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How Depressed Am I?

How Depressed Am I?

Contrary to what you might think, the possibility of experiencing a depressive episode is a “when,” not “if.” Most people will get depressed at least once at some point in their life. Typically, these symptoms go away with time. For others, depression is a longer term debilitating condition. Thankfully, new treatment options make finding real relief possible. 

What is depression?

Depression, also known as major depressive disorder or clinical depression, “is a common but serious mood disorder. It causes severe symptoms that affect how you feel, think, and handle daily activities, such as sleeping, eating, or working. To be diagnosed with depression, the symptoms must be present for at least two weeks.”

Ignoring symptoms of depression can have serious consequences, sometimes leading to suicide. Many of the symptoms can be treated with therapies like ketamine.

Warning signs

Depression and mental illness have their own warning signs in adolescents and adults, but some are more obvious than others:

  • Excessive worry or fear
  • Sadness
  • Extreme mood changes
  • Easily irritated or angered
  • Trouble perceiving reality
  • Mysterious physical ailments without sign of injury or another cause
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Difficulty with relationships

Key facts about depression

  • Depression affects more than 250 million people globally.
  • Depression is a leading cause of disability worldwide and is a major contributor to the overall global burden of disease.”
  • Women are more at risk than men to suffer mild, moderate, or even severe symptoms of depression.
  • In a 2019 survey, 2.8% of adults had severe depression symptoms, 4.2% suffered from moderate symptoms, and 11.5% experienced mild symptoms in the previous two weeks before the survey.
  • People 18- to 25-years old are at the highest risk for depression.
  • More than 3 million adolescents 12- to 17-years old are depressed in any given year.

How depressed am i?

If you’re suffering from symptoms of depression and don’t know where to turn, consider talking with a doctor or licensed mental health provider. People often brush off the symptoms, thinking their mood swings or emotions are the result of a bad day at work, school, or a domestic squabble. It’s probably more than that. Your physician can assess your symptoms through a questionaire (PHQ-&) and quantitate the level of your depression.

Here are some questions to ask yourself, which will not only help you understand what’s going on, but will help your doctor or therapist treat your depression.

  • Do I have trouble falling asleep?
  • How well do I sleep during the night?
  • Do I wake up too early or sleep too much?
  • How often do I feel sad?
  • Is my appetite normal?
  • Is my weight okay?
  • Do I have trouble concentrating or making decisions?
  • How do I view myself?
  • Do I think about death or suicide?
  • Am I still interested in hobbies or pastimes?
  • How’s my energy level?
  • Do I feel restless?
  • Do I seem to move or talk in slow motion?

Types of depression

Major types of depression include:

  • Persistent depressive disorder is a depressed mood that lasts for at least two years
  • Postpartum depression mostly affects women after childbirth, but also has been observed in spouses and other children
  • Seasonal affective disorder mostly happens during the winter or colder months when there’s less natural sunlight and people spend more time indoors
  • Bipolar disorder is different from depression, but it’s a kind of mental illness with symptoms of major depression

How to diagnose depression

Your doctor or therapist can diagnose depression. For diagnosis, your symptoms will be compared to criteria in the DSM-5 Manual of Mental Disorders. You’ll also likely undergo a physical and mental health exam to uncover possible causes for depression and will be asked questions about your personal and family history of mental illness. 

Treatment options

Even the most serious cases of depression can be treated by psychotherapy, medicine, or a combination of two. Depending on your health and other factors, your doctor may recommend self-help options like breathing, meditation, and relaxation techniques. The treatment always depends on the clinical diagnosis and will last several months.

Ketamine and depression

In March 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the use of ketamine to treat depression in adults. It was the first new medicine approved for depression in more than 30 years and has opened a world of possibilities for people who suffered from treatment-resistant depression – or depression that couldn’t be treated with other medicine or therapy. The medicine has shown great promise. It’s available by prescription and is dispensed through licensed ketamine clinics.

Final thoughts

An innovative new treatment option, ketamine started as a fast-acting anesthetic and pain reliever. Research in the last two decades has shown that ketamine is a powerful new tool for the treatment of depression.

Ketamine works to stimulate the growth and regrowth of neurotransmitters in the brain, essentially rewriting the parts of the brain causing distress. Up to 70% of patients may be able to find relief from the symptoms of depression after a series of IV ketamine infusions.

Contact us at Advanced Wellness and Pain to learn more about this innovative new treatment option. Our mission is to provide compassionate care and support by leveraging psychedelic medicine as a catalyst to create positive life-changing experiences.

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James T. Leathem, DO

Dr. James Leathem is a board-certified anesthesiologist and a member of the American Society of Anesthesiologists. He was born and raised in Connecticut and graduated from Florida Southern College with a bachelor of science in marketing management with minors in sociology and communications. He obtained his medical degree from Midwestern University’s Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine and completed his residency in anesthesiology at Michigan State University and its affiliated McLaren Greater Lansing Hospital.

In 2015, after residency, Dr. Leathem returned to Arizona to practice anesthesiology. He joined Red Mountain Anesthesiologists and worked primarily at Banner Baywood Medical Center in Mesa, performing 100% of his own cases. He was made partner in the group after demonstrating 3 years of anesthesia excellence and administering over 4,000 anesthetics. In 2019, a corporate change occurred and an opportunity presented itself in which he was able to transition out of the hospital to surgery center and clinic-based anesthesia.

Dr. Leathem realizes that the only constant in life is change. In 2020, amidst the global pandemic, his career took a different direction. This change led him to collaborate with Dr. Wong and Dr. Sharma and they founded Advanced Wellness and Pain (AWAP). Their mission is to provide a variety of state-of-the-art procedural services that improve patients’ quality of life and overall physical and mental well-being.

Dr. Leathem believes that we are all a work in progress and that each day, one should strive to make positive changes in their life. He is here to help empower each patient on their journey to be their best self and live their best life. When you are being cared for by Dr. Leathem, you can be assured that he will give you his undivided attention and time.

Gregory Wong, MD

Dr. Wong is a Board-Certified Anesthesiologist and a member of both the American Society of Anesthesiology and the Arizona Society of Anesthesiology. He did his undergraduate training at the University of California at Davis, Davis, California; doctorate training at The University of Health Sciences of the Chicago Medical School, North Chicago, IL; and his post-doctoral training at the Integrated Program at the University of Arizona, Phoenix, AZ. He has spent his whole 24-year career practicing in Arizona.

Dr. Wong grew up in the Bay Area of California. He is married and is raising three daughters. At the early age of 12 years old, he knew he wanted to become a physician. His love of the human spirit, intrigue of human physiology, and compassion for human suffering led him to the path of anesthesiology and pain medicine.

Today, Dr. Wong realizes patients need a holistic biophysical-mental-spiritual care. This philosophy has brought him to the studies of regenerative medicine and infusion therapies. He has firsthandily witnessed the overwhelming success of these therapies for treating chronic pain and depression and the return of patients of “life-functionality.”

“There has never been a time more important than now to advocate for our patients in these difficult times. We owe it to our patients to offer these state-of-the-art treatment modalities that weren’t available before.”

Deepak Sharma, MD, MBA

Dr. Sharma is a Board Certified Anesthesiologist and a member of the American Society of Anesthesiologists. He completed three degrees at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA: a Bachelor in Finance, a Master in Business Administration, and a Doctor of Medicine. He went on to complete residency at the Mount Sinai Morningside-West Hospital System in New York, NY and post-graduate fellowship at Stanford Medical Center in Palo Alto, CA.

Dr. Sharma is committed to treating his patients as a whole with a comprehensive biophysical-mental-spiritual approach. He is a lifelong learner and is constantly researching cutting-edge therapies backed by scientific studies. He has taken a particular interest in regenerative and infusion therapies after witnessing firsthand their significant benefits on those suffering from chronic pain and depression. In his free time, Dr. Sharma enjoys spending time with his family and friends, hiking, traveling, reading, and meditation.

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