Anxiety, Depression

Is There a Link Between Anxiety and Depression?

When you think of anxiety, what comes to mind? Probably something related to a heightened state of arousal (due to adrenaline pumping through the body). 

Now, when you think of depression, what comes to mind? Depression symptoms often look like fatigue, burnout, or an overall state of apathy. 

Despite anxiety disorders being considered a ‘high energy’ condition, and major depressive disorders being considered a ‘low energy’ condition, these two mental illnesses actually have quite a bit in common. 

If you feel as though you’re experiencing both, you might be overwhelmed by your treatment options.

Let’s talk about the relationship between depression and anxiety and what you can do to gain control over your mental health. 


What Causes Anxiety?

There are various forms of anxiety however the most common and broad diagnosis given to a majority of patients is generalized anxiety disorder

This type of anxiety is characterized by a chronic state of fear, worry, or stress about everyday life. In some cases, their anxiety may be triggered by seemingly nothing at all!

Since every person’s experience with anxiety is unique, it can be difficult to pinpoint exactly what causes it. However, there are a few known reasons anxiety can occur:

Past or Childhood Experiences:

Childhood is an extremely sensitive stage in life, and going through any sort of trauma during these developmental years can follow you into adulthood. Many people that suffer from anxiety have a history of physical or emotional abuse, neglect, bullying, or racism. 

Current Situations:

Ongoing problems in life can also cause anxiety to form. These events can include (but are not limited to):

  • Marriage
  • Divorce
  • Exhaustion 
  • Burnout
  • Stress
  • Sudden change 
  • Financial problems 
  • Losing someone 
  • Abuse 


Other Causes:

Here are other common reasons anxiety may begin to take over:

  • Sleeping difficulties
  • Other mental illnesses (such as depression) 
  • Genetics
  • Alcohol or drug use
  • Diet
  • Certain medications
  • Physical health problems 


What Causes Depression?

Depression is known as a chronic low mood made up of feelings of hopelessness, emptiness, frustration, guilt, and despair. Many people that experience depression may not know exactly why they feel depressed, they just know they do. 

Depression can make an individual lose sudden interest in things that once made them happy, while simultaneously avoiding social events and gatherings that may have previously attended. 

Thankfully, much research has been done on why depression occurs. These factors can vary greatly from person to person, and some people have more than one. Just with anxiety, depression is unique from person to person however common similarities remain. 


Past or Childhood Experiences:

Early trauma can become integrated into our subconscious, making us view the world in a cynical, negative manner even if we don’t remember the event as an adult. 

Experiences of abuse, neglect, assault, or unstable family life can all contribute to depression later on. 

In addition, children that experience many smaller challenges in life are more at risk for developing depression than children who only experience one or two stressful events. 


Current Situations:

Large changes in day-to-day life as an adult can make you feel completely overwhelmed, and cause your body to shut down. This can cause feelings of depression and hopelessness. 

Circumstances include:

  • Losing a job 
  • Unemployment 
  • Financial burdens 
  • Death of a loved one
  • Marriage 
  • Divorce 
  • Abuse or assault 
  • Bullying 


Other Causes:

Just like anxiety, there are other reasons depression may occur such as:

  • Genetics
  • Other mental illnesses (such as anxiety)
  • Physical health problems 
  • Diet
  • Sleeping difficulties
  • Alcohol and substance use


Looking At The Connection Between Anxiety and Depression:

Now that we’re clear on what causes anxiety and depression we can see a direct connection between the two. These two mental illnesses, while anxiety and depressive symptoms differ - have the same causes. This is why depression and anxiety often occur simultaneously in many patients. 

The relationship between anxiety and depression is cyclical. This means one can easily cause the other. 

Anxiety disorders cause more than just fear and worry. They can cause an internal battle of low self-esteem, disgust, and negative thoughts. All of these can trigger depression. 

Nevertheless, depression is more than just feeling sad. It can bring about feelings of losing control, restlessness, or irritability. All of these can increase stress and cause anxiety to form. 

This cyclical relationship is even more prominent if either disorder is left untreated. Unmanaged anxiety can turn into major depressive disorder as each day seems like a never ending internal battle. On the other hand, unmanaged depression can manifest into anxiety as an individual may begin to feel completely overwhelmed with day to day life. 


Are Medications The Best Treatment For Anxiety and Depression?

Many people will tell you to turn to medication for your anxiety and depression. While medications have been used for decades with success, there are many harmful side effects that can occur. 

Some of the most common include:

  • Shakiness
  • Feeling nauseous 
  • Indigestion 
  • Diarrhea or constipation 
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Weight loss or weight gain 
  • Dizziness 
  • Blurred vision 
  • Dry mouth 
  • Dependence 

If you feel as though you need medication it’s often highly encouraged to engage in another form of treatment such as therapy. While medications may work in the short term, they aren’t a long-term solution nor do they get to the root of the problem. 

In addition, antidepressant medications may not be recommended for use with other prescriptions, while pregnant, or while breastfeeding. This means you may find yourself having to quit cold turkey at some point in the future, which can lead to even more problems. 


What Is The Best Treatment Option For Anxiety and Depression?

Here at Gemini TMS we desire to heal your mind from the inside out. Instead of pushing potentially harmful medications and sending you on your way, we work to provide relief from anxiety and depression without risky side-effects. 

But how do we do this?

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation is how. TMS is an FDA-approved, long-lasting treatment option for patients with both anxiety and/or depression. It’s a non-invasive way to target the centers of the brain associated with both mood and mental illness. 

TMS is an excellent option for residents of Elkridge, Maryland who feel as though their anxiety and depression have become unresponsive to other forms of treatment, or who are searching for an alternative to traditional antidepressant medication.

If you struggle with the debilitating impact anxiety and depression have on your life, TMS may be the key. Finding freedom and healing from mental illness is possible. In fact, it just may be the best decision you ever make.


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Depression

How Does Depression Feel?

Depression can be incredibly difficult to live with. It can be so severe that a person can struggle to function in their daily life and complete regular tasks, as they might have been able to do before. It can even leave a person bed-ridden, as they find it impossible to get up and lack the energy to do much else. Depression is characterized by prolonged feelings of sadness and depressed mood. For depression to be diagnosed a person must present symptoms for at least two weeks and have changes in levels of functioning.  

The World Health Organization estimates that 3.8% of the global population is affected with depression, including 5% among adults and 5.7% among adults older than 60 years. It is believed that approximately 280 million people of all ages struggle with depression.  

There is often a misconception that those struggling with depression are just simply sad and this is not true. While sadness is a part of depression, there is a deep persistent feeling of unhappiness and emptiness that can become all-consuming for a person to the point that there is an impairment in functioning. Occasional sadness is a normal aspect of the human experience, but depression has a more significant impact and changes the way people feel, think, and act in their daily routine.  

Understanding what depression is and what it feels like can be an important first step to recognizing you have it and lead you to take steps to seek help in overcoming your depression.  

What Is Depression?

Major Depressive Disorder is a serious medical condition that severely affects a person’s life in multiple way. Major Depressive Disorder is classified as a mood disorder and is the most common form of depression that people experience. Depression and depression symptoms can range from mild to severe, depending on the person.  

As stated, depression can seep into all parts of a person’s life, to the point that it affects them at work, in school, in their social life, or in their family life. It can also lead to a range of physical health problems and drive a person to suicide at its most severe point, with a twenty percent lifetime risk of suicide among those with untreated depressive disorder.   

When it comes to the causes of depression, the research suggests that it is a culmination of biological, genetic, environmental, and psychological factors. Depression can also be triggered by sudden or long-term, adverse life events. These events could be things like loss of a job, loss of a loved one, abuse, and other traumatic situations. 

Depression is not something that people can just “get over,” and it often requires professional help. When a medical professional or mental health specialist treats someone with depression, they will usually use two conventional methods. These methods are the combination of therapy and antidepressants. The most common form of therapy for depression is cognitive-behavioral therapy, which is a type of talk therapy that focuses on changing negative thoughts and behaviors.  

Is Anger a Sign of Depression

While people who are not familiar with the symptoms of anger may not associate anger with depression, it can definitely be a sign of depression. Those who have been deeply, negatively impacted by depression and the triggers of their depression can harbor significant anger. People can be angry at the world or angry at themselves for having these feelings and not being able to function at the level they may have been at before they became depressed.  

This anger can cause people to lash out at others, including loved ones who may be trying to help. Uncontrollable or maladaptive anger can be very destructive and alienate others, which can make the person with depression feel even worse. It is thought that this kind of anger is linked to the imbalance of neurochemicals in the brain that regulate emotions. Anger with depression can manifest as irritability, hostility, and intense anger that seems to come out of nowhere all of a sudden. Therapy can help people learn how to better manage this anger. 

Is Insomnia A Sign of Depression

Unfortunately, depression does have a negative impact on sleep, both in terms of the amount of sleep and quality of sleep a person gets. About 75% of those with depression report having trouble being able to fall asleep and/or stay asleep. Depression can also be triggered because people are having a hard time getting enough sleep and this leads to a decrease in ability to regulate emotions.  

Those with depression can often ruminate about things that may be causing them stress in their daily life and it may prevent them from falling asleep or cause them to wake up more frequently during the course of the night. If you are experiencing sleep problems, related to depression, then talk to your doctor, as there may be treatment options. Keep in mind these options may not be a long-term solution and it is important to seek help for the root cause of the sleep problems. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is shown to have a significant positive impact on depression related sleep problems. 

Is Loss of Appetite a Sign of Depression

Some people who have depression also lose their appetite and find food less appealing. Significant weight loss can happen in those with depression because they have lost interest in eating. It can also be hard for anyone with depression to eat if they are too tired to cook an entire meal and it seems easier to skip the meal completely. Of course, not eating also leads to low energy levels and it creates a cycle that is difficult to break. 

Depression is also often accompanied with anxiety, which can cause gastrointestinal issues and may leave a person with little desire to eat. While it can be difficult to eat with depression, it is important to try to eat a balanced diet. Having a balanced diet can help with some depression symptoms.  

Is Sleeping A Sign of Depression

Excessive sleeping is highly common in those with depression, as the disorder often leaves people feeling constantly tired and drained of energy. Even when a person has gotten enough hours of sleep, they may continue feeling tired. This is how people with depression can end up bed-ridden, as they lack any energy to get up, or unable to perform daily activities like showering, getting dressed, going to work, or doing household chores. Oversleeping is a symptom in about 15% of people who are diagnosed with depression. It is important to note that other sleeping problems, like sleep apnea, can be comorbid with depression and is not a direct result of the depression. Disruptions or delays in the circadian rhythm are linked to depressed people sleeping past their alarm and struggling to wake up in the morning. 

How to Ask for Help with Depression

Depression is not something to be ashamed of or embarrassed by and you deserve to be able to live a full and happy life. The stigma around mental health problems is thankfully starting to shrink, as more and more people are having conversations about the topic and many notable people have come out with their own stories about their struggles with mental health. If you have been struggling with depression and are ready to seek help but are not sure where to start then please do not worry, we are here to help.  

If you are struggling to ask for help then a good place to start is by talking with a trusted friend or loved one, as they can be a great source of support. It makes a real difference having someone simply listen to you, encourage you to take care of yourself, and keep you company if you are feeling lonely. The internet is also a valuable source to be able to find a therapist or a hotline number to call and talk to someone. Seeking professional help is an important step in the process to overcoming depression. Medical professionals can help you access antidepressants, or even offer a referral to a psychologist, therapist, or licensed counselor. Finding a therapist that is the right fit for you can have one of the greatest impacts, as they can help you develop the life skills and tools that you need. 

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 TMS 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

How to treat postpartum depression

Bringing home a new baby can be an exciting and scary event. Family members often find themselves having difficulty learning how to adjust to this dynamic in the early days of an infant. The new mother’s hormones are still fluctuating as well as the emotions of the family members. It is not uncommon for there to be bouts of frustration, anger, and sadness. Eventually hormones do level-off and individuals develop a new rhythm to their daily routines. For some mothers, the feelings of sadness and frustration do more than linger. They become more severe, and the depression becomes more long lasting. When these symptoms last longer than two weeks and become more severe, the new parent is suffering from Postpartum Depression (PPD). 

Women experiencing postpartum depression may have difficulty regulating their mood, inability to sleep, intense rage, excessive crying, and feelings of hopelessness. Postpartum depression primarily effects new mothers, but it can affect new fathers as well. New fathers may experience severe anxiety, drastic changes in their behavior, feeling overwhelmed and/or fatigued. In both cases, the chances of experiencing postpartum depression increase when you have a history of depression prior to the birth of a child.  

If you believe you’re experiencing postpartum depression you do not have to be embarrassed. It is a common event that many new parents experience. It is important to reach out to loved ones or medical professionals if you experience any of the following: 

  • Your symptoms last more than two weeks 
  • Your symptoms are getting progressively worse 
  • Your symptoms prevent you from taking care of yourself 
  • You have thoughts of harming yourself or your child 

This condition may require mental health intervention to regulate the tumultuous swing of emotions. Speaking to a medical professional can help. You may be wondering how to treat postpartum depression. A medical professional can provide you with information on how to manage your postpartum symptoms and recommend the appropriate treatment. An increasingly preferred method of treatment is TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation). Many new mothers appreciate the benefits of TMS because it is non-pharmacological and non-invasive. They are able to comfortably breast feed their child without fear of any medication passing through breast milk (even if it is a low level). The non-invasive treatment takes a small fraction of time, allowing new parents a large amount of time to still bond with their infant. TMS treatment can be used by both new mothers and new fathers. Parents can begin finding relief for their postpartum and depression symptoms with TMS therapy. 


What Is TMS? 

Transcranial magnetic stimulation is an FDA approved treatment for chronic depression. The region of the brain that controls depression symptoms also control anxiety symptoms. Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) has been recognized by clinicians as a promising treatment for individuals suffering from depression.  

If you are suffering from postpartum depression and looking for an effective treatment that does not rely on medication, TMS can help. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (or TMS) is a noninvasive form of brain stimulation. The nerve cells that are connected to anxiety and depression are stimulated, effecting and altering the brain’s neurotransmitter levels.   

TMS therapy is an intensive approach which has shown to activate regions of the brain that have become dormant. The treatment requires several sessions over a period of time, with relief being provided after a few.    

TMS is a a non-drug treatment that helps provide relief from severe depression and anxiety without the physical side effects associated with medications. This therapy is an outpatient procedure that allows patients to maintain their daily routines while receiving treatment for their anxiety.   

Patients are not prevented from participating in their daily routines from their TMS treatment for depression. New mothers who are breastfeeding won’t have to agonize over fear of their depression medication being potentially transmitted to their infants. (It is important to note that if your psychiatrist recommends you staying on depression medication you should discuss with them your concerns and options. Mental health clinicians would never recommend to abruptly stop ANY treatment.) Patients can utilize TMS treatment for their depression by itself or in conjunction with a medication regimen and talk therapy. Each person is different and the nature of their postpartum symptoms may vary.  

If you are struggling with Postpartum Depression and are confused about where to start looking for help, please call Gemini TMS (301) 363-1063. We are a team of mental health professionals who can help treat and manage your depression symptoms.  

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Depression

What Depression Does To The Brain

Everyone “feels blue” now and then. You may be going through a rough patch in your personal life. A difficult project or task may make your job particularly stressful.  

Your days begin to feel tense and frustrating. Your anxiety peaks. Typically, when the catalyst for your depressive episode is removed, the “blue feelings” begin to fade.  

But what happens when “feeling blue” is a constant in your life? What if every day you are consumed with dark thoughts? And they are suffocatingly heavy? You may be experiencing Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). 

Individuals who experience major depression like MDD suffer from a type of mood disorder that severely impacts their emotional state. They are overwhelmed with constant feelings of sadness and disinterest in daily life. Severe depression like this won't just “go away.” Emotional and behavioral health become dysregulated and dysfunctional. What is needed is a combination of therapies and medication to effectively address this behavioral health concern. 

Symptoms of Major Depressive Disorder 

The symptoms of MDD can be felt daily. The intensity of the symptoms may fluctuate, but they happen with a regular occurrence. They can also be severe enough to disrupt your daily routines and life. The most common symptoms of MDD are: 

  • Feelings of hopelessness or emptiness 
  • Intense irritability 
  • Angry outbursts 
  • Difficulty falling asleep/sleeping too much  
  • Appetite disturbances 
  • Feelings of worthlessness 
  • Anxiety 
  • Loss of interest 
  • Suicidal ideation/thoughts 
  • Suicide attempts  

These symptoms can be very serious and very scary. Depression is a mental illness that can be incredibly debilitating with grave side effects on your personal life. While the majority of these symptoms are emotional manifestations of MDD, depression affects you physically as well. 

Where Does Depression Come From?  

Major depression is a serious mental health concern and should not be ignored. With significantly low moods you may feel like you have no energy to participate in activities and have no interest in doing so. You may feel physically exhausted all the time without knowing why. But what causes depression?  

Depression can be a complex and complicated condition that affects the brain and your emotional state. A chemical imbalance, life experiences, and genetics all can play a role in your mental health deteriorating.  

If the parts of the brain that control mood and emotion do not function properly there will be a chemical imbalance that can cause the depression. There are three main neurotransmitters responsible for depression symptoms that occur with MDD; dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin.  

These neurotransmitters communicate signals to the brain’s nerve cells, and whether to increase or decrease the levels. If these levels become disrupted depression treatments with medication will be needed.  

Antidepressants are one example of medications used to alter the brain’s chemistry. The most common antidepressant prescribed are Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI’s). They block serotonin from being reabsorbed into the brain’s neurons. When they remain available in the body, the individual is able to have chemically balanced neurotransmitters, preventing a depressive episode.  

For others, painful memories and experiences may be the source of their depression. These causes operate as catalysts for severe episodes of depression that impact your life. Let’s say you experience the death of a loved one. You may find it difficult to process the emotions and move forward. You may even become catatonic. And unfortunately for some, they may have a genetic disposition to major depressive disorder. Just like other hereditary health conditions that can negatively impact your life, MDD deserves to be monitored and treated.  

Whatever the “root cause” of your debilitating depression, the physical changes it causes should be noted. It is important to understand all the ways major depression changes and alters your brain in order to better treat it.  

How Depression Alters The Brain 

Experiencing severe depression is extremely difficult. Repeated episodes of depression can cause you to struggle. But it can also cause damage to your brain in the long term. Early treatment is critical so you can avoid long lasting harm.  

Your brain becomes physically altered after the prolonged burden of major depression. It can wreak havoc on its corporeal structure. Regions of your brain can become inactive and ‘go dark,’ unable to produce “feel good” chemicals to combat the “sad” chemicals.  Other areas like the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus become effected, losing volume and exacerbate your serious symptoms. And brain inflammation becomes apparent as well.  

Hippocampus: 

This part of your brain releases stress hormones like cortisol. Under normal conditions, cortisol being released is not problematic. However major depression will flood the brain and body with cortisol, damaging the neurons and preventing the growth of new ones. Too much cortisol can also contribute to shrinking the size of the hippocampus destroying your abilities for memory retention.  


Brain Inflammation: 

Experts have been able to establish a connection between brain inflammation and major depression. Individuals who suffer from major depression have increased protein levels that contribute to inflammation. This can lead to damaged brain cells, brain cells dying, and the brain being aged prematurely.  

An easily overlooked affect that depression has on the brain is what it does to the central nervous system. The central nervous system (CNS) is located in the nerves of the brain and the spinal cord. Your CNS is responsible with the way your body absorbs information through your senses (ex. A frightening sight will encourage your CNS to release heightened fear signals through the body so you remain on alert). 

Increased anxiety from your depression will flood your brain cells with fear signals. Your central nervous system becomes overactive, battering your body into remaining in a state of heightened fear. Your brain becomes accustomed to this constant chemical release as “the new normal” permanently changing the chemical balances of your brain.   

Preventing Damage To Your Brain 

While it has been demonstrated how severe depression can cause damage to the physical structure of the brain, this damage does not have to be permanent. There are steps you can take to prevent damage and begin reversing any existing changes that may have occurred. Here are a few things you can begin doing: 

Reducing Stress: 

Learning to develop healthy coping skills can help you significantly reduce stressors in your life. You will be able to manage and navigate difficult situations and help prevent the onset of a depressive episode.  


Medication: 

There are various medications you can take that can support your brain’s chemical imbalance. Prescribed by a psychiatrist, you doctor will develop a specific medication regimen that will better support you from falling into depressive episodes.  

 

Therapy: 

Sessions with a skilled and certified mental health therapist can provide great insight to your depression and its causes. Being able to define your stressors can assist you with learning to avoid them. You will also learn mindfulness techniques and healthy coping skills to better manage your depression. With improved cognitive behavioral skills, you can begin your recovery from major depression.  

 

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation:

TMS is a minimally invasive treatment that delivers stimulation to targeted regions of the brain. The treatment is focused to these regions because of their relationship to mood and depression. TMS can improve your depression by activating the stagnant areas of the brain, encouraging the growth of new brain cells that will encourage normal brain functions and balanced moods.  


As scientists learn more about the brain, its structure, and how it functions, we can establish that it is possible to reverse the harm Major Depressive Disorder causes on the body. MDD can be an isolating and painful experience and too many people suffer every day. Better understanding the brain and the physical impact major depression has, you can begin the depression treatments that best fit your needs and concerns. Depression should not be ignored; it should be treated (just as any other condition is). There can be hope for you again on your path of recovery from debilitating depression. 

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Depression

Can TMS Treat High Functioning Depression?

Depression is an illness that affects millions around the world. Depression also affects those millions of people very differently. Manifested in varied ways, depression can mean different things for many. But what does the face of depression look like?  

Depression is a mood disorder that negatively affects your thinking and your emotional health. You may lose interest in once loved activities or feel unable to participate in your daily life. Depression symptoms may be mild and only experienced for a short amount of time. For others, symptoms may be severe and your depression experienced for a greater length of time.  

There are different types of depression that can be experienced. But what types of depression occur? What is major depression? What does high functioning depression mean? And why is this difference important?  

Long lasting depression, or Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) may render individuals completely paralyzed by their symptoms. If not long lasting, MDD can produce incredibly severe symptoms, even if it just for a few months. 

Patients become completely limited, if not incapacitated by their symptoms. High functioning depression (also referenced as dysthymia) is not a diagnosis or disorder, but has been popularized recently to better characterize how some people experience depression. What is dysthymia? The term dysthymia is used to describe individuals who suffer from high functioning depression for at least two years. If you are someone experiencing high functioning depression you are experiencing Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD). 

PDD, or high functioning depression, is a chronic form of depression where the individual suffering seems to be able to function at a normal level, all the while suffering inside.  

Those suffering from high functioning depression may rely on their own coping mechanisms to push through their dark feelings each day, suffering in silence, and without any mental health help. 

Typically, many people who experience depression (mild or severe) may find themselves unmotivated to participate in daily life. There is difficulty in thinking and concentrating, with an increase in purposeless activity. In more severe cases, an individual suffering from depression may find themselves having suicidal thoughts or a fixation on death. If you, or someone you know who is struggling with suicidal ideation, it is important to reach out to a mental health professional, dial 911, and/or go to your nearest hospital.  

If you suffer from depression for longer than a few weeks, you may be suffering from major depression. The DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) is used by mental health professionals to determine and diagnose your depression symptoms. They may consult this manual to determine if your symptoms fit the specific classifications for depression.  

If you experience depression symptoms for longer than two weeks, it is very important to schedule an appointment with a psychiatrist or therapist for an evaluation.  


Symptoms of depression may include: 

  • Difficulty sleeping 
  • Feeling “down” for the majority of your days 
  • Feelings of worthlessness 
  • Feelings of hopelessness 
  • No interest in previously enjoyed activities 
  • Weight loss/weight gain 
  • Suicidal thoughts 

The severity and length of time these symptoms are experienced will determine the type of depression you are experiencing. Major depressive disorder and persistent depressive disorder may be similar but they are not the same. Is your depression getting worse? If you have been experiencing symptoms of depression for longer than two years, but have been managing to cope, you may be suffering from PDD. If your symptoms are much more severe, and you have had an inability to cope (even if it has only been a few months) you may be suffering from MDD. 

Unfortunately for those suffering from major depressive disorder, there is no “high functioning” version. MDD is debilitating and can really impair a person’s quality of life. PDD can also impair quality of life, but to a lesser degree. Regardless of the type of depression someone suffers, it is critical for these individuals to reach out for a psychiatric diagnosis and treatment.  

Ignoring depression symptoms can be damaging and dangerous. An accurate diagnosis and immediate treatment are vital. If your symptoms are not being treated or managed, it can impact your stress and relationships.  

Treatment For Depression 

If you feel like you are suffering from depression, you should reach out to a mental health professional. After a mental health evaluation, they will be able to diagnose your symptoms and create a treatment plan to help alleviate your depression.  

The treatment of your symptoms and mental health conditions will be contingent on the severity of your depression. If your therapist or psychiatrist believes you are suffering from PDD they may offer different options to help reduce and mitigate your depression symptoms.  

Some treatment options for PDD may include talk therapy, medication, and/or transcranial magnetic stimulation. 

Talk Therapy 

A mental health professional, usually a trained and certified therapist, will engage in talk therapy with you to identify the stressors or “triggers” you may experience in your life. You and your therapist may discuss certain difficult moments in your life, how your varied experiences may have affected you, and provide you with healthy coping skills when dealing with your stressors.  

Your therapist can make recommendations for positive alternatives to help encourage a change in your thinking. These strategies can build upon themselves, provide the individual suffering from depression with insight on their behavior, and make them self-aware on how to cope with every day challenges.  


Medications 

Others suffering from depression may find their symptoms alleviated with medications. A psychiatrist will evaluate your symptoms and work with you to develop an appropriate regimen of medications they will prescribe. Common medications used to treat depression are antidepressants, benzodiazepines, and antipsychotics.  

The most common antidepressants used to treat depression are SSRI’s (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors). What do antidepressants do? They block serotonin from being reabsorbed into the brain’s neurons, improving your brain’s chemical messaging, enhancing mood boosting sensations.  

Benzodiazepines are used to treat depression because of their relaxing properties. Colloquially referred to as “benzos,” their chemical composition allows relief from the anxiety symptoms caused by the depression.  

Antipsychotics for depression are also a commonly prescribed medication for treatment. They can be combined with antidepressants because of their mood enhancing affect.  


Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation 

A progressive treatment for PDD patients, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) has been a great alternative to traditional methods when dealing with depression. A noninvasive form of brain stimulation, TMS encourages activation of the neurons directly responsible for mood. Magnetic pulses target specific regions of the brain to encourage the cells to activate and release mood enhancing signals. This can gradually alleviate the depression symptoms, providing you with relief.  

Is It Depression If You Feel Like You Can Manage? 

As stated earlier, depression can and does look different for many people. The intensity of your symptoms may vary. Not everyone becomes catatonic. But that does not mean you should minimize the symptoms you are experiencing. Your depressive symptoms and experiences with depression are valid and should be treated as such.  

Recognizing that even if you have been “coping” without any professional mental health intervention does not mean you should continue to do so. Many patients who suffer from high functioning depression should still reach out to professionals who can help monitor and manage their symptoms. Their depression does not become “less than” just because the severity may not be as intense.  

You cannot “will” yourself to recover from mental health illnesses. They require more care than that. You require (and deserve) more care than that.  

If you are struggling with persistent depressive disorder and are confused about where to start looking for help, please call Gemini Health (301) 363 - 1063. We are a team of mental health professionals who can help treat and manage your depression symptoms.  

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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. This may partially be a result of lingering and antiquated attitudes. Some of these negative beliefs have been internalized by many LGBTQ+ individuals (and their families) for such a long time it may be a challenge to undue the thought process.  

How Depression Affects the LGBTQ+ Community

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. Personal confusion on identity and preference can contribute to these symptoms.  

Hostile and repressive environments can cause several challenges for many LGBTQ+ youth and adults. These environments support a greater chance for individuals 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.  

This marginalized group may have already utilized therapy and medications. Talk therapy and antidepressants may be part of their treatment for their depression. Unfortunately for some, they may not find any relief from their symptoms. Their depression may have a strong chemical root in their brain making relief difficult to find.  

This is where TMS can help.  

TMS 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.  

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (or TMS) is a noninvasive form of brain stimulation. A specialized cap is placed over the patient’s head that sends out magnetic pulses to specific areas of the brain. The nerve cells that are connected to mood and depression are stimulated, effecting the brain’s neurotransmitter levels. TMS therapy is an intensive approach which has shown to activated regions of the brain that have decreased activity. The treatment requires several sessions over a period of time, with relief being provided after a few.  

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. 

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. TMS is a non-drug treatment that helps prevent relief from severe depression without the side effects associated with antidepressant medications. 

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