Besides symptoms, people who suffer from depression or another mental health condition have something else in common: misfiring neurotransmitters in the brain. When neurotransmitters aren’t communicating, symptoms like sadness, irritability, and tiredness can rule your life, negatively affecting all aspects of daily living. Fortunately, a medicine like Spravato may help.
What Is Depression?
“Depressive disorder, frequently referred to simply as depression, is more than just feeling sad or going through a rough patch. It’s a serious mental health condition that requires understanding and medical care. Left untreated, depression can be devastating for those who have it and their families. Fortunately, with early detection, diagnosis and a treatment plan consisting of medication, psychotherapy and healthy lifestyle choices, many people can and do get better.” Fortunately, some therapy can help.
What Is Treatment Resistant Depression?
If you’ve undergone treatment for depression or anxiety but your symptoms won’t go away, you may be suffering from treatment-resistant depression. Using an antidepressant as prescribed or attending psychotherapy reduces depression symptoms for many people, but in the case of treatment-resistant depression, something other than normal treatments may be needed. Why? Because standard antidepressants, psychotherapy, or self-help may not help at all, or – even worse — symptoms you thought went away, return as never before.
Depression Symptoms To Watch For
- You’re sad or have low moods
- Feelings of guilt and worthlessness
- Things you used to find enjoyable, not anymore
- Low energy
- Your speech and movements are glacially slow
- You can’t sit still or concentrate
- Struggle with making decisions
- Trouble sleeping, problems with appetite, and weight changes
- Thoughts of suicide
- Mysterious aches and pains, even with treatment
Depression Risk Factors
Depression can happen with other major problems, like diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular problems, and Parkinson’s disease. These conditions can be worse when combined with depression. Sometimes medicine prescribed to treat physical illnesses can lead to side effects that promote depression, but a doctor experienced in treating major medical problems can also craft the best treatment strategy.
- Family or personal history of mental illness
- Major life disruptions, trauma, or stress
- Physical ailments and medications
How Does Spravato Work?
Spravato isn’t like other antidepressant treatments. Standard antidepressant medications boost levels of naturally formed chemicals in the brain like dopamine, norepinephrine, glutamate, and serotonin. These neurotransmitters are the chemical messengers of the brain, key to initiating and regulating how cells communicate. When these chemical messengers are weakened or damaged, it’s difficult to control moods, which is a hallmark symptom of many kinds of mental illness.
What do these neurotransmitters do?
- Dopamine is Mr. Feel Good, responsible for pleasure, satisfaction, and motivation.
- Glutamate helps regulate learning and memory.
- If there’s a problem with norepinephrine, you may suffer from low energy and poor concentration. Spurts of norepinephrine can result in feelings of euphoria but could also lead to high blood pressure and episodes of hyperactivity.
- Serotonin is key to happiness, anxiety, and our mood level.
Higher levels of these cell communicators allow brain cells to talk to each other more fluently, translating into more positive overall moods. According to some studies, more than 30 percent of people diagnosed with depression experience a failure to respond to conventional therapy like antidepressants and psychotherapy. Spravato boosts glutamate, already the most plentiful neurotransmitter in the brain. When this happens, it begins exciting cells in the brain, encourages learning functions, boosts memory, and trains your brain to become comfortable with this new state, helping to battle the symptoms of depression.
Clinical trials reveal that esketamine (marketed as Spravato) can have a positive effect on symptoms of depression by lowering the frequency of suicidal thoughts, and strengthening or repairing damaged or weakened neurotransmitters, thereby potentially helping the development of cell connections in the brain.
Ask your doctor about its potential risks and benefits.
Diagnosis & Treatment
If you have symptoms of depression or another mental illness, the first step in possibly managing the symptoms is getting diagnosed. A doctor may perform a physical exam and order blood tests and other diagnostic procedures to discover an underlying medical problem, while a mental healthcare professional will explore your feelings, thoughts, and behavior, and inquire about personal and family history of mental illness. Newer forms of treatment like Spravato or something else may help.
If you suffer from depression or have recurring treatment resistant depression, don’t let the symptoms control your life. Help may still be available, and it’s worth asking your doctor or therapist about the benefits of Spravato, the brand name for esketamine. Spravato is a prescription medicine available through licensed clinics.