Millions of people worldwide have depression symptoms, often resulting in relationship problems, other medical issues, and sometimes even disability. If you have low moods, problems eating or sleeping, or can’t focus your thoughts, you may be able to reduce depression symptoms using different methods, including new therapy options like Spravato.
What Is Depression?
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 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. If 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, symptoms are treatable.
What Is Spravato?
Spravato is the brand name for a form of ketamine (esketamine) that is dispensed via a nasal spray and is available from a specialized clinic or your healthcare provider. Originally an anesthetic, ketamine has been known to treat symptoms of depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, other mental illnesses, and chronic pain, and its derivative esketamine was approved in early 2019 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in the ongoing battle against treatment-resistant depression.
Spravato For Depression
According to a press release, when Spravato was approved, it’s a nasal spray that is administered by the patient under the direction of a health care provider in a doctor’s office or a licensed clinic, and the spray isn’t to be taken home. Once you’ve used the nasal spray, staff will check your health and decide when you can leave.
Spravato may lessen the effects of several depression symptoms, including:
- Feelings of sadness, weepiness, despair, or emptiness
- Anger, irritability, or annoyance, even over minor issues
- Lack of interest or pleasure in anything you used to enjoy, such as hobbies or sports
- Sleep problems, including insomnia or getting too much sleep
- Fatigue and lack of energy, often requiring extra effort for small tasks
- Not being hungry resulting in weight loss, or frequent binge eating resulting in weight gain
- Anxiety, tension, or restlessness
- Slowed thoughts, speech, or bodily movements
- Feeling that you’re worthless or guilty, and being obsessed with previous failings or self-blame
- Problems with thinking, focusing, decision-making, and remembering something
- Frequent or recurring thoughts of death, suicide attempts, or suicide
- Unexplained physical ailments, like back pain or headaches
This form of therapy may also reduce symptoms in children, teens, and older adults, including:
- Feelings of sadness, irritability, and being overly clingy with a parent or caregiver
- Feeling bad and worthless, showing anger, doing poorly in or not going to school, feeling misunderstood, overly sensitive, and trying recreational drugs or alcohol.
- Memory problems or personality changes
- Physical discomfort or pain
- Tiredness and loss of appetite
Who’s Affected By Depression?
Depression is one of the great equalizers in mental health. It’s all-encompassing, wreaking pain in millions of people regardless of age or gender. Depression symptoms are reported in about 19 million U.S. adults; it’s a significant global problem. The World Health Organization estimates it affects nearly 300 million people and is a leading disability source.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says about three percent of children (17 years old or younger) have depression.
What Causes Depression?
- Trauma during childhood can result in long-term changes in how the brain responds to fear and stress.
- Mood disorders, like depression, could be inherited.
- Divorce, relationship changes, money trouble, and where you live influences whether you get depression.
- Brain changes, particularly decreased activity in the frontal lobe, can lead to depression. Problems with the pituitary gland and hypothalamus are other possible causes.
- Chronic pain, anxiety, and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.
- Certain medications.
- Drug and alcohol misuse.
Treatment & Diagnosis
People who experience symptoms of depression may find relief after getting diagnosed. A diagnosis normally involves a physical exam and psychiatric assessment. A doctor may perform blood tests and diagnostic procedures to discover an underlying medical problem, while a mental health professional will want to know about your personal and family history of mental illness, as well as your feelings, thoughts, and behavior. Final diagnosis may also depend on comparing your symptoms to depression criteria in the DSM-5.
If depression is confirmed, your doctor may recommend traditional psychotherapy, self-help, lifestyle changes, certain medicines, or newer therapy like Spravato for depression.
Everyone gets depressed from time to time, but simply having a bad day at work or the desire for alone time shouldn’t be confused with more serious problems. Depression symptoms that happen daily and last for months could be signs you need help, so ask your doctor about treatment options.