OCD

Is OCD Common?

Skipping a family birthday party to clean your kitchen for the second time that day or being preoccupied with how canned food is stocked in the pantry could be signs of a mental health condition known as obsessive-compulsive disorder. It’s a serious condition if ignored, but the symptoms are treatable.

What is OCD?

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental health disorder that affects people of all ages and walks of life and occurs when a person gets caught in a cycle of obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions are unwanted, intrusive thoughts, images, or urges that trigger intensely distressing feelings. Compulsions are behaviors an individual engages in to attempt to get rid of the obsessions and/or decrease his or her distress.” Fortunately, most symptoms can be treated with medicine.

What are the Symptoms?

OCD is comprised of obsession and compulsion symptoms. But it’s also feasible to have symptoms of one or the other, not both. Some people don’t even realize their obsessions and compulsions are extreme or irrational, but they may consume large chunks of time and interfere with every aspect of daily life.

Obsessions May Include:

  • You’re afraid of becoming contaminated or dirty
  • You have doubts and problems controlling uncertainty
  • You have an overwhelming desire to have things organized and symmetrical
  • You may experience aggressive or gruesome thoughts about becoming unhinged and hurting yourself or someone else
  • You have unwelcome thoughts, involving aggression, or adult or religious subjects

Compulsions May Include:

  • You wash and scrub your hands your skin is visibly raw
  • You’re compelled to check doors frequently to ensure they’re locked
  • You think you smell gas, and check the furnace to make sure it’s working properly
  • You count things in specific patterns
  • You quietly recite a prayer, word, or saying
  • Your canned goods have to be arranged so the labels face outwards

Just about all of us have obsessions and compulsive behaviors sometimes or in specific situations, but with OCD they consume greater than an hour daily and drive problems with school, work, or socially. If you have OCD, you normally get anxiety and other grief around your urge to accommodate your obsessions or compulsions.

Is OCD Common?

Nearly half the time, OCD becomes obvious during childhood or adolescence, with most other cases presenting in early adulthood. It’s uncommon for OCD to begin after you turn 40, but not unheard of. Studies indicate it starts earlier in males but is slightly more common in adult females. Here are other facts about the condition:

  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder affects 2.2 million adults, or one percent of the U.S. population.
  • OCD happens nearly equally among men and women.
  • If you have OCD, it probably started when you were 19 years old, with almost one quarter of cases happening by age 14. Studies indicate that one-third of impacted adults experienced symptoms as children.

What Causes OCD?

Like other mental health conditions, the exact cause of OCD is nebulous at best. But there are educated opinions about its complex origin story.

Diagnosis & Treatment

There are normally three steps involved to diagnose OCD:

  • Psychiatric assessment to discuss your thoughts, feelings, behavior, and symptom patterns as triggers for obsessions or compulsions and whether they inhibit your quality of life. Your healthcare provider may ask your permission to talk to family or friends.
  • Reviewing the diagnostic criteria for OCD in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), printed by the American Psychiatric Association.
  • Physical examination where a doctor will try to rule out other problems which might trigger your symptoms and uncover any related complications.

Treatment could involve psychotherapy or medicine like ketamine.

Final Thoughts THOUGHTS

OCD affects millions of people. It’s more than just being identified with odd behavior or personality quirks. It’s a serious condition that can negatively impact all facets of your life if not cared for properly. To talk about treatment options that may help you find relief, reach out to us today.

Anxiety

Is Anxiety Related to Insomnia?

You’re tense, agitated, have low energy, suffer from rampant moodiness, and have trouble getting restful sleep. What’s going on? Any number of conditions could be affecting your quality of life, but a logical explanation could be the nexus of anxiety and insomnia – two illnesses that can lead to the other.

What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is a feeling of fear, dread, and uneasiness. It might cause you to sweat, feel restless and tense, and have a rapid heartbeat. It can be a normal reaction to stress. For example, you might feel anxious when faced with a difficult problem at work, before taking a test, or before making an important decision. It can help you to cope.” A temporary energy boost improves focus, but the fear lingers and can be devastating.

Common Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders – which begin as a single moment of anxiety but grow from there for different reasons – involve more than short-term worry or fear. If you suffer from an anxiety disorder, you know the anxiety doesn’t subside on its own and can worsen over time. The most common anxiety disorders include generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, specific phobias, agoraphobia, social anxiety disorder, and separation anxiety disorder. But symptoms from most of these can be treated with options like ketamine.

What are the Symptoms?

Symptoms of anxiety and more severe anxiety disorders may include:

  • Constant feelings of restlessness and being on-edge
  • Being easily tired
  • Having problems concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Muscle tension
  • Perspiration
  • Body shakes
  • Having shortness of breath or feeling like you’re smothering or choking
  • Excessive worry about encountering something or someone you’d rather avoid
  • Taking definitive actions to evade something you fear

Don’t be afraid to seek out treatment if any of these symptoms interfere with daily living.

What are Sleep Disorders?

Sleep disorders are illnesses that harm your sleep or keep you from getting relaxing sleep and, because of this, can lead to daytime sleepiness, slowed responses, and other symptoms. All of us can have sleep problems occasionally. Insomnia and other sleep disorders can disturb all facets of your life, including your relationships, safety, how well you perform in school and work, cognition, mental health, weight, and the risk of getting diabetes and heart disease. 

Is Anxiety Related to Insomnia?

According to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America, “More than 40 million Americans suffer from chronic, long-term sleep disorders, and an additional 20 million report sleeping problems occasionally, according to the National Institutes of Health.” And a good amount of those people also experience anxiety.

Anxiety and anxiety disorders are related to insomnia, but the reverse is also true. Not only that, but research indicates one can result in the other. 

After evaluating a study from Norway, Experts from Duke Health called insomnia, anxiety, and depression a “vicious cycle.” The research they noted indicates “that insomnia may predispose people to anxiety and depression, just as anxiety and depression may predispose people to insomnia. As the authors note, insomnia may be an early or even the first symptom of depression and anxiety. Clinicians and their patients should take note.”

What Causes Anxiety?

There is no known single cause for anxiety. Like other mental health conditions, its origin is based on many influencers, including:

  • Certain personality traits
  • Early childhood trauma
  • Family history of anxiety or other mental illness
  • Certain physical health conditions, like heart disease, diabetes, thyroid problems, respiratory disorders, and drug and alcohol misuse or withdrawal

What Causes Insomnia?

Insomnia affects up to 35 percent of adults and has numerous causes:

  • Stress
  • An irregular sleep cycle
  • Bad sleeping habits
  • Mental health issues like anxiety and depression
  • Physical ailments and pain
  • Medicine
  • Neurological problem
  • Certain sleep disorders

Many symptoms of anxiety disorders and sleep disorders can be treated, often concurrently.

Diagnosis & Treatment

To diagnose anxiety, you may undergo a medical exam to look for an underlying condition that causes your symptoms. If that fails, you could be referred to a mental health professional for a psychiatric evaluation which focuses on thoughts, emotions, and behaviors as triggers for anxiety symptoms. You’ll also be asked about your personal and family history of mental illness, with symptoms being compared to criteria in the DSM-5.

If you have insomnia, you may undergo a diagnostic procedure like a polysomnogram or an at-home apnea test. For either condition, treatment may involve psychotherapy, antidepressants, or medicine like ketamine.

Final Thoughts

Anyone who experiences anxiety or insomnia knows it’s a vicious circle of low energy, moodiness, and constant sleep problems. But treatment options are available. If you suffer from either, help is out there to manage the symptoms and regain control of your life. Contact us today to learn more about treatment options.

PTSD

What is PTSD?

If you’re a military veteran who survived a combat situation, it may be normal to experience flashbacks or nightmares afterward. But if you’re an average person – teacher, office worker, truck driver – you, too, can experience a PTSD attack. The symptoms may differ for everyone but can often be treated following a medical diagnosis.

Post-traumatic stress disorder

“Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that’s triggered by a terrifying event — either experiencing it or witnessing it. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares, and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event.”

Most people who survive trauma may have short-term problems adapting and coping, but with time and self-care, they usually get better. Worsening symptoms, persisting for months or years, and restricting your daily functioning, may amount to PTSD.

Can PTSD be Passed on?

According to a study with 130 volunteers through the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, researchers “found that PTSD has a strong genetic component similar to other psychiatric disorders. Genetics, they write in Nature Communications, accounts for between five and 20 percent of the variability in PTSD risk following a traumatic event.”
Harvard confirmed as much, suggesting that developing PTSD may be hereditary based, with 30 percent of cases supported by genetics alone.

What’s Caregiver ‘Burnout’?

The United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), widely considered a leading authority in diagnosing and treating PTSD, believes that family members or other caregivers can suffer negative consequences due to direct exposure to someone experiencing symptoms associated with post-traumatic stress disorder. “Caregiver burnout” is when someone feels physically, psychologically, and medically ill because of the overcompensation of family members who may be caring for service members who have PTSD.

When was PTSD First Mentioned?

The term “post-traumatic stress disorder” became a household name almost instantly after being introduced in 1980 in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, third edition (DSM-3) put out by the American Psychiatric Association. This diagnosis is forever linked to the legacy of the war in Vietnam. Still, PTSD-like symptoms were documented much earlier, giving rise to euphemisms like “soldier’s heart,” “shell shock,” and “war neurosis.” However, PTSD can affect anyone, not just veterans.

What is a PTSD Attack?

Extreme fear is a common symptom of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Having sudden, intense fear that grips you could mean you’re experiencing a panic attack. This abrupt fear may happen without the courtesy of a notice or a clear reason. Or a PTSD attack could happen when you’re reminded of your trauma.

During a panic (or PTSD) attack, “you may be afraid of dying or afraid of losing control of yourself. It may seem like things happening around you aren’t real. An attack usually lasts from 5 to 20 minutes but may last even longer, up to a few hours. You have the most anxiety about 10 minutes after the attack starts.”

What Does a PTSD Attack Look Like?

It could manifest itself with any number of physical symptoms including, but not limited, to chest pain, a fast or thumping heartbeat, problems breathing, dizziness, shaking, stomach pain or sickness, sweating, shudders or hot flashes, or the feeling that you’re choking.

Repeated PTSD or panic attacks, or constant worry of when the next one will happen, could be signs you’re developing a panic disorder. A panic disorder is a kind of anxiety disorder. It results in panic attacks, which are rapid feelings of terror even without real danger. This could result in feelings of loss of control.

If you have post-traumatic stress disorder with PTSD attacks, you may be able to cope with the symptoms on your own or seek professional care and ask about the benefits of ketamine.

Diagnosis and Treatment

According to the Mayo Clinic, your healthcare provider will probably:

  • Perform a medical exam to check for health problems that may be triggering your symptoms
  • Do a psychological assessment with a discussion of your symptoms and signs and the incident or circumstances that resulted in them happening
  • Compare your symptoms to the criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), distributed by the American Psychiatric Association
  • In a positive diagnosis, your healthcare provider may recommend one or more kinds of treatment. This could include ketamine infusion, self-help, individual or group therapy, or certain medicines.

Final Thoughts

By some estimates, nearly 10 percent of U.S. adults experience PTSD at some point in their lives. If it’s already happened to you, don’t wait to seek professional care before the symptoms – and your life – spiral out of control. Contact us today to learn more about our PTSD treatment options in Colorado Springs.

Anxiety

Anxiety and Breathing

You had a spirited disagreement with a co-worker and noticed your heartbeat was racing afterward. The following day, you woke up exhausted because you couldn’t sleep. These can be chalked up to everyday anxiety, or they could be symptomatic of something worse – an anxiety disorder slowly taking over your life.

What is Anxiety?

“Anxiety is a feeling of fear, dread, and uneasiness. It might cause you to sweat, feel restless and tense, and have a rapid heartbeat. It can be a normal stress reaction. For example, you might feel anxious when faced with a difficult problem at work, before taking a test, or before making an important decision. It can help you to cope.” But if anxiety doesn’t go away, it could indicate a much bigger problem.

Kinds of Anxiety Disorders

If you have anxiety, watch out for symptoms that last for months and inhibit daily life. If this happens, you may be at risk of a more severe anxiety disorder, but that’s not an automatic certainty.

  • Agoraphobia is an anxiety disorder where you fear and avoid things that might make you panic and feel trapped or embarrassed.
  • A medical condition-induced anxiety disorder that includes extreme anxiety or panic symptoms is linked to a physical health crisis.
  • Generalized anxiety disorder features persistent and extreme anxiety and concern about common activities or events. The worry exceeds the actual situation, is hard to control, and affects how you feel physically. It happens with depression or other anxiety disorders.
  • There are repeated bouts of sudden reactions of severe anxiety and panic with a panic disorder that peaks within minutes. You could have feelings of imminent doom, shortness of breath, chest discomfort, or a quick, fluttering heartbeat – often leading to more worry and avoidance.
  • Separation anxiety disorder in children presents with anxiety that’s extreme for the child’s developmental age and linked to separation from parents or those in parental roles.
  • Social anxiety disorder is when you experience high levels of anxiety, dread, and avoidance of social settings out of fear of embarrassment, self-consciousness, and worry about being judged negatively.
  • Specific phobias.
  • Substance-induced anxiety disorder.

Anxiety and Breathing

According to recent research, how we breathe can directly influence anxiety and the physical reactions that go with it. The problem is that we take it for granted that we know how to breathe, and the act is as ubiquitous as oxygen itself – both of which are probably false. The good news is that breathing techniques and other kinds of exercise can help reduce anxiety. While some people gravitate toward medicine like ketamine or other therapy, there are also strategies you can try at home.

Breathing and Other Ways to Manage Anxiety

  • “Square breathing helps regulate the amount of oxygen and carbon dioxide in our bodies, which can often be out of balance when anxiety is at play. Square breathing involves breathing in, holding the breath, exhaling, and holding it again — all for four counts apiece.”
  • Mindfulness exercises speak to the ability to live in the moment by engaging all five of your senses. It’s the fundamental human ability to be present, aware of your surroundings and what you’re doing, and not overreacting or becoming overwhelmed by what’s happening around you.
  • Progressive muscle relaxation has the goal of helping your brain understand the sensation of your muscles being in a relaxed, tension-free state.
    Breathing exercises for anxiety offer many benefits, such as stress management, improved heart rate, blood pressure, and many others.

Diagnosis and Treatment

If you think you have anxiety or are experiencing a more severe anxiety disorder, your doctor will inquire about your symptoms and personal and family medical history. This may lead to a physical exam and lab tests to look for a different health problem that may not be triggering your symptoms. If there isn’t another health issue, your doctor may recommend a psychiatric evaluation by a mental health professional. During a mental health assessment, your symptoms may be compared to criteria in the DSM-5 to confirm a diagnosis.

Ongoing care could involve psychotherapy, medicine, or newer therapy, including ketamine infusion therapy.

Final Thoughts

Anxiety is a part of everyday life and often disappears on its own. But if you have long-term symptoms which interfere with daily life, you’re one of more than 40 million U.S. adults fighting a battle involving anxiety disorders. The most common symptoms often go away on their own or can be managed with self-help techniques like breathing exercises, muscle relaxation, or mindfulness. Contact us today to learn more about how ketamine infusions for anxiety can help you.

Anxiety

How To Stop Anxiety

Momentary anxiety is not just normal – it is an important evolutionary tool. It is our body’s way of letting us know that we may be in danger. Some people have feelings of anxiety and stress that go far above normal levels – these are anxiety disorders.

Most people feel anxiety regularly, and up to 40 million adults in the United States deal with an anxiety disorder each year.

Though anxiety disorders can make you feel hopeless, the right treatment options and lifestyle changes can help anyone find relief. No one treatment will “fix” everyone, but anyone can find a treatment that works for them.

How To Stop Anxiety

Sleep Hygiene

Everyone should get somewhere around 8 hours of sleep a night. If this is difficult for you, there are ways to work around this. Try getting off electronics an hour before you go to bed, or develop a consistent sleep schedule.

Exercise

Physical health and mental health are very closely linked. You should aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise, three to five times throughout the week.

Avoid Harmful Substances

Although it’s easy to fall back on junk food or alcohol during difficult times, these substances actually do more harm than good in the long run.

Treatment

There are lots of treatment options your doctor or provider may suggest, ranging from psychotherapy to antidepressants. New treatments like ketamine infusions may signal a new era for the treatment of anxiety.

Ketamine Treatment for Anxiety

Research indicates that ketamine treats anxiety disorders by binding to receptors in the brain, increasing the amount of the neurotransmitter glutamate being released. This sets off a chain reaction in the brain that affects thinking and emotional regulation.

This means, in layman’s terms language, that the brain reacts to ketamine infusions in a way that triggers hormones that help the brain create more positive emotions. Unlike other treatments, ketamine can provide this relief within hours or days of the first infusion, although it is most successful as a series of infusions.

The Kinds of Anxiety Disorder

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder
  • Panic Disorder
  • Social Phobia/Social Anxiety Disorder
  • Agoraphobia
  • Selective Mutism
  • Separation Anxiety Disorder
  • Substance-Induced Anxiety Disorder

Symptoms of Anxiety

Anxiety disorders vary from person to person, but typically the symptoms include most of the following:

  • Feeling nervous
  • Feeling restless
  • A sense of impending doom or danger
  • Increased heart rate
  • Rapid breathing/hyperventilation
  • Sweating
  • Trembling
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue/lack of energy
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Gastrointestinal distress
  • Avoidance of things you associate with your anxiety

Causes of Anxiety

Developing an anxiety disorder is not quite as simple as getting the Flu, for instance. The Flu can be traced back to a definite cause, whereas anxiety disorders are the result of several factors like inherited traits or traumatic events.

In some cases, anxiety disorders can be an indicator of an underlying health issue. Other conditions or medical problems sometimes linked to anxiety include:

  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Thyroid problems (hyperthyroidism)
  • Respiratory conditions like COPD or Asthma
  • Drug abuse or drug withdrawal
  • Chronic pain
  • Irritable bowel syndrome

Contact us today if you or a loved one are suffering from anxiety, and would like to learn more about this innovative new treatment.

OCD

Can OCD Be Cured?

Like all other mental health conditions, OCD does not have a known cure at this time. That said, there are treatments and forms of therapy that help alleviate the symptoms and bring you to a place of mindfulness and acceptance.

OCD (which stands for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder) is a mental health condition characterized by unwanted, intrusive thoughts that make you feel compelled to carry out ritualistic behaviors. Trying to ignore these obsessions will only increase your overall distress and anxiety.

The 5 Symptom Subtypes of OCD

Generally speaking, most symptoms will fall into one of these five subtypes, but they are not mutually exclusive and your symptoms may change over time.

  • Contamination Obsessions with Washing and Cleaning Compulsions: Those suffering from this type of OCD will typically focus on feelings of discomfort brought on by feelings of germs and contamination and will wash and clean excessively.
  • Harm Obsessions with Checking Compulsions: Those experiencing this symptom subtype tend to have intense thoughts regarding possible harm that could be brought on to them or others and will use intense checking rituals to try to relieve their distress.
  • Obsessions Without Visible Compulsions: This subtype is characterized by unwanted obsessions regarding sexual, religious, or aggressive themes. Triggers related to these obsessions are usually avoided.
  • Symmetry Obsessions with Ordering, Arranging, and Counting Compulsions: This subtype is characterized by feeling a strong need to rearrange objects constantly. This also involves thinking or saying sentences or words over and over again until you feel it has been set absolutely perfectly.
  • Hoarding: Those with this symptom subtype collect items of little or no value until their own living space is filled with so much clutter it becomes difficult to live in. This is frequently accompanied by obsessive fears of losing items that you feel may be needed someday in the future.

Obsession

Obsessions are persistent, intrusive thoughts, feelings, or images that give you stress or anxiety. If you have OCD, you may try to get rid of these obsessions by performing a compulsive ritual. Obsessions usually intrude in your everyday life, often getting in the way of your day-to-day activities.

Examples of obsessions include the following:

  • Fear of contamination
  • Needing things orderly and symmetrical
  • Aggressive or horrific thoughts about harming yourself or others
  • Unwanted thoughts, including sexual or religious subjects

Signs and symptoms of obsession also include:

  • Fear of contamination when touching objects someone else may have touched
  • Intense stress when objects are not perceived as orderly
  • Intrusive images or thoughts about hurting yourself or someone else
  • Thoughts about shouting obscenities or acting otherwise inappropriately
  • Avoidance of situations that may trigger your obsessions
  • Distress about unpleasant sexual images repeating in your mind

Compulsion

Compulsions are repetitive behaviors that people with OCD feel they must perform. Typically, these compulsions are done to reduce anxiety from obsessive thoughts, but these compulsions usually provide temporary relief only.

Examples of compulsion signs and symptoms include the following:

  • Hand-washing until your skin becomes raw
  • Checking doors to make sure they’re locked
  • Checking the stove to make sure it’s turned off
  • Counting in repetitive patterns
  • Silently repeating a prayer, word, or phrase

Ketamine for OCD

Ketamine, first approved by the FDA as an anesthetic, has been shown in recent years to treat mood disorders like OCD with rapid results. Ketamine is thought to play a role in the treatment of mood disorders through its influence on glutamate, a neurotransmitter that mediates the response to stress and traumatic memories.

To learn more about ketamine and its use as OCD treatment, contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

Ketamine News

CRPS Types 1 And 2 and How You Can Find Treatment

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) is a chronic neuro-inflammatory disorder that typically affects one specific limb after an injury, believed to be caused by damage to the nervous system. The pain is usually out of proportion when compared to the initial injury. Often, the initial energy is a musculoskeletal or nerve injury.

CRPS is uncommon and still not completely understood by science, but treatment can be effective when started early on. As many as 200,000 individuals experience this condition in the United States every year.

Research has proven time and time again that although CRPS is a physical disorder, it has not been unheard of for medical professionals to suggest that patients with CRPS are exaggerating their pain for psychological reasons.

What are the symptoms of CRPS?

The most consistent symptom is constant, severe pain often described as a burning or “pins and needles” sensation throughout the affected limb. In some cases, the pain has been known to spread across the entire limb, even if the initial injury only affected a finger or a toe. The affected area may experience allodynia, which means that normal contact with the skin can be very painful.

Other symptoms may include:

  • Sensitivity to cold
  • Swelling of the affected area
  • Changes in skin temperature, color, or texture
  • Joint swelling or stiffness
  • Muscle spasms or tremors

Symptoms have been known to change over time and often vary from person to person. In rare cases, CRPS may even spread from the affected area to elsewhere in your body.

What are the causes of CRPS?

While the exact causes are still not entirely understood, in more than 90 percent of cases of CRPS the condition is triggered by a history of trauma or injury. These triggers include fractures, sprains, soft tissue injury, limb immobilization, surgery, or sometimes even a minor medical procedure such as a needle stick.

Ketamine News

5 Treatments for Depression & Anxiety

Somewhere around seven percent of the US population, or about seventeen million American adults, suffer from depression each year. Depression may occur only once, but for some, depression typically occurs in episodes where symptoms provide stress for days or weeks at a time. Symptoms may include, but are not limited to:

  • Differences in sleep patterns, such as getting too much or not enough sleep
  • Lack of interest in hobbies or other normal activities
  • Frequent outbursts of increased irritability
  • General feelings of sadness or hopelessness
  • Lack of energy
  • Dramatic weight loss or weight gain
  • A heightened sense of anxiety
  • Trouble focusing
  • Suicidal ideations
  • Unexplained aches and pains

Not only does depression cause a litany of emotional problems, but many physical symptoms or ailments as well. Adults suffering from depression may be sixty percent more likely to develop heart disease. This can be further complicated by excessive weight gain, sometimes caused by an increase in cravings while depressed. Depression may lead some down a road to alcohol or drug abuse, which then only worsens the symptoms of depression in a vicious cycle. Those suffering from depression may withdraw from social situations with friends and family and isolate themselves. Additionally, many with depression also develop anxiety or panic disorders.

Anxiety disorders take many different forms, such as Agoraphobia (a tendency to avoid situations that may cause you to feel panic), or Social Anxiety Disorder. Most anxiety disorders share some common symptoms, such as: feeling restless or nervous, a sense of impending doom, increased heart rate and breathing, or gastrointestinal problems.

There are many different treatments for anxiety and depression, but many suffering will find that they suffer from treatment-resistant forms of these mental disorders. While SSRIs and other antidepressants may take weeks at a time before the effects start to become noticeable, there are quite a few options that can help relieve your depression and anxiety, sometimes within hours.

How to Find Relief from Treatment-Resistant Depression or Anxiety

Ketamine Infusions

An innovative new treatment option, Ketamine is an FDA-approved anesthetic that has been found to provide rapid relief from depression and anxiety when infused at a low dose. The FDA has recently approved Esketamine, a nasal spray comprised of a compound based on Ketamine, for the treatment of depression and other mood disorders. Research indicates that Ketamine stimulates the regrowth of synapses within the brain, essentially rewiring the parts of the brain that may be causing distress. Ketamine is also available as an infusion. Some researchers maintain a 75% success rate when treating those suffering from depression or anxiety with Ketamine Infusions.

Adopt a Serotonin-Boosting Diet

Serotonin, known by its scientific name 5-hydroxytryptamine, is a chemical messenger used throughout the brain and blood vessels to transmit messages between nerve cells. While it has many uses in the human body, it is thought to play an important role in the body’s happiness and overall mood, and also regulates sleep and memory.

It is currently unclear how serotonin may contribute to depression, but there are a number of drugs and medications that alter serotonin levels to treat depression or anxiety. SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) such as fluoxetine (Prozac) or sertraline (Zoloft) are approved by the FDA for the treatment of depression and anxiety.

Fortunately, eating foods that contain tryptophan can boost serotonin levels in your brain. Research into tryptophan has shown that serotonin levels drop when practicing a diet low in tryptophan. Foods that can increase tryptophan or serotonin levels include:

  • Eggs. Egg yolks are rich in tryptophan, and other nutrients good for the human body, such as protein or omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Cheese/Milk. Milk can also provide calcium, which strengthens bones and teeth.
  • Nuts/Seeds. All nuts and seeds have been found to contain tryptophan. Eating just a handful of nuts once a day may also lower your risk for cancer or heart disease.
  • Salmon. Salmon is also a strong source of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin-D. Eating just two portions of oily fish a week provides enough tryptophan for most people.

Get Outside and Absorb Sunlight

Like the foods listed above, sunlight itself is a great source of serotonin. Research has shown a link between decreased sun exposure and dropping serotonin levels.

A modest amount of direct sunlight can boost the body’s Vitamin D levels and can decrease the risks of cancer.

Fortunately, for those suffering from Agoraphobia, one can buy a lightbox and participate in what’s known as phototherapy. The lightbox simulates natural sunlight to increase serotonin levels in the brain.

Try Meditating

While immediate relief is usually not possible with meditation, habitual meditation not only reduces thoughts of depression and anxiety but also allows a person to practice how they react to stress and anxiety.

Research shows that the medial prefrontal cortex (the mPFC) is a key part of how the brain processes anxiety depression. Often referred to as the “Me Center” of the brain, the mPFC is where information about the self is processed. When stressed, the mPFC becomes hyperactive. The amygdala, the part of the brain that is responsible for the fight-or-flight response, often works in tandem with the mPFC to spike the stress hormone cortisol.

Meditation has been found to help break down the connection between the mPFC and the amygdala, which allows a person to better control the stress and anxiety one may be feeling.

Avoid Caffeine as Much as Possible

A 2019 study performed by the National Center for Biotechnology Information suggests that the caffeine from tea and coffee may disrupt important neurotransmitters like dopamine. For those with depression, a drop in dopamine can lower motivation and increase the craving for stimulants.

A heavy intake of caffeine often results in unpleasant side effects such as anxiety, headaches, an increase in blood pressure, or nausea. These symptoms may only further exacerbate depression and anxiety.

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