of depression such as feeling sad, having low energy levels, changes in sleep (either sleeping too much or too little), changes in appetite (either eating too much or too little), having difficulty with concentration, and a loss of interest in activities. Symptoms usually last about 2 weeks and episodes of depression can happen rarely or several times a year. 

How Depression is Treated 

Depression is most commonly treated with either psychotherapy or medication, known as antidepressants. The most effective treatment utilizes both. Cognitive behavioral therapy is one of the types of psychotherapy that is widely used to treat depression, along with others like dialectical behavior therapy and psychodynamic therapy. CBT is a form of talk therapy that helps people identify negative thought patterns and behaviors and change those patterns/behaviors.  


Antidepressants are also prescribed as a means to change a person’s mood by altering the chemicals in the brain, called neurotransmitters (ex. Serotonin and Dopamine). Some of the common categories of antidepressants are SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors), SNRIs (Serotonin Noradrenaline Reuptake Inhibitors), TCAs (Tricyclic antidepressants), MAOIs (Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors), and NASSAs (Noradrenaline and Specific Serotonergic Antidepressants). They generally will start working within 2-4 weeks but may take a few months to show whether they are actually effective or not. 

 

Those with treatment resistant depression may need to seek services, such as transcranial magnetic therapy (TMS) in order to finally overcome their depression. TMS therapy is a non-invasive procedure that is usually referred to when traditional methods have failed. 

Want to See a Therapist? 

If you are interested in seeking help for a mental health disorder or any mental health issues you may be experiencing then reach out to Gemini Health for the appropriate treatment. Our healthcare professionals are highly skilled and experienced to provide you with quality health services. They offer both individual and group therapy, as well as access to psychiatrists for all patients. Plus there are no wait times to join groups. Call (301) 363-1063 and speak to our staff to schedule your appointment today!  

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Depression

Thyroid and Depression

Can thyroid problems lead to the development of depression? Unfortunately, there is a known link between thyroid, depression, and anxiety. Thyroid disorders can contribute to mental health conditions and mood problems. There are two majorly recognized thyroid conditions, which are hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. An overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) can cause anxiety, and an underperforming thyroid (hypothyroidism) can trigger depression. According to the American Thyroid Association, an estimated twenty million Americans have some form of thyroid disease and up to sixty percent of those with thyroid disease are unaware of their condition. They also show that women are five times to eight times more likely than men to develop thyroid problems and one in eight women will have a thyroid disorder at some point in her life. 


What Is the Thyroid and What Does It Do?

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland that produces hormones that help to regulate many of the body’s functions. The thyroid is a vital part of the endocrine system, which is made up of a network of glands that create and release hormones. Located at the front of the neck, under the voice box, the thyroid gland releases a steady flow of thyroid hormones throughout the body, impacting the body’s metabolism and development. As part of the endocrine system, it plays an important role in the way the body breaks down food and converts it to energy. This affects processes in the body, such as temperature regulation, heart rate, the effectiveness of burning calories, menstrual cycles, cholesterol levels, breathing, and many other functions. The thyroid utilizes iodine, which is found in food and makes three hormones. These hormones are triiodothyronine, also called T3, tetraiodothyronine also called thyroxine or T4, and calcitonin. Too much or too little of these hormones can seriously mess with the body’s systems. Some of the most common thyroid disorders are goiters, hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, solitary thyroid nodules, thyroid cancer, and thyroiditis.  


Hypothyroidism

Your thyroid plays a critical role when regulating mood and emotion. In addition, if your thyroid is not producing enough of the hormones your body needs then bodily functions can be affected, which can leave you feeling rundown. Physical symptoms of an underperforming thyroid can include:
 

  • Fatigue 
  • Sluggishness 
  • Trouble Concentrating 
  • Slow Heart Rate 
  • Sensitivity to Cold 
  • Joint or Muscle Pain 
  • Tingling in Hands and Feet 
  • Weight Gain 
  • Constipation 
  • Dryness of Skin 
  • Brittle or Thick Nails 
  • Hair Thinning or Loss 
  • Menstrual Period Changes 

Depression is associated with hypothyroidism, as the thyroid condition creates an imbalance of hormones in the body that can lead to depression symptoms. Thankfully hypothyroidism and depression can be improved with proper treatment. This particular thyroid disease can easily be diagnosed through a simple blood test that checks your thyroid hormone levels. However, keep in mind that your doctor may not instantly make the connection that your depression is due to low thyroid levels. So, it may be worth mentioning in an appointment if you have any of these symptoms and suspect that you may have a problem with your thyroid.  


Your Thyroid and Depression

Even though depression has been linked to thyroid problems and hypothyroidism, the exact mechanisms underlying the interactions between this organ and mental health have not been fully discovered. The research suggests that in hypothyroidism, TSH levels are not as responsive to TRH, or thyrotropin-releasing hormone, which stimulates the TSH to do its job. TSH, or thyroid-stimulating hormone, is a pituitary hormone that triggers the thyroid gland to produce the hormones thyroxine (T4 or tetraiodothyronine) and triiodothyronine (T3) that regulate bodily functions.   


Since these hormones regulate the way your body uses energy, a lack of these hormones can reduce the amount of energy the body has to work properly. Thyroid problems can also affect you physically and make you feel poorly overall.  Energy levels and physical strength plays a major role in depression and the state of people’s overall mental health. Having lower energy levels can affect your cognition and brain functioning, which can contribute to feelings of depression. When you feel physically run down, you are less likely to be able to take care of yourself in the way you need, such as cooking healthy food and exercising. You may also struggle with everyday activities, like work and school and socialization, and may find yourself staying at home more, which can lead to feelings of isolation. All of these factors can cause depression or exacerbate your existing depression.  

 

Treatment of Thyroid Problems and Depression

After testing your thyroid levels and detecting an imbalance, your doctor will review the results with you and the impacts on your mental health. If you feel you are experiencing depression directly related to an improperly functioning thyroid, your doctor will be able to determine the best course of treatment moving forward. Thyroid medication is the usual course for those with some type of thyroid disease, such as hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism.

 

If you have hypothyroidism, thyroid medication can either boost the hormones produced or replace those hormones entirely. The intention of prescribing thyroid medication is to regulate these hormones and get them back to a normal level to restore healthy bodily functions. If you are struggling with depression then it may also reduce or completely stop your depression by regulating thyroid hormones that can cause depression. However, if thyroid medicine alone is not enough and your symptoms of depression do not go away then your doctor may consider antidepressants, such as SSRIs. SSRIs or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are the typical class of antidepressants that are used to treat depression. Talk therapy may also be added into the course of treatment for the maximum benefits.  


Can Thyroid Medicine Cause Depression?

The short and simple answer is no, there is no research that supports thyroid medicine causing thyroid depression. Those who are being treated for hypothyroidism with thyroid medicine can develop depression, but this stems from the hypothyroidism and not the medication itself. However, research does suggest that medication that treats depression can lower the hormone levels that the thyroid produces and trigger symptoms of hypothyroidism.  


Need Help for Depression?

If you are looking for therapy services for mental health concerns, or if you have any questions regarding our services, call Gemini Health today! Our highly skilled mental health professionals are experienced in treating various mental and behavioral health concerns. They offer both individual and group therapy. Plus, there are no wait times to join groups. Call (301) 363-1063 and speak to our staff to schedule your appointment today!  

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Depression

LGBTQ+ and Depression

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Questioning individuals (LGBTQ+) span across  several diverse communities. While this may be a large community of individuals, the LGBTQ+ community has been routinely, and unfairly marginalized in society. While societal attitudes have grown and improved, this marginalized group still experiences depression at a higher rate than the heterosexual population due to still existing negative attitudes. Depression affects millions of people, but the LGBTQ+ community experiences depression (and depression symptoms) at a disproportionate rate. Misplaced, and antiquated cultural stigmas can make non-heterosexual individuals targets of bullying, abuse, and assault because of their sexual and gender expression. 

Hostile environments can cause several challenges for many LGBTQ+ youth and adults, increasing the chances for an individual to experience depression and anxiety. With this in mind, it is important to create systems of support and develop coping methods. For some LGBTQ+ individuals, their depression may be rooted from trauma experienced due to their orientation. The victimization they experienced as youths can establish itself as treatment resistant depression. And this is how TMS can help. 

TMS or transcranial magnetic stimulation is an ideal treatment method for LGBTQ+ individuals who suffer from lingering and severe depression. When anyone experiences persistent depression, the body becomes accustomed to receiving a constant release of anxiety and depression signals from the brain. TMS stimulates the areas of the brain that have been inactive, and thus unable to release the serotonin that can combat the depression signals. It is absolutely critical to note that TMS is NOT ECT (electroconvulsive therapy). Establishing this distinction is important because of the fraught history of ECT being used to “treat homosexuality.” Shock therapy was cruelly used on LGBTQ individuals as a means to “cure them.” While society has grown and the DSM has been updated, this collective memory still exists in the community. The electromagnetic stimulation that TMS provides is to provide relief from treatment resistant depression. TMS can begin alleviating the heavy veil of depression and anxiety, helping patients begin living full lives.

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Depression

When Antidepressants Stop Working

Depression is experienced by millions of people over the world. Many people experiencing depression reach out to medical professionals to help them manage their mental health and symptoms. Individuals suffering from depression typically begin with an evaluation from a mental health professional like a psychiatrist and schedule talk therapy with counselors. In many cases, and depending on the severity of the depression, a psychiatrist will also prescribe antidepressants to help manage the depression symptoms. 


What are antidepressants?

Antidepressants are medications that are prescribed to help relieve an individual suffering from depression, mood disorders, and anxiety. The most common antidepressant prescribed are SSRI’s (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors). Used in treating clinical depression, SSRI’s block serotonin from being reabsorbed into the brain’s neurons, allowing them to be available in the body. The available serotonin then improves the messaging from the brain, releasing mood enhancing signals. SSRI’s improve the chemical balances of the brain that cause chronic depression, allowing for the individual to begin experiencing relief. When prescribed antidepressants, it is very important for patients to always take the medication as prescribed. But what happens when they stop working? Or you can’t handle the side effects? 


Why do antidepressants stop working?

Many people have experienced relief from their chronic depression with the help of antidepressants. They maintain a medication regimen for years that helps them combat and manage their depression. But sometimes they stop working, and the individual experiences a depression relapse. Some signs to look out for when you think your medication is no longer working:

  • Your mood seems low
  • Changes in your appetite or sleeping patterns
  • Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities
  • Increasing desire to isolate

There may be countless of reasons why your antidepressant has stopped working. More than likely, it is due to tachyphylaxis. Tachyphlaxis is a medical term used to describe when a previously effective medication is no longer successfully treating your condition. Just like other chronic illnesses, depression can progress in severity over time. And it will need new approaches in treatment. Transcranial magnetic stimulation (or TMS) can help these individuals. A noninvasive form of treatment, TMS is a therapy that sends out magnetic pulses to specific areas of the brain connected with mood, stimulating these regions that have been long inactive. 

If you’re suffering from breakthrough depression, and would like to explore your options with TMS, you will first need to be evaluated by a mental health professional to determine you are a good candidate. Once established, the patient can discuss their options with their psychiatrist, such as combining different therapy options for their treatment resistant depression. Patients can utilize TMS as a treatment by itself or in conjunction with their medication and talk therapy. Each person is different, and the nature of their severe depression can vary. But TMS makes long-term remission possible.

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Depression

Covid and Depression

To say COVID-19 has brought a disruption to our lives is an understatement. Communities across the country have been trying to facilitate working from home, social distancing, lockdowns, juggling childcare needs and virtual school. It has not been easy for many. We have added stressors to our daily lives that we never anticipated. We’ve had to restrict our movements, our interactions with others, and have had to be hyper-vigilant about our movements. After months of practicing social distancing, the isolation has begun to take effect on the psyche of many Americans. And many, understandably, are not ok. 


Sometimes flippantly referred to as “Covid Depression,” many are feeling the heavy burden of mental illness. But what about those people who were already suffering from chronic depression? Many people have found that COVID restrictions have heightened the body’s depression and anxiety. The pandemic has triggered a mental health crisis for many. The constant financial anxieties, isolation from loved ones, and worry about personal health have undoubtedly taken its toll. Those suffering from depression have found their symptoms magnified and their typical methods of coping failing. When the symptoms are getting worse, it is important to reach out to a mental health professional to help you explore options. And one of them may be TMS.


After consulting with a psychiatrist if you would be a good candidate for TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation) you can begin to hope for positive change. TMS is a therapy used for those suffering from treatment resistant depression. It is a treatment that requires several treatments in an office for a period of time. TMS targets inactive brain regions (that are directly responsible for mood) with magnetic pulses, stimulating brain cells and improving brain function. These pulses allow for mood enhancing signals to be sent through the body, providing relief from stubborn depression. These mild electromagnetic pulses stimulate the nerve cells allowing long lasting changes in brain chemistry, providing relief. While TMS has demonstrated it can alleviate depression, and unintended benefit (in the age of COVID) is that the patient is provided a change of scenery with visits to the office. While we do not know how long COVID restrictions will last, the important thing is not to ignore your symptoms. Your mental health matters.

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