Did you know depression alone can cause what looks just like dementia? When not controlled, depression can cause memory problems, poor concentration, personality type changes, sleep issues, apathy, etc. And not just major depression. You want to make sure you’re recognizing and then treating even milder depressed moods, as it can lead to major depression if not addressed and treated. I also count stress and anxiety into this group. Any component of stress, depression, or anxiety in someone’s life can be a contributing factor to memory loss, along with other health problems. The psychological mind has a huge impact on the physical body. You want to take care of both.
The first step is to make sure you discuss how you are feeling with your medical provider. They should make sure nothing medical is going on, such has hypothyroidism or a medication reaction. You may even want to see a psychiatrist or psychologist, especially if your depressed mood is more severe. During my years of neurology practice, I have seen that there is a stigma behind seeking mental health help, but I have also seen how poor mental health can significantly affect the physical body adversely. Psychiatrists and psychologists are not only for schizophrenics or personality disorders; they also help people with depression and anxiety. Mental health is important.
If your medical provider rules out other medical issues, then the following suggestions may help with your depressed mood, stress, or anxiety and in so doing help with your memory problems and overall health, in conjunction with your mental health provider.
- Light therapy: Seasonal affective disorder is a real problem. Light therapy can help. In the winter months when we’re stuck indoors with little natural light, home light therapy is a proven way to help, especially where winters can be brutal like the midwest and north. If you have sleep problems, light therapy can help with that as well. You will want to stick with a strict bedtime routine every night. Then you will want to incorporate light therapy every morning. This can help stabilize your sleep-wake cycle. Improved sleep leads to improved mood and memory, and in turn health.
- Laughter: I can’t remember the first time I heard that laughter was medicine for the soul. A good belly laugh is a good way to improve mood as well. There have even been studies that showed that your mood can improve by simply pretending to smile. Fake it until you make it. Check out a comedy show, whether it’s a local club or Kevin Hart’s show. Or, watch your favorite comedy movie, like Monty Python and the Holy Grail or Groundhog Day.
- Meditation: This is another great way to calm the mind and reset yourself. I try to meditate daily. Since doing so, I definitely feel calmer and more responsive to family, friends, and patients. I try meditating in the morning before starting my day, which I think helps me deal with the daily stressors I know are coming. Life is stressful; find ways to deal with it.
- Vitamins: Vitamin B12 is another potentially beneficial treatment. Vitamin B12 deficiency can do a lot to the body and mind. I personally check it in every patient that has some neuropathic process or mental confusion. I worry about low vitamin B12 and not necessarily high vitamin B12, within reason of course. Anecdotally, most of my patients simply feel better when they supplement it. If your internal body is not aligned and balanced, then you are behind the eight ball, in a sense. To be your most healthful self, you need to have the basic building blocks in place. Make sure you are getting all the nutrients and vitamins you need. Take care of your gut, and it will take care of you. When your gastrointestinal system is inflamed, then you are not absorbing the nutrients and vitamins your body needs. This is when intravenous or IV infusions of vitamins and nutrients help.
- Physical activity: One of the best ways to combat depressed mood, stress, and anxiety is with physical health. Physical activity and a healthy diet helps. Just get up and move. When your body is healthier, you feel better. Earlier I had mentioned that the psychological mind has a huge impact on the physical body. Well, the reverse is true as well. Physical health impacts psychological health. If you are overweight, your body is not balanced so you can not expect to have mental health balance.
- Social interactions: Don’t forget about social interactions as well. It has long been shown that social interaction is one of the keys to fighting depression. If you are depressed, usually people do not feel like going out with friends and family, and they do not find enjoyment in activities that they used to enjoy. So make yourself be with other people. It will help. It’ll be difficult at first, but it becomes easier and easier the more you do it, especially as your depressed mood lightens. For people without close friends or family in the area, find groups to join or take classes after work or on the weekends or volunteer at your local shelter or food pantry.
- Ketamine Infusions: Everyone is talking about Ketamine these days for depression. Ketamine is typically used as an anesthetic drug, with pain relief and amnestic properties. Research has shown that ketamine works on the AMPA receptor, activating it and creating anti-depressant effects. Other studies have examined ketamine’s mechanism of action at the level of brain structures. Functional MRI’s in patients with treatment-resistant depression suggest that ketamine may improve depression by activating of the anterior cingulate cortex and by increasing connectivity between the insula and default mode network.
Just remember, these suggestions do not supercede an evaluation by your doctor. If your thyroid hormones are low for example, the above suggestions won’t help as much as we would want. But these suggestions are a great start.
At StrIVeMD Wellness and Ketamine in Chicago land, we can help when the above is not enough or you want a jump start. We offer IV therapy that can help balance your internal environment and replenish nutrients and vitamins. We also offer assistance with weight optimization. We will discuss your diet, an exercise program, and other modalities if applicable. In addition, we have a functional medicine certified physician who can help evaluate your overall health to tie everything together. If you suffer from significant depression, PTSD, or OCD, we can also offer ketamine IV infusions, which has been shown to be extremely helpful in multiple studies. In conjunction with your primary care physician and mental health provider, StrIVeMD Wellness and Ketamine can help get you back on track and in a healthy state.
At StrIVeMD Wellness and Ketamine, we’re committed to helping you access nutrient IV treatments quickly and safely. We offer a range of different nutrient therapies to suit your needs – and we can often offer same day appointments or a discreet home visit.