Something’s not right. You used to love going for nighttime walks, but not so much anymore. You have trouble sleeping through the night, and now you alternate between binge eating or eating nothing at all for a full day. These could be depression symptoms, but thankfully, help’s on the way.
Mental Health In America
Before Covid-19, mental health in America was tenuous at best, with mental illness on the upswing. Millions of adults, teenagers, and children, suffer from symptoms of depression and anxiety, but it’s gotten worse the last several months. Between August 2020 and February 2021, more than 41 percent of U.S. adults reported depression symptoms, with people 18 to 29 years old affected the most, including “those with less than a high school education.”
What Is Spravato?
For people experiencing depression signs, standard treatment has included a steady dose of antidepressants and different kinds of psychotherapy. That was a “by the book” approach for almost 40 years, but things changed in early 2019 with the approval of Spravato by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
On March 5, 2019, the FDA “approved Spravato (esketamine) nasal spray, in conjunction with an oral antidepressant, for the treatment of depression in adults who have tried other antidepressant medicines but have not benefited from them (treatment-resistant depression). Because of the risk of serious adverse outcomes resulting from sedation and dissociation caused by Spravato administration and the potential for abuse and misuse of the drug, it is only available through” from a doctor or licensed clinic.
Spravato is explicitly designed to treat two symptoms of the most common forms of depression:
- Treatment-resistant depression. This is a kind of depression where standard therapy, including antidepressants or psychotherapy, has failed to reduce depressive symptoms. If you’re depressed, you may realize only temporary relief, and symptoms return with a vengeance. Research has shown that treatment-resistant depression affects women more than men and is more prevalent among senior citizens. While the precise cause of depression is not yet known, your doctor or mental healthcare provider is committed to finding a treatment that works, which may include innovative therapy like Spravato.
- Major depressive disorder. This is a widespread and severe mental health ailment that badly impacts your feelings, thoughts, and behavior. Happily, it is also treatable. Depression results in feelings of sadness and/or lack of interest in things you once enjoyed doing. It can cause many emotional and physical difficulties and inhibit your ability to handle chores at work and home.
Like other treatments, there are no guarantees that Spravato will prevent suicide, and it may present additional risks depending on your health, age, gender, and other factors. Please refer to your doctor or mental healthcare provider with questions and concerns before agreeing to any form of treatment for depression symptoms.
Spravato may reduce symptoms from many kinds of depression:
- Bipolar depression, which presents alternating moments of low moods and extremely high-energy episodes. When you have low moods, you could have feelings of sadness or hopelessness or suffer from a lack of energy.
- Perinatal and postpartum depression, which happens around the time of childbirth. Many people call this postpartum depression. Perinatal depression, on the other hand, can occur during pregnancy and up to one year after childbirth.
- Persistent depressive disorder, which is also called dysthymia. Symptoms of dysthymia aren’t as bad as major depression, but people may have them for two years or more.
- The premenstrual dysphoric disorder is a severe form of premenstrual disorder and affects women for days or weeks before their menstrual period.
- Psychotic depression is where you have severe depression symptoms, delusions, or hallucinations. Delusions are non-reality-based beliefs, while hallucinations mean you see, hear, or feel like you’re in physical contact with something that isn’t there.
Diagnosis & Treatment
To decide whether you have depression, your doctor or healthcare provider will ask questions about your physical well-being and your personal and family mental health history. Your doctor may also do an exam or order tests or diagnostic procedures to uncover evidence of another medical problem. Depression symptoms are then compared to criteria in the DSM-5 before a final diagnosis is made.
Once diagnosed, your doctor may recommend psychotherapy, self-help, or another treatment, including Spravato.
If you’re experiencing signs of depression or another mental illness, the best thing to seek professional help if they linger all day for months on end. Finding a personal support network is critical, but sometimes only a doctor or mental health provider can diagnose and recommend treatment.