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Kim Floyde

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Mental Health Needs Surge

By News

Mental Health Needs Surge

Depression, substance abuse on the rise

If there’s any indicator as to the emotional toll the pandemic has taken, it’s the increased demand for mental health care.

The uncertainty, sadness and struggle to survive COVID-19 have led to an increase in mental health concerns including depression, substance abuse and suicidal ideation both nationwide and in the Gunnison Valley.

Gunnison County leaders last week during a virtual town hall took a closer look at how the community has fared since the start of the pandemic nine months ago.

They found that people of all ages are dealing with the difficulties of navigating the pandemic. For adults, unemployment, food insecurity and child care have been reported as top stressors. Teenagers are taking on uncertainty with class schedules and canceled events such as prom. And the elderly, who face the highest risk of severe COVID-19, are facing isolation and vulnerability like never before.

A Gunnison County business and community survey sent out this November found more than 58% of business owners report their mental health has declined since this time last year.

Nearly a quarter of the 560 respondents said they feel anxious and stressed “most of the time,” and another 26% reported an increase in alcohol consumption.

“Unfortunately we are seeing the same people here over and over again,” said Gunnison Valley Health Foundation Director Jenny Birnie of recent admissions to the hospital.

Birnie said GVH has seen a staggering 500% increase in admissions to its emergency rooms for behavioral issues among adults in 2020. Th e primary diagnoses include anxiety, suicide attempts or ideation, alcohol and opioid non-fatal overdose, depression and hallucinations.

Since January 2020, there has been an 18% increase in visits for suicidal ideation as well as a 10% increase in alcohol non-fatal overdoses for adults in Gunnison County.

Alcohol abuse has long been a problem for both adults and youth in the Gunnison Valley, said Director of Gunnison County Juvenile Services Kari Commerford.

A Healthy Kids Colorado survey from fall 2019 found that 27% of high school students in Gunnison County reported binge drinking (five or more drinks) in the past 30 days.

“This is significantly higher than regional, state and national figures,” Commerford said.

High school students who reported binge drinking expressed increased feelings of hopelessness and suicidal thoughts.

Th ose figures have only continued to climb amid the pandemic, Commerford said.

Regional Director for The Center for Mental Health Kimberly Behounek said increased stress during an event such as a pandemic can result in diffi culty sleeping, concentrating and increased substance abuse.

Knowing where to get assistance for services ranging from testing to therapy and other resources is a good start to addressing mental health issues.

It’s important to know personal priorities and what works for the individual, said Behounek. Whether it’s going for a short walk or reading a book, it’s beneficial to know how to cope with continued stress.

“Your priorities may not be the norm, and that’s OK,” Behounek said.

Birnie acknowledged the hardships Gunnison County residents have faced in recent months but said she was grateful for the county’s current status.

“We’re actually in good shape compared to other communities,” Birnie said.

Gunnison Country Times
Kate Gienapp can be contacted at 970.641.1414 or kate@gunnisontimes.com
Gunnison Country Times | December 17, 2020
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What has been causing stress? (chart)

A recent survey in Gunnison County found financial insecurity to be the biggest stressor as the community continues to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. (Courtesy photo)

HEALTHY WAYS TO COPE WITH STRESS

Taking care of your emotional health will help you think clearly and react to the urgent needs to protect yourself and your family.

  • Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including those on social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
  • Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch, or try a meditation exercise.
  • Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Get plenty of sleep.
  • Avoid excessive alcohol and drug use.
  • Make time to unwind.
  • Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
  • Connect with your community- or faith-based organizations. While social distancing measures are in place, consider connecting online, through social media, or by phone or mail.

LOCAL RESOURCES

GVH partnered with The Center for Mental Health (CMH) to gather certified peer support specialists that have overcome a mental health condition and mentor individuals who struggle with mental health, psychological trauma or substance abuse.

SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT

GVH Peer Specialist
Gunnison
970.642.4762

CMH Peer Specialist
Gunnison/Crested Butte
970.252.3200

The purchase of a designated vehicle for the mental health clinician will allow the clinician to respond autonomously, stay on scene to deliver patient services, and complete follow-up visits while freeing up officers for additional calls for service. Courtesy photo by William Woody (City of Montrose)

CMH launches mobile crisis service

By News

Center for Mental Health launches mobile crisis service

The Center for Mental Health Crisis Walk-in Center

The Center for Mental Health’s walk-in crisis clinic at 300 N. Cascade Ave. The center recently launched a mobile response program for those in crisis, who cannot access the clinic, and whose situation does not require a law enforcement response. (Montrose Daily Press file photo)

People in need of immediate mental health care can’t always access the Center for Mental Health’s resources, particularly in rural areas. Enter the center’s new mobile crisis response team.

“Our local crisis response program is a 24-hour a day program that works to help support someone who is in a crisis in the community — in their home, their school, or other community-based location — that, due to where they live or availability, that they are unable to come to our crisis walk-in center in Montrose,” chief clinical officer Amanda Jones said Wednesday, in introducing the new service to area law enforcement agencies.

The center operates a crisis stabilization clinic on North Cascade Avenue, in addition to its offices on Miami Road. Therapists have also stepped up to work as co-responders who travel with police agencies on calls where their services are needed.

The mobile crisis program is one more tool to help meet urgent mental health needs.

Trained professionals are sent out to de-escalate situations and stabilize the involved individual. The team conducts a crisis evaluation and then connects the patient to a clinician for an in-person or telehealth assessment. The team can then transport the patient to the crisis center, hospital or other facility, plus make a followup care plan.

People in crisis can call for help themselves; others can also call on behalf of someone else. The crisis team that receives the calls will evaluate the requests and then dispatch someone to help.

Calls can be made to the local crisis line at 970-252-6220 or to the state crisis line, 844-493-8255.

“That phone call is answered live,” said Heather Thompson, the center’s director of Nursing and Emergency Services.

“They basically triage the phone call and determine what needs to happen next. They can either talk to the person on the phone, try to get them to come to the (crisis walk-in) unit. If they’re not able tot come to the unit, a mobile crisis response is necessary.”

The Center for Mental Health’s walk-in crisis clinic at 300 N. Cascade Ave. The center recently launched a mobile response program for those in crisis, who cannot access the clinic, and whose situation does not require a law enforcement response. (Montrose Daily Press file photo)The service launched early this week; already, there have been a few crisis responses, Thompson said.

“It really is a community-based response,” Jones said.

The service is available 24/7 in Montrose, Delta, Gunnison, Montrose, Ouray and Hinsdale counties. It is available to people of all ages and regardless of insurance or ability to pay, thanks to state investment.

“We should not be needing to work out someone’s ability to pay for a service when they are needing that level of an immediate response,” Jones said.

The program comes with support from the Colorado Office of Behavioral Health, which allows a response time of up to two hours in “frontier” communities such as Montrose and the other counties; Jones said that for areas in Montrose and Delta, the response time is likely to be much quicker.

Although the function is similar to the co-responder model, the new mobile crisis team is different — professionals still deploy to a person in need, but the idea is to avoid having to use law enforcement.

“Part of the goal of mobile response is that we are able to screen and, hopefully, deploy our team to a situation without the need for law enforcement. That is what is a little bit different from a mobile response and a co-response model,” Jones said.

The center uses established guidelines to determine when its professionals can safely respond without law enforcement support.

“The goal is that once there is a mobile response, that we are also able, if the individual is safe for transport, that we can transport them to our crisis stabilization unit, a psychiatric hospital location, again, with an intention of taking primary pressures from law enforcement around the need of response or requests for transportation,” Jones said.

The mobile crisis response can be used when the location of the individual in crisis is clear; he or she is willing to speak with a clinician; there is no risk of harm to self or others; no medical concerns and the individual cannot access the walk-in clinic.

A law enforcement response will be needed when unsecured weapons are at the scene; there are unsecured aggressive animals; a domestic dispute is in progress or the person is aggressive or violent toward others.

When a person is actively harming himself or herself, other others; attempting suicide; having a medical emergency; in unresponsive, or is significantly impaired by drugs, medication or alcohol, 911 should be called.

Montrose Daily Press
Katharhynn Heidelberg is the Montrose Daily Press assistant editor and senior writer. Follow her on Twitter, @kathMDP.
Montrose Daily Press | November 21, 2020
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Beer glasses (photo)

Be alert for risks of ‘gray area’ drinking

By News

Expert: Be alert for risks of ‘gray area’ drinking

Isolation and stress exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic are also fueling a sneaky risk — “gray area drinking.”

Gray area drinking falls between abstinence and alcohol abuse and the term is used to describe situations in which people drink more than they intended, or of which they are aware, in response to stressors. It can prime the pump for substance abuse issues: Where before, it was a glass of wine with dinner, then an extra one, suddenly, the person is drinking much more for the same effect.

“It’s often a problem for individuals. It’s an easy thing to overlook — just having a second glass of wine or another beer, and maybe you didn’t have that intent in the first place,” said Kathleen Burnell, director of Substance Use Services at The Center for Mental Health.

“Oftentimes, it is paired with other stressors. We have a lot of stress right now. There’s financial stress; there’s health stress; separation and worry about family members. There is a political division going on, which can lead to stress as well, because of the tension. People find themselves looking for a way to relax.”

When dealing with stressors, people don’t always pay as much attention as they should to how much of a substance they are consuming, Burnell said: “And that’s where gray drinking starts to sneak in.”

Signs of gray area drinking may include worry and regret about drinking; being able to stop drinking but finding it hard to stay stopped; drinking that doesn’t appear to be problematic to others and rationalization that swings between a self-admonition to stop drinking and the idea to “live a little,” according to an op-ed Burnell published in August.

One of the first signs drinking is becoming a problem might be an impact on daily routine, Burnell said Monday — such as sleeping later in the morning because of how much one has had to drink; socializing only with friends who also drink or getting less enjoyment out of family time.

“If you find yourself worrying about drinking or how much you drank, generally, worry is our mind’s way of warning us something is going on,” Burnell said.

That extends beyond alcohol, to other substances such as tobacco.

Another warning sign is using more alcohol to achieve the same effect as before — gray area drinking can ratchet up due to the way substances work in the human body.

Burnell also says to be alert to such behavior as self-rationalization, or putting off a task that needs to be done just to accommodate drinking or other substance use.

Legal involvement — being pulled over for being under the influence — is a red flag.

“Something that we’re seeing nationwide is an increase, overall, in substance use,” Burnell said. Isolation has been shown as a major factor.

“We’ve seen that all year long. By feeling disconnected, we tend to get a little less joy out of life and find ourselves looking for a few more coping mechanisms.”

Having more than one outlet for stress is important.

“When we do something like drinking, if it becomes our only tool to relax, then it is not helping us. Often, we get more satisfaction from a relaxing activity if we have more than one choice,” Burnell said.

The Center for Mental Health offers group and individual help to those struggling with substance use and gray area drinking. Help is available by phone, telemedicine or in person, with COVID-19 safety protocols. Call 970-252-3200 to learn more about these options.

Those who are feeling stressed or worried can access a 24-hour hotline at 970-252-6220.

The center also offers free online assessments at centermh.org/help. Access the free online tool “myStrength” at centermh.org/mystrength for wellness tools and strategies for self-care.

“We’re trying to connect with people wherever they’re at,” Burnell said.

She also acknowledged people are worried for their friends or loved ones who may have fallen into gray area drinking or outright substance abuse.

“We very much care about the people in our lives. It’s hard to sit there and see something where you want to say something,” she said.

Again, people can access support and strategies through the Center for Mental Health.

“We know we can’t make other people change, but by being there alongside them while they are evaluating what they want to do with their lives can be really valuable,” Burnell said.

Montrose Daily Press
Katharhynn Heidelberg is the Montrose Daily Press assistant editor and senior writer. Follow her on Twitter, @kathMDP.
Montrose Daily Press | November 18, 2020
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Senior woman on video chat

Staying Connected and Mentally Strong During COVID

By CMH Blog

Maintaining Positive Mental Health During an Ongoing Pandemic 

As the pandemic has drawn out, older adults have been particularly hard hit with the burden of social distancing The summer months have provided some relief, with the ability to get outdoors and enjoy activities in the fresh air. But the coming of colder weather signals a return to life indoors and concerns about the ongoing pandemicThese concerns can cause depression, anxiety, stress, and feelings of isolation. Read on to discover why mental health matters and how to keep those feelings at bay during the longer winter months. 

Why Does Mental Health Matter? 

When a person is strong mentally and emotionally, they are happier, healthier, and more resilient. Difficult and uncertain times, like these, can be challenging to mental health, particularly in older adults. And that challenge can leave older adults at risk for depression, anxiety, and feelings of isolation. During a pandemic, these feelings can increase dramatically, causing acute suffering, which, in turn, has a dramatic effect on quality of life. Maintaining positive mental health can offset the effects of these feelings. 

Senior woman on video chatHow to Maintain Good Mental Health 

Most importantly, remember that social distancing does not mean social isolation. There are many ways to maintain connections and engagement with others, from friends and family to the community at large. The following are a few suggestions about how to maintain good mental health during the pandemic.  

  1. Stay Healthy
    Keep up with doctors’ appointmentstalk with your doctor about how you’re feeling, and make sure you address any physical issues. Stay physically active—enjoy a brisk walk on a fall morning, meet friends for pickleball, or throw the ball for the dog. Avoid substance abuse and eat healthy foods that support your body. 
  2. Stay Connected
    Staying in touch with family and friends has become so much easier with technology, new and old. Start up a pen-pal letter exchange—it’s exciting to get a personal letter in the mail. Or call someone on the phone—the sound of someone’s voice provides a great feeling of connection. Engage in some of the newer technology—FaceTime, Zoom, Skype, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, Twitter, Snapchat, and texting are just some of the technologies that can help you keep in touch with friends and loved ones. Many are easy to set up—ask a friend, neighbor, or family member for help. 
  3. Stay Active
    There are many things to do from the comfort of your home to connect with others. The list is endless: online board games, book clubs, live concerts and symphonies, theater productions, and art museum tours. There are often organizations that need people to call members of the community—that’s an easy way to stay connected from the safety of your home.  
  4. Limit News
    Catch up in the morning and at night, limiting yourself to 30 minutes or an hour, and that’s it. There’s no need for 24 hour-news. Not much changes that rapidly, and it’s easy to get wrapped up in the endless news cycle. 

And finally, reach out for help when you need it. The Center for Mental Health is a resource for community members to get help whether in times of normal stress or pandemic. We want to help you find the path to your best life. If you need help, contact us to learn how a professional counselor can help you cope with anxiety, depression or if you are feeling overwhelmed.  

The Center Support Line at 970.252.6220 is available 24/7 for free if you just need to talk to a caring, trained professional.   For appointmentscall 970.252.3200.

Written by The Center for Mental Health Staff Writer 


Sources
Archbald-Pannone, Dr. L. (2020, March 10). A geriatrician offers 4 tips for seniors to stay connected during coronavirus outbreak.
The Conversation. https://theconversation.com/a-geriatrician-offers-4-tips-for-seniors-to-stay-connected-during-coronavirus-outbreak-133233 

Miller, J. (2016, Feb 16). Why Older Adult Mental Health Matters.
Connectionshttps://www.amhca.org/blogs/joel-miller/2016/02/16/why-older-adult-mental-health-matters 

Castles Up Close Ohio Creek Valley

What is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?

By Conditions

Traumatic events—such as an accident, assault, military combat or natural disaster—can have lasting effects on a person’s mental health. While many people will have short term responses to life-threatening events, some will develop longer term symptoms that can lead to a diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD symptoms often co-exist with other conditions such as substance use disorders, depression and anxiety.

Symptoms

Symptoms of PTSD usually begin within three months after experiencing or being exposed to a traumatic event. Occasionally, symptoms may emerge years afterward. For a diagnosis of PTSD, symptoms must last more than one month.

  • Re-experiencing type symptoms,such as recurring, involuntary and intrusive distressing memories, which can include flashbacks or bad dreams.
  • Avoidance, which can include staying away from certain places or objects that are reminders of the traumatic event.
  • Cognitive and mood symptoms, which can include trouble recalling the event or negative thoughts about one’s self. A person may also feel numb, guilty, worried or depressed.
  • Arousal symptoms,such as hypervigilance. Examples might include being intensely startled by stimuli that resembles the trauma, trouble sleeping or outbursts of anger.

Young children can also develop PTSD, and the symptoms are different from those of adults. It is essential that a child be assessed by a professional who is skilled in the developmental responses to stressful events. A pediatrician or child mental health clinician can be a good start.

Treatment

Though PTSD cannot be cured, it can be treated and managed in several ways.

  • Psychotherapy, such as cognitive processing therapy or group therapy
  • Medications
  • Self-management strategies, such as self-soothing and mindfulness which can help ground a person and bring her back to reality after a flashback
  • Service animals, especially dogs, can help soothe some of the symptoms of PTSD

Click here for more information on PTSD and treatment options we provide.

You are not alone. We can help you or someone you love cope with PTSD. Take a fast, confidential online screening test.

Information provided by the National Alliance on Mental Illness

Gothic Valley Red Dawn

What is Substance Use or Abuse?

By Conditions

Opioids and other substances that alter how we feel, think and act have overtaken our culture, and have been declared a public health epidemic. Substance use and abuse of opioids, heroin, cannabis, stimulants, alcohol, and others is becoming far too common and can have extremely damaging effects.

Substance use disorders commonly co-occur with mental health conditions, especially serious mental illness like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, eating disorders, PTSD and other forms of trauma. People with mental illnesses often turn to drugs and alcohol to quiet their symptoms, and drugs and alcohol can adversely affect our nervous system and increase risk for mental illness.

Solutions

Prevention. This includes school-based programs that provide youth with decision-making skills and methods of controlling their moods and impulses.

Screening. Early identification of a problem means early intervention, before the substance use disorder becomes more firmly rooted. Today we have very good screening tools to help.

Treatment. Families and people affected by addiction should advocate for the strong, comprehensive treatment approach they need. Effective treatment means first detecting the presence of a co-occurring mental (or physical) condition and assuring it’s also treated. Treatment for a substance use disorder should then combine:

  • Cognitive therapy that focuses on reducing the triggers of relapse
  • 12-Step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous
  • Family education and support
  • Medications

You are not alone. We can help you or someone you love cope with substance abuse.  Take a fast, confidential online screening test.

Information excerpted from Lloyd I. Sederer, MD., a psychiatrist, public health doctor and medical journalist. His new book is The Addiction Solution: Treating Our Dependence on Opioids and Other Drugs (Scribner, 2018).

San Juan Pond and Aspens

What is Schizophrenia?

By Conditions

Schizophrenia is a serious mental illness that interferes with a person’s ability to think clearly, manage emotions, make decisions and relate to others. It is a complex, long-term medical illness, affecting about 1% of Americans.

Symptoms

For a diagnosis of schizophrenia, some of the following symptoms must be present for at least 6 months:

  • Hallucinations – These include a person hearing voices, seeing things, or smelling things others can’t perceive. The hallucination is very real to the person experiencing it, and it may be very confusing for a loved one to witness. The voices in the hallucination can be critical or threatening. Voices may involve people that are known or unknown to the person hearing them.
  • Delusions – These are false beliefs that don’t change even when the person who holds them is presented with new ideas or facts. People who have delusions often also have problems concentrating, confused thinking, or the sense that their thoughts are blocked.
  • Negative symptoms are ones that diminish a person’s abilities. Negative symptoms often include being emotionally flat or speaking in a dull, disconnected way. People with the negative symptoms may be unable to start or follow through with activities, show little interest in life, or sustain relationships.
  • Cognitive issues/disorganized thinking – People with the cognitive symptoms of schizophrenia often struggle to remember things, organize their thoughts or complete tasks. Commonly, people with schizophrenia have “lack of insight.” This means the person is unaware that he has the illness, which can make treatment challenging.

It can be difficult to diagnose schizophrenia in teens because the first signs can include a change of friends, a drop in grades, sleep problems, and irritability. Other factors include isolating oneself and withdrawing from others, an increase in unusual thoughts and suspicions, and a family history of psychosis.

Treatment

There is no cure for schizophrenia, but it can be treated and managed with medication management and psychotherapy.

You are not alone. We can help you or someone you love overcome Schizophrenia.  Take a fast, confidential online screening test.

Information provided by the National Alliance on Mental Illness

Crested Butte Fireweed

What is Bipolar Disorder?

By Conditions

Bipolar and related disorders may cause dramatic shifts in a person’s mood, energy and ability to think clearly. People with bipolar experience high and low moods—known as mania and depression—which differ from the typical ups-and-downs most people experience. Treatment can help control and manage the symptoms of many bipolar disorders.

Symptoms

Symptoms and their severity can vary. A person with bipolar disorder may have distinct manic or depressed states but may also have extended periods—sometimes years—without symptoms. A person can also experience both extremes simultaneously or in rapid sequence.

Severe bipolar episodes of mania or depression may include psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations or delusions. Usually, these psychotic symptoms mirror a person’s extreme mood. People with bipolar disorder who have psychotic symptoms can be wrongly diagnosed as having schizophrenia.

The depressive symptoms that obstruct a person’s ability to function must be present nearly every day for a period of at least two weeks for a diagnosis.

Treatment

With early identification of symptoms and a thoughtful treatment plan, many people live well with this condition.

Treatments may include:

  • Psychotherapy
  • Medications
  • Adopting a healthy lifestyle and a regular schedule

You are not alone. We can help you or someone you love overcome bipolar disorder.  Take a fast, confidential online screening test.

Information provided by the National Alliance on Mental Illness

Colorado Columbine Flower on Ice Lake Trail in San Juan Mountains, Colorado

What is Anxiety?

By Conditions

We all experience anxiety. However, when feelings of intense fear and distress become overwhelming and prevent us from doing everyday activities, an anxiety disorder may be the cause. With treatment, anxiety disorders can be effectively managed.

Symptoms

There are several types of anxiety disorders. However, all anxiety disorders have one thing in common: persistent, excessive fear or worry in situations that are not threatening. People typically experience one or more of the following symptoms:

Emotional symptoms:

  • Feelings of apprehension or dread
  • Feeling tense or jumpy
  • Restlessness or irritability
  • Anticipating the worst and being watchful for signs of danger

Physical symptoms:

  • Pounding or racing heart and shortness of breath
  • Sweating, tremors and twitches
  • Headaches, fatigue and insomnia
  • Upset stomach, frequent urination or diarrhea

Types of Anxiety Disorders

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

GAD produces chronic, exaggerated worrying about everyday life. This worrying can consume hours each day, making it hard to concentrate or finish daily tasks.

Social Anxiety Disorder

More than shyness, this disorder causes intense fear about social interaction, often driven by irrational worries about humiliation. Panic attacks are a common reaction.

Panic Disorder

This disorder is characterized by panic attacks and sudden feelings of terror sometimes striking repeatedly and without warning. Often mistaken for a heart attack, a panic attack causes powerful physical symptoms including chest pain, heart palpitations, dizziness, shortness of breath and stomach upset.

Phobias

We all tend to avoid certain things or situations that make us uncomfortable or even fearful. But for someone with a phobia, certain places, events or objects create powerful reactions of strong, irrational fear.

Treatments

There are many treatments for anxiety disorders including:

  • Psychotherapy, including cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Medications, including anti-anxiety medications and anti-depressants
  • Stress and relaxation techniques

You are not alone. We can help you or someone you love overcome anxiety.  Take a fast, confidential online screening test.

Information provided by the National Alliance on Mental Illness

What is Depression?

By Conditions

Depressive disorder, often simply called 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. Left untreated, depression can be devastating for those who have it and their families. Fortunately, with treatment, many people can and do get better.

Some will only experience one depressive episode in a lifetime, but for most, depressive disorder recurs. Without treatment, episodes may last a few months to several years.

Symptoms

Depression can have different symptoms. But for most people, depressive disorder changes how people function day-to-day, and typically for more than two weeks. Common symptoms include:

  • Changes in sleep
  • Changes in appetite
  • Lack of concentration
  • Loss of energy
  • Lack of interest in activities
  • Hopelessness or guilty thoughts
  • Changes in movement (less activity or agitation)
  • Physical aches and pains
  • Suicidal thoughts

Treatments

Depressive disorder often responds to treatment. The key is to get a specific evaluation and treatment plan. Safety planning is important for individuals who have suicidal thoughts. Patient-centered treatment plans can include any or a combination of the following:

  • Psychotherapy including cognitive behavioral therapy, family-focused therapy and interpersonal therapy.
  • Medications including antidepressants, mood stabilizers and antipsychotic medications.
  • Exercise can help with prevention and mild-to-moderate symptoms.
  • Brain stimulation therapies can be tried if psychotherapy and/or medication are not effective.
  • Light therapy, which uses a light box to expose a person to full spectrum light to help regulate the hormone melatonin.
  • Alternative approaches including acupuncture, meditation, faith and nutrition can be part of a comprehensive treatment plan.

You are not alone. We can help you or someone you love overcome depression.  Take a fast, confidential online screening test.

Information provided by the National Alliance on Mental Illness

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