depression risks in young adults during covid

Studying the effects of the pandemic on various age groups is revealing a startling picture of how the COVID-19 crisis is negatively impacting young adults in particular. So much of the focus has centered on the health risks for older Americans with underlying health conditions who are vulnerable to the virus. It hadn’t really been considered until recently how deeply this pandemic was affecting young adults.

Think about it. Young adulthood, which includes men and women between the ages of 18-30, is the time when young people are just getting started in their lives. But now with the pandemic, they may be college students who have had their classes moved online. They may be a newly married couple just starting out having to shelve their plans to buy a home. Or maybe a young adult who had finally landed the plum job in 2019, only to be furloughed or laid off in 2020. It is easy to understand why this age cohort has been dealing with rising debilitating depression rates.

The depression risks in young adults during COVID-19 are substantial. These young people have basically had their dreams cancelled while in the prime of life. Because of their youth they may not have the life experience to maintain a healthy perspective that this too shall pass, and instead become despondent and hopeless thinking the COVID-19 event will never end.

How the Pandemic has led to Higher Depression Rates in Young Adults

Since childhood, young adults had been groomed to look forward to a promising future. They were encouraged to complete a college education and to pursue career paths that would hopefully prove successful. The COVID-19 pandemic has turned all of that on its head, at least for the time being. For college-aged young adults, the internships or part-time summer jobs were likely cancelled, as were study-abroad programs and most forms of travel. In fact, a survey taken among college students by the non-profit Active Minds showed that 80% of those questioned said COVID-19 had negatively impacted their mental health, and of those 20% reported their mental health had significantly worsened during the pandemic.

As a result of academic or career goals being stalled, some depression risks in young adults have arisen during COVID. Some may be struggling with social isolation due to distancing guidelines, which only enhances the symptoms of depression. Young adults place a high value on socializing and indeed thrive on social interactions, so when deprived of this core aspect of their lives it can lead to depression.

Young families have also been met with real mental health challenges. Unemployment has crippled many young adults, and spotty financial relief packages have not been dependable. For a young parent with children to support, this inability to earn an income can cause feelings of guilt, shame, or despair.

Depression Risks in Young Adults

When discussing depression in young adults you cannot avoid acknowledging the very real risk of them turning to drugs or alcohol as an escape from uncomfortable emotions. Young people are not accustomed to worrying about job security or money issues, so this is a stark wake-up call for them. If they have lost their job or were placed on a long-term furlough, feelings of boredom or stress over financial concerns can take a toll.

In addition to self-medicating through substances, the risk for suicide is also increased among young adults. The American College Health Association surveyed 18,700 students about their mental health. Forty-one percent of the students reported feeling depressed compared with 36% in 2019. In addition, the suicide risk increased by 10%, from 25% to 27.5%. Young adults see their lives and plans disrupted significantly, and with such an unpredictable pandemic they begin to feel hopeless, thinking that this will never end.

Highest Level of Young Adults Living with Parents Since the Depression Era

To add salt to the wound, young adults have had to return to the family home due to college closures or loss of employment. Just this week, CNN reported that 52% of young adults are now living with their parents, which is the highest level since 1940. For young people just starting out in life, it is a significant blow to their self-esteem to have to return to the family home. But the harsh effect of coronavirus on the economy has led to unprecedented job losses that did not spare the young demographic. Living back at home with the parents can be distressing to young adults seeking to become independent and autonomous at this time of life.

The Pew survey showed that there was virtually no difference between these young adults in terms of ethnicity or gender, but that young people of all racial backgrounds, both males and females, rural or urban had been forced to return to their parent’s home. There were, however, a higher number of 18-24 year olds, or Gen Z, as well as the youngest millennials, who have had to move back home with their parents as a consequence of the pandemic.

How Young Adults can Reduce Risk of Depression During the Pandemic

To help minimize the negative impact on mental health, young people can incorporate some healthy lifestyle habits into their daily routine. These actions can help them better weather the pandemic by keeping their physical and mental health in the best shape possible. Consider these positive changes:

  • Keep a regular schedule. Don’t fall into the bad habit of staying up late and sleeping in late. Get up at the same time each morning to maintain as normal a body rhythm as possible.
  • Improve sleep quality. Set a routine sleep schedule so you can regulate the circadian rhythm, in addition to also reducing screen time at night for better sleep.
  • Stay physically active. Regular exercise is essential for maintaining mental health.
  • Remain socially connected. It is possible to stay connected during the pandemic through Zoom gatherings, or outdoor hikes, bike rides, or beach outings that are socially distanced.
  • Find ways to be productive. Even if you are currently unemployed, find ways to remain productive and positive on a daily basis.

Most importantly, if you are feeling yourself sinking into depression, seek out the professional help and support that will guide you back to wellness such as private mental health facilities. Most mental health providers are seeing clients in person, but if that is not the case in your region, access tele-health services for online therapy sessions.

Elevation Behavioral Health Treats Young Adult Depression

Elevation Behavioral Health is a residential mental health center set in a private home environment. This intimate setting allows individuals struggling with depression to receive a higher level of personal attention and care. Our compassionate team understands the impact of COVID-19 on mental health and can help guide the individual back to healthy functioning. If you have questions about the depression risks in young adults during COVID, please contact us today at (888) 561-0868.

i feel empty

One day, just like that, it dawns on you. Suddenly you realize, “I feel empty.” For weeks you may have tried to valiantly push through your days, but the grip of anxiety and depression offered much resistance. Nothing can deplete your spirit quite like depression and anxiety together. These two mental health disorders seem to conspire against you when they co-occur, which, unfortunately, they often do.

We might go about our daily lives feeling under the weather and not really understanding what is causing thoughts such as “I feel empty.” You might initially assume you are fighting a bug or some other medical issue, when in reality dual mental health conditions are at fault. So, get to know the signs of depression and anxiety disorder. In recognizing the symptoms of these disorders, hopefully you will be prompted to reach out to a mental health provider who can guide you back to wellness.

About Co-Occurring Depression and Anxiety

It is eye opening how many of us struggle with mental health conditions, especially anxiety and depression. Separately, these two mental health disorders impact over 56 million Americans each year. When both depression and anxiety are present together it compounds the negative effect, as each disorder will trigger or intensify the other.

Symptoms of anxiety. Anxiety disorder consists of a spectrum of mental health disorders that share certain features, but also are divided into separate disorders under the anxiety disorder umbrella. There are several distinguishing features that help the clinician determine which type of anxiety disorder is present:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder. GAD features excessive worrying, feelings of dread and fear, muscle tension, irritability, nausea, insomnia, trouble concentrating.
  • Panic disorder. Panic disorder is characterized by sudden and unpredictable feelings of overwhelming fear, heart palpitations, chest tightness or pain, shallow breathing, dizziness.
  • Social anxiety. Social anxiety involves the intense and irrational fear of being humiliated, criticized, or judged publicly. People with social anxiety tend to isolate themselves as a result.
  • Specific phobia. With phobias, a person exhibits an irrational and intense fear of a thing, place, or situation, resulting in avoidant and isolating behaviors.
  • Agoraphobia. When someone is agoraphobic they have intense anxiety symptoms when feeling they are in an unsafe place and do not perceive a way out.
  • Trauma disorder. Post-traumatic stress disorder features prolonged symptoms after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. Symptoms include flashbacks, nightmares, substance abuse, and avoidant behaviors.
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder. OCD is characterized by irrational worries that are followed by compulsive or repetitive behaviors as a method of quelling the anxiety caused by the worry.

Symptoms of depression: Similarly, depressive disorders also encompass a collection of different presentations of depression based on the unique features:

  • Major depressive disorder. MDD features prolonged feelings of sadness or despair, fatigue, sudden weight changes, loss of interest in usual activities, change in sleeping habits, trouble concentrating, and suicidal thoughts.
  • Persistent depressive disorder. Also termed dysthymia, this disorder features a milder version of MDD but one that lasts more than two years.
  • Postpartum depression. This type of depression affects a mother with feelings of sadness, intense irritability, insomnia, loss of appetite, mood swings, and thoughts of harming baby or self.
  • Seasonal affective disorder. Regions that are further from the equator are more prone to people getting seasonal depression when the days are short. Lack of sun exposure can lead to vitamin D deficiency, which is one of the key symptoms behind the depression.

There are many reasons to seek out help for depression and anxiety. For example, someone with co-occurring depression and anxiety are more susceptible to substance abuse. A substance, such as alcohol or prescription drugs, may be misused in an effort to mask the mental health symptoms being experienced. Also, undiagnosed and untreated mental health disorders can result in job loss, damaged relationships, poor health, and isolation.

What is Bipolar Disorder?

One serious mood disorder that has elements of both anxiety and depression is bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder is characterized by intense shifts in mood that are often unpredictable. Moods alternate between mania and depression, and can be very destabilizing. There are four different ways that bipolar disorder presents. These include:

  • Bipolar I
  • Bipolar II
  • Cyclothymic disorder
  • Otherwise unspecified bipolar

Treatment for bipolar disorder is essential. Medications such as antidepressants and mood stabilizers are prescribed for this disorder, along with psychotherapy. In therapy, the individual will learn how to better recognize the signs of an impending episode, learn ways to promote relaxation, and to better manage the oncoming symptoms.

Treatment for Co-existing Anxiety and Depression

Comorbid anxiety and depression present a more complex diagnosis than either one of these disorders on its own. In fact, individuals with both anxiety and depression will usually have a more enhanced severity of symptoms, more functional impairment, and a longer recovery period.

Treating anxiety and depression will rely on foundational methods, such as psychotherapy and medication, as well as adjunctive therapies and lifestyle modifications. During the initial intake interview with a therapist or psychiatrist a thorough evaluation of the presenting issues and symptoms will be conducted. The interview itself can often provide valuable information to assist the therapist in assessing which disorder, the depression or the anxiety, is predominant. Diagnostic criteria provided by the DSM-5, as well as other assessment tools, and any accompanying features help the clinical staff arrive at an accurate diagnosis.

When treating both anxiety and depression it is important that both mental health disorders are treated simultaneously for the best treatment outcome. Treating just one or the other will not be effective, as the remaining disorder will sabotage any gains made in managing the other disorder.

Treatment interventions for individuals with depression and anxiety who say, “I feel empty” will encompass a variety of therapeutic activities. These include:

Medication

The core treatment protocol for depression and anxiety continues to center on antidepressant drug therapy. These are antidepressants that have been found to help the symptoms of both disorders. In addition, benzodiazepines can be useful in managing panic disorder.

Psychotherapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is the evidence-based approach most often used for treating anxiety and depression together. CBT helps individuals better cope with stressors, and guides them toward making positive shifts in their thought patterns. If depression and anxiety is the result of a traumatic experience, then prolonged exposure therapy is also beneficial.

Holistic activities

Learning methods to self soothe when experiencing anxiety are key to better symptom management. There are several complementary activities included now in mental health treatment programs that teach patients to do exactly that. These may include learning how to practice mindfulness, yoga, and deep breathing techniques.

Diet and Exercise

Nutritional counseling is often included in residential mental health programs, as there is a direct connection between what we eat and our mental health and brain functioning. Exercise is also included, as physical activity can reduce stress and elevate mood.

Sleep quality

Patients are taught that regulating the circadian rhythm is essential for improving overall mental wellness and functioning. Sticking to a regular sleep schedule helps the body create a predictable pattern for rest. A minimum of 7 hours of sleep is optimum.

Levels of Care for Treating Depression and Anxiety

When recognizing that the co-occurring anxiety and depression is causing impairment and harming your quality of life, it is helpful to understand the different levels of care available. Mental health treatment generally falls into two categories, outpatient or residential care:

  • Outpatient treatment. When you find yourself struggling emotionally, you may first seek out help from your doctor. Mental health conditions often cause physical symptoms, such as fatigue, edginess, sleep problems, or intestinal distress. After the doctor has ordered labs and conducted an exam, he or she may find there is no medical condition present. This is when a referral to a psychiatrist or psychotherapist is made. The mental health provider will then help manage the symptoms by prescribing medication and talk therapy. If the condition worsens and more intervention is needed, the mental health professional might refer you to an outpatient program where you will participate in support groups, individual psychotherapy, and psychosocial education classes for a more intensive approach.
  • Residential treatment. A residential mental health program offers a higher level of care than any of the outpatient options. The residential treatment setting allows someone to focus on learning how they can better manage their condition. Without the usual distractions or stress-inducing triggers, the person feels safe in the residential setting. Because the individual will reside at the center for a specified period of time, they will be receiving a higher degree of attention and support. Treatment plans are highly tailored to address the person’s specific mental health needs. Residential programs for depression and anxiety usually provide acute stabilization services for individuals experiencing a psychiatric emergency, such as psychosis or a suicide attempt. Following discharge from the residential program, the individual might step down to an outpatient day program.

Whether receiving outpatient or residential treatment, the objective is the same, to restore mental health functioning and improve quality of life.

Elevation Behavioral Health is a Premier Los Angeles Residential Mental Health Center

Elevation Behavioral Health offers an intimate setting located in a beautiful, tranquil location that allows someone accustomed to saying, “I feel empty,” to find their way back to the fullness of life. Elevation provides a fully customized treatment program that is designed specifically to the individual’s needs. Using a blend of evidence-based therapies and holistic elements, Elevation addresses all aspects of a person, healing mind, body, and spirit.

I Don't Want to Get Out Of Bed

Our mental health may be more fragile than we realize, sometimes even completely sidelining us. We each have a certain capacity to withstand distressing events or situations, accessing our personal coping skills and emotional reserves as needed. But when events begin to spiral and multiply, those reserves may become depleted and any coping skills we have can become totally ineffective. This is when a depressive disorder can set in.

Depression is a very common mental health disorder, impacting more than 17 million Americans every year, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Depression takes a toll on families and employers, as the individual suffering from depression becomes increasingly disconnected from their daily responsibilities. Depression is also hard on relationships, causing frustration and confusion, and destabilizing marriages and friendships as a result.

When depression becomes so severe that you say, “I don’t want to get out of bed anymore,” it is time to get some help from a mental health provider. There are effective treatment methods available to help manage depression symptoms and improve overall quality of life.

The Signs of Severe Depression

It is difficult to describe severe depression to someone who has never experienced it. Family members and loved ones may wonder why you can’t just snap out of it and get back to functioning normally. It helps for these individuals to have a better understanding of just what depression, especially severe depression, looks like. Symptoms include a cluster of the following:

  • Hopelessness. Negative emotions and dark thoughts begin to gather critical mass in major depressive disorder, such as feelings of hopelessness, despair, guilt, worthlessness, helplessness, and shame. The individual sees him or herself in a negative light, and may blame themselves for perceived faults and flaws.  As these thoughts become more pervasive and self-esteem plummets, the threat of self-harm increases.
  • Changes in Eating Habits. When someone is suffering from major depressive disorder there may be a sudden change in their weight. Some may experience an increased appetite and eat more as a coping mechanism, resulting in weight gain.  Others may become so depressed that they have no desire to feed themselves or take care of their nutritional needs, leading to weight loss.
  • Loss of Interest.  One of the predominant signs of severe depression is the individual’s sudden loss of interest in activities or hobbies they once enjoyed. While in the darkness of depression, these individuals have no desire to attend social events or to socialize at all. This can eventually include going to work where feel forced to interact with coworkers.
  • Sleep Disturbances. Severe depression can cause changes in sleep habits and rhythms. In some cases the individual wants to sleep excessively (hypersomnia). Major depression can also cause an inability to fall asleep or stay asleep (insomnia), featuring fragmented sleep patterns.
  • Anger or Irritability. Anger symptoms are more prevalent in depressed men, although depressed women can also exhibit mood swings and irritability. The source of the anger may be due to feeling frustrated, or possibly the result of feeling out of control and unable to shake the depression. Depression can cause the individual to be easily annoyed and even prone to violent outbursts.
  • Excessive Fatigue.  A pronounced loss of energy is one of the common signs of severe depression, leading to comments such as “I don’t want to get out of bed anymore.” The individual feels so exhausted they can barely function. Even daily personal hygiene or fixing meals requires too much effort, so the individual may spend the majority of time in bed due to feeling drained.
  • Increased Substance Use.  Individuals with depression may begin to self-medicate through the use of alcohol or drugs. Substance abuse is a reaction to feelings of despair and hopelessness and wanting to numb the emotional pain.  There is a real danger that addiction can form, leading to a dual diagnosis of major depressive disorder and a coexisting substance use disorder.
  • Suicidal Ideation. Pay attention if your loved one who is struggling with deepening depression begins to obsess about death, or say their loved ones would be better off without them. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 90% of the individuals who have committed suicide had an underlying mental health disorder, usually depression or bipolar disorder.

When depression has reached the point when you think, “I don’t want to get out of bed anymore,” it is very serious. This is the point at which depression has become debilitating, severely impairing one’s ability to function normally and increasing the risk of suicide.

Different Types of Depression

Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)

Major depressive disorder is diagnosed in individuals who experience five or more of the diagnostic criteria most of the time for more than two weeks. To summarize:

  • Persistent feelings of hopelessness or sadness
  • Fatigue
  • Change in eating habits, weight gain or loss
  • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
  • Irrational feelings of guilt or shame
  • Slowed movements or thinking
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Loss of interest in activities usually enjoyed
  • Suicidal thoughts

Dysthymia (Persistent Depression Disorder)

This is a type of MDD that persists for more than two years. Someone with dysthymia may experience periods of severe depression alternating with periods of milder depression, but experiences no relief of the depressive symptoms for two years or more.

Psychotic Depression

This involves MDD with psychotic features. The individual may experience delusional thoughts or hallucinations in addition to the symptoms of depression. There may be a theme for the illness, such as revolving around a serious illness or fear of poverty.

Postpartum Depression

Some women experience serious symptoms of MDD during and/or after giving birth. The symptoms may be so severe that the mother is unable to care for her child or themselves, and often experience severe fatigue, anxiety, exhaustion, and profound sadness.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

In certain climates individuals may experience symptoms of MDD that are caused by a lack of sun exposure and vitamin D intake during the winter months. The individual may experience weight gain, hypersomnia, and isolation behaviors in addition to the symptoms of depression.

Bipolar Disorder

This disorder features alternating dramatic and unpredictable shifts between depressive and manic moods. The depressive episodes may last anywhere from a day or two to several weeks.

Suicide Warning Signs

Recent statistics show that more people in the United States now die by suicide than in automobile accidents, with about 44,000 Americans choosing to end their lives annually. In many instances, especially in individuals who say, “I don’t want to get out of bed anymore,” there may be signs that an individual is despondent enough to possibly attempt suicide. These warning signs and symptoms might include:

  • Symptoms of depression
  • Irritability
  • Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
  • Humiliation or shame
  • Anger
  • Increased use of alcohol or drugs
  • Isolating from family and friends
  • Aggression
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Excessive sleeping
  • Saying they are a burden to other
  • Expressing hopelessness
  • Saying they have no reason to live
  • Sharing that they are in unbearable pain
  • Gives away prized possessions
  • Talks of killing self

In the event where a loved one is exhibiting a mental health crisis or several of the warning signs, immediately call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255.

Comprehensive Residential Depression Treatment

When someone is in the grip of depression they may not even be aware of how serious their condition has become. More often than not it is a loved one who becomes alarmed at the increasing severity of the individual’s depression symptoms that reaches out to get the person professional help. Depression treatment consists of a combination of antidepressant drug therapy and psychotherapy. Other complementary therapies, such as yoga, meditation, and mindfulness training can augment the effects of the traditional therapies. Changes in diet and getting regular exercise can also positively impact mood.

Medication

Medication is considered the first-line treatment element for individuals with a depressive disorder. Antidepressant therapy involves medications available as SSRIs, SNRIs, MAOIs, or tricyclic antidepressants that help adjust brain chemistry and hopefully alleviate the symptoms of depression.

Psychotherapy

Evidence-based psychotherapies are an effective addition to antidepressant drug therapy in treating depression. Individual talk therapy sessions allow the therapist to guide the individual toward resolving unaddressed emotional issues that may be contributing to the depression. These may involve past trauma, childhood abuse, grief and loss, divorce, and other painful life events. Thought and behavior patters are also examined and adjusted through cognitive behavioral therapy.

Support groups

Small groups discuss topics introduced by the therapist and engage in sharing their personal feelings and experiences. This provides a sense of connection and camaraderie with others who are also struggling with depression.

Holistic therapies

There is a growing trend in psychiatry to include holistic therapies among the treatment elements for depression. These activities can help reduce stress and induce feelings of inner peace.

In the event that an individual is suffering from a mental health crisis, such as a suicide attempt, a higher level of care is appropriate. A residential treatment program offers acute stabilization provisions, as well as extended care for severe depression. The residential setting provides a more intensive, customized treatment protocol for the individual with severe and persistent depression.

Elevation Behavioral Health Provides Comprehensive Depression Treatment

Elevation Behavioral Health is a full-spectrum mental health center providing residential mental health treatment, transitional housing, and outpatient services. Elevation Behavioral Health believes in an integrated approach to treating depression, offering evidence-based therapies, medication management, and holistic activities for a well-rounded program. For more details about our depression treatment program, please reach out to Elevation Behavioral Health today at (888) 561-0868.

Can You Go to Rehab for Depression

Can You Go to Rehab for Depression?

When you think of rehab, you probably think most often of drug and alcohol addiction. However, many people seek help at residential treatment centers every year for anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and more mental health disorders. Inpatient treatment for depression can make a huge difference in the life of someone struggling with this difficulty.

If you are having thoughts about harming yourself, please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255.

Understanding Depression

Depression is not something to be taken lightly. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 3-5% of American adults are experiencing major depression in any given moment. Pause for a moment and think about this. Take a sports stadium holding 40,000 people. Statistically, that means 1,200-2,000 people in the crowd are experiencing depression. Of course, this is a generalized statistic and may not be true for any specific crowd, but it puts into perspective just how many people struggle with this difficult issue.

There are multiple different types of depression that one may experience. These may include major depressive disorder, persistent depressive disorder, substance-induced depressive disorder, and disruptive mood dysregulation disorder. As there are many types of depression, it is important to seek help from a trustworthy professional.

Although there are many resources available like anxiety and depression worksheets, self-help books, and support networks, dealing with depression often requires clinical expertise and therapeutic relationships. By working with a therapist and/or psychiatrist, you can get the help you need to address the depression and recover fully. Without help, depression can cause a number of dangerous symptoms throughout our lives.

According to the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, people with depression are four times as likely to experience a heart attack as those without depression. Depression is the cause of over ⅔ of suicides in the United States, and the National Institute of Health estimates that about 80% of those who find help show an improvement of symptoms in only four to six weeks of treatment. Unfortunately, over half of people who suffer from depression never seek clinical help.

Rehab for Depression and Anxiety Near Me

rehab for depressionAlthough psychotherapy, support groups, and psychiatry can all be useful in treating depression, sometimes the individual benefits from a higher level of care. There are many different treatment centers that care for people struggling with depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders. Some of these rehabs address co-occurring disorders, or the presence of both a mental health disorder and substance abuse disorder.

At a treatment center for depression, individuals are offered professional care to help them recover. Through various methods of therapy such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), interpersonal therapy, psychodynamic therapy, and more, the person works with a trained clinician to address their experience and build a life of recovery.

In many cases, medications such as antidepressants and mood stabilizers are prescribed. These medications are prescribed by a trained psychiatrist at the treatment center, and the person’s state of mind is closely monitored to see the way the medication is working. Together with the support network and therapy offered, the person can slowly begin to climb out of the depressed state.

Treatment centers that are primarily addiction treatment centers may not have the appropriate staff or program to address mental health disorders. Can you go to rehab for depression? Yes. But make sure you find a facility that is truly equipped to help. With proper help, people have the opportunity to fully recover and return to the lives they once knew or dreamed of.

When to Seek Inpatient Treatment for Depression

It may be helpful to seek help from a psychologist as a first step. As you build a relationship with a therapist, they will get to know you and your situation. Although depression often manifests in specific ways, we are all individuals. When a trained professional sees you in a clinical setting and begins to work with you to understand what’s going on, they can give you an educated recommendation.

If you think you may need help, reach out. Find somewhere that offers inpatient treatment for depression and give them a call. We can guess all we want, but the truth is that we generally can’t see the situation as clearly as an objective, trained third-party can. Although you may not feel that you need inpatient treatment, it could perhaps be beneficial.

The biggest piece here to remember is that there are professionals out there to walk you through your situation. Suffering from any depressive disorder is painful, difficult, and can leave us feeling hopeless. Nobody has to go it alone. There are people willing to guide you through finding treatment, but you need to seek help. Although it may not feel like it, depression can be treated. Sometimes it takes time and finding what works, but there are many methods of depression treatment, and psychologists and neuroscientists are continuing to learn more every day.

Holistic Meditation

Every morning, the clients of Elevation engage in mindful meditation to start out the day with calmness and mental clarity. In recent years, practicing this mindfulness has become a mainstream practice, and for good reason. According to Mayo Clinic, physicians recommend meditation to help their patients manage the symptoms of a wide range of conditions, from cancer to asthma and heart disease to insomnia.

What Exactly is Meditation?

When someone thinks of meditation, images of people sitting cross-legged on the floor chanting “ohm” may come to mind, but the truth is, it is simply the act of quieting the mind and focusing your attention on the present moment, and it can be done anywhere and in any position.

During meditation, when conscious thoughts arise, they’re simply acknowledged and then sent along like a leaf floating downstream. the practice has a number of far-reaching benefits for people in recovery.

Meditation and Stress, Anxiety and Depression

It’s understood that stress and mental illnesses like anxiety and depression are major factors for substance abuse and relapse.

Meditation is a potent stress reliever, according to Journal of Substance Abuse. The study found that practicing the holistic method reduced incidents of stress-related relapse among participants in an outpatient addiction treatment program. Meditation also helps the brain and body respond better to stress in general, further mitigating stress as a factor in relapse.

A study published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine found that mindfulness helps ease anxiety and depression, which are also associated with substance abuse and relapse. Dr. Elizabeth Hoge, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, notes that mindfulness helps people recognize unhealthy thoughts and mindfully replace them with those that are healthier.

Becoming free of negative thought patterns is a major consideration in addiction treatment, because negative thoughts foster negative behaviors. Clarity of thought gained through mindfulness is associated with making better choices that positively impact life in recovery.

Meditation and Cravings

Regular meditation can have a big impact on cravings as well. Increased mindfulness leads to fewer negative automatic responses to cravings as practitioners learn to listen to their body and mind and respond to its cues and sensations with mindful awareness and deliberateness. As they learn to accept thoughts and feelings without judgment, evaluate their attitude and quiet the mind’s chatter, it becomes easier to respond to cravings and other negative experiences in healthy and productive ways.

Meditation as Part of a Holistic Approach to Treatment

A large body of research points to the range of benefits of mindfulness in recovery. A high-quality treatment program that takes a holistic approach to treatment offers the best chances for long-term recovery.

Beating an addiction isn’t easy, but a holistic program that addresses issues of body, mind and spirit through various traditional and non-traditional therapies like meditation can lead to real and meaningful change and a better chance of successful long-term recovery.

mental health during covid 19

As Americans settle into very lengthy stay at home policies enacted across the nation, many might begin to experience some mental health concerns. After all, we are not built to go through weeks or months without our daily freedoms. Losing those personal freedoms for the sake of national health is something we have had to get accustomed to, whether we are comfortable with the edicts or not. It is the way it is, and the best thing we can do to protect our mental health during the COVID-19 crisis is to come to a state of acceptance.

In fact, the way people have responded psychologically to this event has been lined up alongside Elizabeth Kubler Ross’s infamous work, The 5 Stages of Grief. These stages include denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Collectively, many of us are now experiencing the depression phase as shelter orders have lost their luster. While the measures are in place for good reason, to prevent loss of life, many are now coming to the realization that the coronavirus has caused significant unwelcome changes in daily life.

So how do we go about protecting our mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic? What steps can we take to shore up our resolves and get through this event psychologically intact? While there is no magic wand to make all of this go away, there are some protective steps to take that will help us maintain our sanity for the meantime.

10 Steps to Protect Mental Health During COVID-19

It is true that our emotions have been all over the map since this began back in early March. One day we are calm and reflective, and the next day we feel agitated and irritable. These fluctuating emotions are to be expected as we wade into uncharted waters, not know what each day will bring. To help offset some of the anxiety and feelings of depression that might be taking root, consider these 10 tips:

  1. Practice gratitude. You wouldn’t think that there would be anything to be grateful about when every normal daily activity has been removed from your milieu. It is surprising to discover that there are plentiful things to be grateful for, especially when you realize you are still healthy and safe. Count your blessings for having a loving family, a cute pet, a roof over your head, and hope for the future. Each day, try to list 3 things for which you are grateful.
  2. Turn off the news. News overload can have negative effects on our mental health. Mainstream news outlets are enjoying their surging popularity and may enhance the dramatic in order to keep viewers engaged. This can lead to feelings of anxiety or distress for individuals who are sensitive or have experienced a past trauma. While it is fine to grab the headlines once or twice during the day, instead of keeping the news on all day long turn the TV off and enjoy some old reruns on Netflix for balance.
  3. Enjoy a simpler lifestyle. Now that we are slowly adjusting to living a very small life, we are beginning to notice some benefits of a simpler lifestyle. Instead of rushing around, racing between this or that appointment, lesson, sports practice, or a long list of errands, we are slowing down and actually smelling the roses. There is something to be said for a quieter, more leisurely pace of life.
  4. Practice mindfulness. Mindfulness helps us redirect distracting and negative thoughts that keep us feeling off-balance, drawing the mind back to the present moment. Train yourself to focus attention away from anxiety-provoking and fear-based thoughts that rob you from the pleasures of that moment in time. Be in that cozy moment, focus on the aroma of the coffee, enjoy drifting off to a different world through the book you are holding, and feel safe and secure inside that soft, snuggly blanket.
  5. Enjoy the sunshine. Health professionals are reminding us how important it is to have a strong immune system during the COVID-19 crisis. One of the best actions to take that will improve immunity and boost mood is getting plenty of vitamin D. Vitamin D is a byproduct of sun exposure. So, grab any opportunity you can to enjoy some time outside on a sunny day. Fresh air and sunshine are essential to our health and wellbeing, and you will also enjoy a noticeable change in your attitude for the better. If sunshine is scarce in your region, be sure to supplement the diet with some vitamin D3.
  6. Revisit your passions. With our usual busy lives, how many times have you looked at your bookcase and lamented having no time to read? With plentiful free time available now, grab the moment and indulge in the things you never had time for before. Read some books, make some artwork, explore new musical artists, or write a novel. We may never have the luxury of time again like we do right now to rediscover old passions or to discover brand new ones.
  7. Stay social. Social distancing has shown us a powerful truth—people need people. We all have varying degrees of sociability, with some of us wired toward being introverts and others as more extroverted. Most of us fall somewhere in the middle, enjoying both social time and time for introspection. To nourish our need for social connection during COVID-19, which will have positive effects on our mental health, make the effort to reach out to friends and family members. With so many ways to connect with people, don’t be shy. Just check in, say hello, and ask how your friend is doing. We actually need human connection for our mental health during COVID-19.
  8. Stay physically active. For those who are free to get outdoors, take a couple of hearty walks, a bike ride, or a run every day. This will expose you to vitamin D through sunshine, which can help improve mood, as well as provide the many mental health benefits from regular exercise. If movement is tightly restricted, indoor exercise activities can be achieved through yoga or workout routines posted on YouTube. The videos offer a variety of toning, stretching, and movements that can keep you in shape during the lockdown.
  9. Keep a journal. Whether it is a leather-bound journal, a spiral notebook, or a Word document on the computer, recognize that we are living through an historic event and it would be very interesting to look back someday on the coronavirus pandemic from your own perspective. Jotting down thoughts and feelings is also therapeutic, as writing allows you to offload feelings of unrest, sadness, fear, or stress onto a piece of paper. This practice somehow releases the effects of these emotions on your psychological health.
  10. Stay flexible. With the coronavirus crisis, no one really knows how it will unfold over time. This virus is novel, meaning it has never existed before. As we all cycle through the cascading events together, it is good to remain as nimble and flexible mentally as possible. Try to avoid having firm expectations about how long we will have to remain at home or how the virus affects people. Collectively we will do better psychologically if we roll with events as they unfold, rather than having rigid expectations.

Signs of Deteriorating Mental Wellness

It is difficult to predict who among us will be able to manage our mental health during COVID-19 and who will struggle. Many factors play into the way we will respond to the stress and uncertainty, both in terms of the health scare and the financial fallout. We all are going to struggle from time to time as we experience the impact of the virus on our lives. However, when mental health begins to seriously deteriorate it is critical to get the professional help you need.

Be aware of the following warning signs of a serious mental health issue:

  • Sudden changes in eating habits leading to unintended weight gain or weight loss
  • Changes in sleep patterns, disrupted sleep, nightmares, or insomnia
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Persistent feelings of hopelessness and despair
  • Self-harming behaviors
  • Heart palpitations, racing heart rate
  • Increase in somatic symptoms, such as headaches, stomachaches, diarrhea
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Loss of interest
  • Isolating behaviors
  • Angry, violent behavior
  • Experiencing delusional thoughts or hallucinations
  • Suicidal ideation, obsessed with death

Most mental health providers are offering tele-mental health video services during COVID-19. If you or a loved one is experiencing the signs of deteriorating mental health during the pandemic, reach out to a mental health provider for immediate support.

Getting Mental Health Treatment During COVID-19

Mental health treatment is still readily available during this event. Many outpatient mental health programs are now providing psychotherapy and group therapy via Zoom platforms, where a licensed mental health provider will be able to offer therapy and support. There are outpatient intensive outpatient programs that are designed to be administered through video conferencing platforms.

Residential mental health providers are still operating during the COVID-19 event. These facilities have adopted all of the CDC safety guidelines to provide a clean, sterilized therapeutic environment.

Elevation Behavioral Health Offers Residential Mental Health During COVID-19

Elevation Behavioral Health is a luxury residential mental health center in Los Angeles. Elevation Behavioral Health has made the safety of our residents and staff the top priority, and have adhered to all the CDC safety recommendations including personal protective equipment, thorough cleaning and disinfecting of our facility, screening protocols for the virus, and practicing social distancing the best we can. If you or a loved one is in need of more intensive, customized mental health treatment, please contact our team today at (888) 561-0868.

depression and alcohol

There are many reasons why individuals suffer from alcoholism, and genetics, environmental factors and mental health issues are just a few explanations. Co-occurring disorders occur when an individual suffers from both a mental health issue and an addiction such as depression and alcohol. Though they are completely treatable, co-occurring disorders are especially delicate and require integrated clinical therapy to achieve lasting results. >/p>

Depression Statistics

Nearly a third of individuals who suffer from major depressive disorder also suffer from alcoholism. Though it can be hard to determine with certainty, in many cases the depression is present before the addiction takes place.

These numbers are compounded by the fact that 10 percent of Americans experience depression, yet more than 80 percent of those who deal with depression go undiagnosed and untreated. In the absence of professional treatment, it’s not uncommon for those suffering in silence to deepen their relationship with alcohol.

Negative Feedback Loops

Whether alcoholism is caused by depression or vice versa varies on a case-by-case scenario, but what remains the same is the impact that the two have on one another. For an individual struggling with alcoholism and depression, the negative feedback loop is self-perpetuating.

A person drinks in an attempt to feel better, only to find that the relief is merely temporary, if at all. This may lead to further attempts to self-medicate by drinking larger amounts with more frequency. Through this process, depression compounds these factors, leading the individual to quickly descend into addiction.

Social Consequences

The seemingly endless cycle of addiction has residual social repercussions as well. Many times people find themselves not caring about anything outside of their addiction. They may be unwilling to speak with others, show up at work or do anything that might interfere with their drinking routine. The inability to listen to reason, combined with disconnection from the world around them, produces a potent fertilizer in which depression, anxiety and addiction can grow.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Quitting cold turkey can not only be ineffective, it can be dangerous. Receiving help from certified professionals through a medically supervised detox program will greatly increase chances of recovery and decrease the dangers that come along with detoxing.

Trained specialists look at the root of the addiction and mental health issue and treat them both from the very start—healing both mind and body. Peoplecan learn new ways to cope with their mental health issues and begin to discover the potential that they may have thought was gone forever.

Types of Therapy

Many dual-diagnosis treatment facilities go beyond conventional individual and group therapy, giving individuals the chance to get to know themselves again through activities like art, yoga, exercise and music. When administered effectively and adhered to, therapy can help resolve co-occurring disorders and give people suffering from addiction the tools they need to overcome obstacles in a healthy and positive way.

Anyone who is suffering from alcoholism or who may be developing a drinking problem shouldn’t wait to treat these issues. The more time that passes, the more difficult it will be to break the negative feedback loop.

Positive Effects of Antidepressants

One of the most significant medical developments in the past thirty years has been the emergence of antidepressant drug therapy. Antidepressants were the breakthrough intervention for the treatment of depression since the 1980s, and have been found to be efficacious for many other mental health disorders as well. Antidepressants are a cornerstone treatment element for depressive disorders, prescribed alongside psychotherapy and other interventions for best results.

About Antidepressants

Antidepressant drug therapy mitigates symptoms associated with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and other mood disorders, and personality disorders. These drugs help alleviate distress by balancing chemicals in the brain called the neurotransmitters. Nearly 13% of Americans aged 12 and older are on antidepressants, based on data provided by the Centers for Disease Control.

Among those prescribed antidepressants, the highest prevalence was among adults aged 65 and older. Regarding possible over-prescribing of antidepressants for older adults, Dr. Donovan Mause, M.D., M.S. who specializes in geriatrics at the University of Michigan states, “Many patients are given antidepressants for non-depression diagnoses, such as anxiety, sleep, and neuropathic pain.”

When a doctor decides to prescribe an antidepressant, he or she will take into consideration the benefit versus risk ratio. This simply means that the overall benefit to the wellbeing of the patient is balanced against potential side effects. For many individuals diagnosed with depression, anxiety, or a mood disorder, an antidepressant regimen offers significant benefits that offset the possible adverse effects. For those who find side effects intolerable, alternative treatments for treatment are then explored.

There are five categories of antidepressants. These include:

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). SSRIs are designed to modulate how serotonin is processed. These drugs increase the level of serotonin in the brain and block the reabsorption, or reuptake, of serotonin, making more serotonin available for transmitting messages between the neurons. Drugs in this class include Prozac, Lustral, Cipramil, Faverin, and Seroxat.
  • Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). A newer type of antidepressant, the SNRIs work by blocking both the norepinephrine and serotonin neurotransmitters. These drugs include Cymbalta, Effexor, Fetzima, and Pristiq.
  • Norepinephrine and dopamine reuptake inhibitors (NDRIs). Only one drug is represented in this class, which blocks reuptake of both dopamine and norepinephrine, Wellbutrin.
  • Tetracyclics. These are drugs that work by preventing neurotransmitters from binding with specific receptors on the nerves. These drugs include Ludiomil, Remeron, and Asendin.
  • Tricyclic antidepressants. Tricyclics block the reabsorption of serotonin and epinephrine into nerve cells after being released into a synapse. Tricyclics include Elavil, Tofranil, Pamelor, and Norpramin.
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). MAOIs work by blocking the effects of an enzyme called monamine oxidase, which breaks down serotonin, dopamine, and epinephrine. Drugs include Nardil, Marplan, Emsam, and Parnate.

While the positive effects of antidepressants are well established, the list of adverse side effects somewhat taints the reputation of these medications. Fortunately, with about thirty different antidepressants on the market a doctor can trial a patient on a few before finding the best therapeutic fit with the least amount of side effects. Each trial may last 4-6 weeks, after which the psychiatrist can adjust dosages or switch the patient to a different antidepressant if the trial is unsuccessful.

What Are the Positive Effects of Antidepressants?

When antidepressants are combined with psychotherapy and holistic treatment approaches they can help the individual struggling with a mental health disorder achieve a better quality of life. Being considered one prong of a three-pronged wellness approach, antidepressants play a big role in managing difficult symptoms which otherwise cause impairment in daily functioning.

While antidepressants can take several weeks before noticing a meaningful difference in symptoms, the accompanying interventions—therapy and holistic activities—can provide some relief in the meantime. When the antidepressant does become effective, the individual will experience a leveling out of the distressing symptoms to varying degrees, including some that achieve full remission.

Once the mental health disorder symptoms are under control, the individual will be able to be more productive and present in their jobs and their relationships. This in turn leads to improvements across the range of daily life, including career, family, physical health, and relationships.

These Mental Health Disorders May Benefit from the Positive Effects of Antidepressants

While commonly associated with an essential treatment method for depression, it is true that antidepressants are also efficacious in the treatment of a range of mental health conditions. Such disorders may call for a combination drug therapy that includes both antidepressants and another psychotropic drug, such as antipsychotics, anti-anxiety medications, or mood stabilizers. Antidepressants have been shown to be helpful for the following conditions:

Depression

Depression is a common mental health disorder that impacts over 17 million Americans annually. There are several sub-types of depression, including seasonal affective disorder, dysthymia, postpartum depression, and bipolar depression. Major depressive disorder is diagnosed when at least five of the following symptoms persist for more than two weeks.

Symptoms of depression include:

  • Low mood, persistent sadness, feelings of despair and hopelessness
  • Fatigue
  • Change in eating habits
  • Sleep disorders
  • Loss of interest in daily life
  • Sluggish cognitive functioning or movements
  • Inappropriate feelings of guilt or shame
  • Thoughts of suicide

Anxiety

Anxiety disorders are the most prevalent mental health disorders in the US, with approximately 40 million adults struggling with anxiety. There are several different types of anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety, phobia, panic and disorder.

Symptoms of anxiety include:

  • Irrational worry and fear, feelings of dread
  • Shortness of breath
  • Heart palpitations
  • Trembling
  • Sweating
  • Dizziness
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Nausea

Bipolar disorder

Bipolar disorder is classified as a mood disorder, and has four types, including bipolar I, bipolar II, cyclothymic, and non-specified bipolar.

Symptoms of bipolar disorder include:

  • Intense mood swings between mania and depression
  • Impulsive behaviors
  • Engaging in high-risk behaviors
  • Substance abuse
  • Intense irritability
  • Hyper sexuality
  • Rapid speech
  • Increased energy
  • Suicidal ideation

Personality disorder

There are several different personality disorders, including antisocial personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, histrionic personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, avoidant personality disorder, paranoid personality disorder, and dependent personality disorder, not all of these will benefit from antidepressants although some definitely do.

There are several personality disorders, each with unique features and symptoms. Generally, someone with a personality disorder might experience:

  • Distorted sense of self
  • Antisocial behavior
  • Emotional instability
  • Impaired relationships
  • Feelings of emptiness
  • Delusional thinking

Binge Eating Disorder

Among the eating disorders, only binge eating disorder appears to benefit from the use of antidepressants. Possibly that is due to the relationship between the disorder and coexisting depressive disorder. Other eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia, do not seem to benefit from antidepressants.

Symptoms of binge eating disorder include:

  • Continual eating even when full
  • Stockpiling food, hiding food
  • Inability to stop eating
  • Gorging in isolation
  • Feelings of numbness while bingeing
  • Never feel sated, or satisfied after eating
  • Low self-esteem

What are the Negative Effects of Antidepressants?

Now that we have covered the positive effects of antidepressants, it is helpful to also mention the limitations or negative effects of antidepressants. This is important, as antidepressants are usually effective in 50%-70% of individuals who are prescribed them for managing a mental health disorder. The balance are individuals who are diagnosed as treatment-resistant, either due to a lack of successful mitigation of symptoms or side effects that caused the individual to suspend treatment.

Antidepressant side effects might include:

  • Weight gain
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Blurred vision
  • Insomnia
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability

Treatment for Depression and Anxiety is a 3-Pronged Approach

  • Medication. There is a wide selection of antidepressants on the market for treating depression and also for treating anxiety. Each type of antidepressant varies slightly in how they function in the brain, making certain types best for treating depression and others better for anxiety or other mental health conditions.
  • Psychotherapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a behavioral approach that is very effective for treating depression or anxiety. CBT helps the patient identify irrational thoughts that leads to depressive symptoms or anxiety responses. The CBT therapist will guide patients toward developing more rational thought patterns. There are also exposure therapies for helping those with depression or anxiety that is related to a trauma.
  • Holistic activities. Acknowledging the powerful mind-body connection, establishing healthy habits that promote physical wellness and help to regulate stress is essential. Incorporating regular exercise, a nutritious diet, and stress-reduction activities helps round out the treatment approach. Some activities that help reduce stress and promote calm include yoga, deep breathing techniques, practicing mindfulness, guided meditation, acupuncture, massage, and aromatherapy.

For patients with depression who do not respond to antidepressant drug therapy, there are some alternative approaches that may be helpful. These include brain stimulation techniques such as TMS therapy, vagus nerve stimulation, and deep brain stimulation.

Antidepressants remain the centerpiece of depression treatment protocols. While these medications do not work for everybody, the positive effect of antidepressants experienced by the majority of depression patients reinforces them for essential treatment of depressive disorders. Depression is a serious mental health disorder that should be diagnosed and treated to limit impairment. Giving antidepressants a trial run is a prudent step in stemming the impact of the symptoms on one’s life.

Elevation Behavioral Health Provides Luxury Residential Mental Health Treatment

Elevation Behavioral Health is an upscale residential mental health program based in Los Angeles that features an intimate, home-like environment. Elevation Behavioral Health treats a comprehensive list of mental health disorders, including depression, anxiety, personality disorder, mood disorder, and more, using a proven integrated 3-pronged approach including medication, psychotherapy, and holistic methods. If you are struggling with a mental health condition, contact our compassionate team at Elevation Behavioral Health today at (888) 561-0868.