Woman with multiple identities

Does PTSD Cause Dissociation?

If you’ve lived through a traumatic experience, you may suffer symptoms like avoidance or relationship trouble. But symptoms related to consciousness, memory, and self-identity could be warning signs of a subcategory of post-traumatic stress disorder called dissociation. Many people can lessen harmful symptoms with therapies, including medicine or ketamine infusion treatment.

WHAT IS PTSD?

It’s normal to have disturbing memories, feel on edge, or have sleep problems following trauma. Initially, it might be difficult to perform daily chores you’re accustomed to, like a job, attending school, or spending time with family and friends. But most people begin to feel better within weeks or months. For some people, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms may start long after, or they may appear in fits and starts. Anything longer may be signs of PTSD.

WHAT IS DISSOCIATION?

Dissociation, a common feature of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), involves disruptions in the usually integrated functions of consciousness, memory, identity, and perception of the self and the environment. Acute dissociative responses to psychological trauma have been found to predict the development of chronic PTSD.” Furthermore, someone who suffers acute dissociative reactions to trauma also shows a chronic dissociation model as a response to cues of the original trauma and slight stressors that accompany it.

WHO GETS IT?

PTSD and dissociation can happen to anyone, regardless of gender, age, or socioeconomic standing. Like other mental health issues, it’s the great equalizer. It can happen in all people, of any ethnicity, nationality, culture, or accumulated wealth. Posttraumatic stress disorder is known to harm about 3.5 percent of U.S. adults annually, and about one in 11 people will be diagnosed with it during their lives. “Women are twice as likely as men to have PTSD.”

SYMPTOMS

If you think you have PTSD, the symptoms are divided into four categories: Intrusive memories, avoidance, negative alterations in mood and thinking, and variations in emotion and physical reactions. Watch for symptoms like:

  • Reliving the trauma like it was occurring again
  • Avoiding anything which reminds you of what happened
  • Hopelessness about future events
  • Memory trouble, like forgetting key points of the traumatic occurrence
  • Being easily frightened or alarmed
  • Always being on the lookout for danger

DOES PTSD CAUSE DISSOCIATION?

PTSD doesn’t cause dissociation because it’s a subtype of PTSD. According to a study, there is a significant bond between trauma (like childhood abuse and/or neglect) and dissociative disorders, and the link is critical in both directions. It’s believed that long-term trauma is a cause of dissociative disorders, with detachment happening like a coping strategy that lets you put distance between yourself and a trauma that could otherwise be intolerable.

Part of the key to understanding the relationship between dissociation, PTSD, and trauma is the symptoms and the results of a self-report measure or a semi-structured interview conducted by an experienced mental health professional. In either case, this involves the use of the Dissociative Subtype of PTSD Scale (DSPS), “a 15-item measure that assesses lifetime and past-month (current) dissociative symptoms, including symptoms that define the DSM-5 definition of the dissociative subtype of PTSD. The measure has a branching structure such that individuals are first asked if they have ever (in their lifetime) experienced a given symptom and then asked if that symptom has been present in the past month.”

According to the National Center for PTSD, part of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, if a dissociative symptom has been seen in the last month, the incidence of the symptom is later measured “on a 1-4 scale and the intensity of the symptom is rated on a 1-5 scale. The extent to which a given symptom has occurred exclusively in the context of the use of medications or drugs that made the individual very tired or drowsy is also assessed.”

A doctor or mental health professional may also use questions from the Responses to Script-Driven Imagery Scale during the assessment:

  1. Did the experience seem unreal to you?
  2. Did you have the feeling of being a spectator watching what was going on?
  3. Did you experience a sensation of disconnection from your body?
  4. Did you feel as if you were in a fog?

TREATMENT OPTIONS

Many people who experience PTSD, dissociation, and other mental illnesses or chronic pain can benefit from many kinds of therapy, particular medicine, or ketamine treatment. In addition, holistic or alternative treatment may work, including massage therapy, acupuncture, yoga, meditation, exercise, or dietary and other lifestyle changes. Call us today to learn more about the innovative options for treatment we provide.

Illustration of a mental health gauge

How Depressed Am I?

Everybody gets depressed at least once in their life. For most people, the symptoms subside on their own. But for others, they linger and worsen, interfering with daily life until the condition becomes debilitating. If you suffer from depression, read on to learn more about its symptoms and treatment options.

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 result from a bad day at work, school, or a domestic squabble. It’s probably more than that.

 

Here are some questions to ask yourself, which will help you understand what’s going on and 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 primarily 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 your depression. For diagnosis, your symptoms will be compared to criteria in the DSM-5. 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. Your doctor may recommend self-help options like breathing, meditation, and relaxation techniques, depending on your health and other factors. 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

Ketamine started as a fast-acting anesthetic and pain reliever, an innovative new treatment option. 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 today to learn more about this innovative new treatment option.

 

How Would You Describe Persistent Depressive Disorder?

It’s okay to feel down, moody, or tired after an exhausting week at work. But if those feelings persist daily and last for years, you may be experiencing symptoms of a kind of mood disorder known as persistent depressive disorder. It affects millions in the U.S., but its symptoms are treatable.

PREVALENCE 

According to a U.S. government survey, persistent depressive disorder affects millions. The latest figures:

  • Prevalence of persistent depressive disorder among U.S. adults between 45 and 59 years-old is 2.3%, 30–44-year-olds (1.7%), 18–29-year-olds (1.1%), and 60 or older (.5%).
  • About 1.5% of U.S. adults are affected in any year, with about 2.5% having it at some time in their lives.
  • Females (1.9%) are more susceptible than males (1%).

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE PERSISTENT DEPRESSIVE DISORDER?

Dysthymia is a weaker, but long-term kind of depression. It’s also known as persistent depressive disorder. People experiencing this condition may also suffer from attacks of major depression at times.

Depression is a mood disorder that involves your body, mood, and thoughts. It affects the way you eat and sleep, think about things, and feel about yourself. It’s not the same as being unhappy or in a ‘blue’ mood. It’s not a sign of weakness or something that can be willed or wished away. People with depression can’t ‘snap out of it’ and get better. Treatment is key to recovery.”

Symptoms can often be treated with ketamine infusion therapy, but they also can lead to serious harm if ignored. They could include:

  • Lack of interest in daily pursuits
  • Sadness, emptiness, or low feelings
  • Hopelessness
  • Fatigue and low energy
  • Poor self-esteem, self-criticism, or feeling incompetent
  • Problems thinking and decision making 
  • Irritability or extreme anger
  • Less activity, success, and productivity
  • Avoiding social activities
  • Feeling guilty or worrying over past events
  • Low appetite, poor eating habits
  • Problems sleeping

The disorder often begins in childhood, the teenage years, or young adult life and is chronic in nature. Factors may boost the risk of developing or triggering it, including:

  • Having a blood relative with major depressive disorder or other mood disorders
  • Traumatic or stressful events, like losing a loved one or financial insecurity
  • Certain negativity-based personality traits, like poor self-esteem, over-dependence, being self-critical, or pessimism
  • You have a history of another mental disorder, like a personality disorder

What causes persistent depressive disorder?

No one is certain of the exact cause. The disorder could be related to some differences in the human brain that include a chemical called serotonin. People with low levels of serotonin may have trouble handling emotions and making decisions, key functions driven by what happens in your brain. Persistent depressive disorder may also be triggered by another medical problem or ongoing life stressors. These include biological, genetic, environmental, and psychological influencers. Chronic stress and trauma may also be linked to the condition.

How is it diagnosed?

Depression often co-occurs with other ailments, like heart disease or cancer. It could also crop up with substance abuse or anxiety problems. Often, people with persistent depressive disorder become used to its mild depressive symptoms and don’t think they need help. However, early diagnosis and treatment is key to recovery.

A diagnosis may be made following a thorough psychiatric evaluation and medical exam performed by a qualified medical doctor or mental health professional. A medical exam seeks to identify or rule out an underlying condition that causes the symptoms, while a psychiatric assessment focuses on thoughts, feelings, behavior, and personal and family history of mental illness. In either case, your medical provider will compare your depression symptoms with criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

TREATMENT

Many factors contribute to how a medical doctor or mental health provider treats someone who’s experiencing persistent depressive disorder or another mental illness. Factors like your age, gender, personal and family history of mental illness, and overall health inform the decision-making process.

The most widespread form of treatment is some form of psychotherapy. “This is most often cognitive behavioral or interpersonal therapy. It focuses on changing distorted views of yourself and your environment. It also works to improve relationship skills and identify and manage stressors.”

FINAL THOUGHTS

If you suffer from any kind of depression, there are strategies you can try to help yourself, but it’s tough because depression can lead to exhaustion, and feelings of worthlessness, helplessness, and hopelessness.

Contact us today to learn more about ketamine infusion therapy, an innovative new treatment for mental health conditions and mood disorders.

How Your Diet Affects Anxiety

HOW YOUR DIET AFFECTS ANXIETY

Food and anxiety help the body regulate mood. If you’re anxious, you may choose food and beverages you believe make you feel good. But not all food is created equal when fighting anxiety symptoms, and sometimes you need other help.

 

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.” 

American adults are the prime demographic for anxiety, but it also affects children with symptoms starting before age 21.

 

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?

 

Symptoms fluctuate depending on the kind of anxiety disorder you experience. Common symptoms of an anxiety disorder may include physical, mental, and behavioral symptoms.

 

  • Cold or sticky hands
  • Dry mouth
  • Heart tremors
  • Vomiting
  • Numbness or tingling in the extremities
  • Muscle tension
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling panic, worry, and uneasiness
  • Nightmares
  • Recurrent thoughts or flashbacks of bad experiences
  • Frenzied, obsessive thoughts
  • Failure to be calm and still
  • Ritualistic behaviors, like washing your hands continually
  • Problems sleeping

 

WHAT CAUSES ANXIETY?

 

The triggers of anxiety aren’t entirely known. Life experiences which may include trauma seem to launch anxiety disorders in people who may be susceptible to anxiety. Inherited traits could also be a factor.

 

There could be medical causes:

  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Respiratory problems

 

But anxiety can also result from an underlying medical condition if you don’t have blood relatives with anxiety, have never had it before, and don’t avoid things that could trigger symptoms.

 

HOW YOUR DIET AFFECTS ANXIETY

 

If you’re looking for food that may help control anxiety symptoms, you’re not alone. You may be one of 40 million U.S. adults on the same quest. Some research indicates that certain foods soothe moods and make you feel calmer, while other foods do just the opposite, at least in the short term. If you have stress that ends in anxiety or panic attacks, dietary modifications may relieve anxiety symptoms.

A prominent precursor to anxiety is stress, which revolves around the constant demands and pressures we all experience daily. Stress can be chemical, emotional, mental, or physical in its composition. Nearly anything you encounter can result in stress, which is why doctors, nutritionists, and other healthcare professionals tout the benefits of making good food choices to fight stress and anxiety.

 

Here are some tips to fight anxiety:

  • Diminished blood sugar, inadequate hydration, using alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco can also trigger or imitate anxiety symptoms. 
  • Eating regularly and avoiding hypoglycemic states are very important. Avoid sugar, both real and artificial forms.
  • For the best hydration, plain spring water is best, and you should enjoy six to eight glasses daily. 
  • Nicotine doesn’t trigger or cause anxiety, but its withdrawal can mimic the symptoms, and people with anxiety sometimes soothe themselves with a smoke. Nicotine use can lead to higher blood pressure and heart rate, both symptomatic of anxiety and precursors to even more severe health conditions. 
  • If someone experiences anxiety, it’s not unheard of to use alcohol as a crutch to calm their nerves. Still, heavy drinking is problematic in its own right, with unique emotional and physical issues.

 

What should you add to your meal choices?

  • Follow a healthy and well-balanced meal plan, such as the Mediterranean diet
  • Reduce sugary and processed foods to control symptoms of anxiety
  • Limit your intake of caffeine and alcohol, and eschew cigarettes
  • Try zinc-rich foods (broccoli, kale, legumes, nuts, oysters, and whole grains)
  • Your diet should include magnesium-rich foods: avocado, dark leafy greens, and fish
  • Asparagus, avocado, leafy greens, and meat are rich in vitamin B 
  • Foods containing omega-3 fatty acids are a good choice
  • Consume more probiotic-rich foods (fermented foods like kefir and yogurt)

 

DIAGNOSIS & TREATMENT

 

Controlling anxiety symptoms typically begin with a medical exam or psychiatric assessment to ensure there isn’t a physical problem triggering the condition and assess your personal and family history of possible mental illness. Beyond that, your healthcare provider will use several tools to aid in the diagnosis, like blood tests, diagnostic procedures, and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition. Popular treatment options include psychotherapy and ketamine infusion therapy.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

 

If you’re suffering from anxiety, there are many things you can do to minimize symptoms, including psychotherapy and certain medicines. Your healthcare provider may also recommend lifestyle changes, with one of the most effective being consuming healthy meals daily. 

Ketamine infusion therapy is one promising option. Call us today to learn more about this innovative new treatment option.