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Depression

What Are the Best Foods for Fighting Depression?

healthy foods good for depressionIf you’re struggling with mental health, you’re probably aware that nutrition is an important part of managing your health. For many of us, who have little to no experience with nutrition, eating well can sound like picking a few foods. After all, most of us have heard of superfoods and specific fruits or vegetables or healthy fats that are good for your brain health.

Unfortunately, that’s not quite how it works and there’s no magic wand to cure depression or improve your mental health. The good news is that healthy eating for your mental health and to support recovery from depression often means eating a diverse range of foods and getting a varied diet. Of course, there’s more to it and we’ll go into that in the rest of the article.

What Foods are Good for Fighting Depression?

Often, it’s the case that some foods are extremely good for you because they are healthy, affordable, and accessible. For example, apples are one of the best fruits you can eat. However, food is better when you eat a diverse range of fruits, vegetables, and protein sources. The more you mix your diet up, the higher the chances that you’re having a healthy and well-balanced diet.

  • About half of every meal should be unprocessed fruits and vegetables
  • About half of your grain intake should be whole grain
  • You need about 3 servings of low-fat high calcium dairy or equivalent per day
  • About ¼ of every meal should be made up of protein sources
  • You should eat different foods as often possible to vary your nutritional intake

It’s also important to keep in mind that what you avoid can be almost as important for your mental health as what you do eat. For example:

  • Don’t rely on caffeine or sugary beverages that can disrupt your dopamine and serotonin systems and therefore disrupt how you feel.
  • Don’t have more than about 1-4 cups of coffee per day
  • Try to stick to no more than a can or about 12 ounces of carbonated beverages per day.
  • Keep sugar to less than 10% of your daily calorie intake. That normally means less than 50 grams/12 teaspoons of sugar per day
  • Keep fat to less than 20% of your daily calorie intake. That’s usually about 44-78 grams per day.

Following those rules, you automatically have to watch your intake of:

  • Fruit juice
  • Soda
  • Energy drinks
  • Baked goods
  • Prepared / frozen meals

For example, if you look at the back of a pack of frozen lasagna, it’s about 12 grams of fat per 290 calories, meaning you’d max out your recommended fat intake before meeting your daily caloric requirements for the day if you ate nothing but that.

If you want more advice, including meal advice and shopping lists, government resources like MyPlate.gov offer it for free.

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Talk to Your Doctor and a Nutritionist

doctor consultation about food for depressionNutritional disorders and deficiencies are very commonly co-occurring with depression and other behavioral health problems. Why? They feed into each other. You feel bad so you don’t cook a healthy meal and eat something unhealthy, rely on caffeine and sugar to get through your day, and then have a comfort meal to feel better at the end of it. You feel down later so you have chips or donuts to boost your mood. That eventually catches up with you and you feel worse. Or, you’re actually low on nutrients like Vitamin A, which can actually cause your mood to drop and for you to feel bad.

As a result, many mental health support centers actually incorporate nutritional therapy and recovery into their programs. That means you get a blood panel to see if you’re deficient on anything and then a targeted meal plan to help you get and stay healthy. Those plans also often involve helping you learn skills like meal prep and cooking nutritious food as part of it.

Talking to your doctor can get you that same blood panel and a recommendation to a dietician. From there, you’ll typically get a meal plan recommendation and help with planning food. Getting into meal prep and similar programs also means you’ll be able to prepare meals for the week ahead and you’ll have less temptation to go for unhealthy convenience meals.

What Does Eating Well Do for Depression

Nutrition impacts your mood, your energy levels, and your physical health. Those, in turn, impact your long-term mental health. Eating well makes you feel good. That will ensure you have a baseline of health to manage your depression so you can move towards recovery. Nutrition also impacts your mental health in fairly basic ways. For example, if you don’t eat enough proteins, your body can’t produce the serotonin and dopamine you need to feel good. If you don’t get enough vitamin D, you  might actively experience symptoms of depression and fatigue. That’s also the same with Vitamin A. Yet, many Americans don’t get enough of either. Often, ensuring you have enough dairy and eat enough vegetables can balance both of those issues out – though you may need supplements if your doctor recommends it.

However, supplements are always an inferior choice to simply eating diverse foods. In fact, you don’t digest everything from supplements, which means that often you are wasting money because supplements pass through your system before being fully digested. Therefore, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and diverse protein sources are still a much better way to boost your mental health.

Eating well will also boost your mood. Most of us are aware of how we feel bad after a day of eating nothing but fast food. The high salt and fat content of fries is satisfying in the short-term, but over a few days, offers nothing for the body other than sugars that are quickly used for energy or stored as fat. You need healthy food, and for about 80% of meals that you eat.

Improving Nutrition for Depression

man during counseling about his depressionIf you’re struggling with depression, improving your nutrition is one good step you can take. Many of us struggle to cook and eat well at the best of times, let alone when depressed. That normally means you’ll have to take steps to ensure you have the resources to do so. For example:

  • Ask for help with cooking and preparing meals
  • Do meal prep if you can manage
  • Move into a social living or support housing situation with communal meals
  • Go to inpatient therapy and get help with depression while building the skills and routines you need to eat in a healthy fashion
  • Talk to your doctor and ask for advice

Eventually, everyone is different. You might have an easy time switching to a healthy diet. You might already have a healthy diet. On the other hand, you might not know how to cook, you might be too busy to easily add food prep into your routine, and you might have no real idea of what counts as healthy. Getting help means you’ll have someone help you with building habits and routine, with food prep, and with anything else you need to make your lifestyle support recovery and feeling good. That may mean you need a nutritionist or dietician, it may need you need social support, it may mean you need therapy, and it may mean you need something small like a meal box or other solution. You’re the only person who can gauge what that is. Good luck.

Passive Suicidal Ideation: Signs and When to Seek Help

depressed woman with Passive Suicidal IdeationIf you or a loved one is struggling with thoughts of self-harm, suicide, and dying, it’s important to reach out and talk to a professional. That’s even true if that ideation is passive, because even if it’s not pressing, suicidal ideation is never a good sign. It’s a warning that you need help, and you need to get it before the problem becomes worse.

Passive suicidal ideation is, in short, the desire to die without having a plan to achieve that. That means you face a feeling of wanting to die, intrusive thoughts of self-harm or killing yourself, or feelings of not wanting to live. If you’re experiencing that, that is enough warning sign to seek help and to talk about it with a mental health professional. However, we’ll go more into detail on that in the rest of this article.

What is Passive Suicidal Ideation

Passive suicidal ideation is the desire to die, to kill yourself, or a lack of desire to keep living. However, it’s called “passive” because the person experiencing it hasn’t made an active or concrete plan to make these thoughts a reality. In fact, they might never do so. For many people, passive suicidal ideation is unwelcome and unpleasant. For others it’s an early warning sign of actually wanting to die and will eventually solidify into an active want to die. That change can be triggered by bad things happening, mental health getting worse, or by trauma. However, it can happen.

In either case, passive suicidal ideation is not something to just live with. It reduces your quality of life, it harms your mental health, and it can turn into active suicidal ideation over time. That means you should always look for and get help if you are experiencing it. Even talking about it with a professional can give you insight into what your coping mechanisms are, how you can redirect thoughts, and how you can work towards overcoming those thoughts.

What are the Signs of Passive Suicidal Ideation in Others

Passive suicidal ideation can take a lot of different forms. For many people, it means expressing or showing thoughts of wanting to die. Others will never voice those thoughts aloud. That can mean you’ll never notice or see suicidal ideation until it’s too late. However, you can look for signs like:

  • Expressing a desire to die. Even if it’s said as a joke, it is something you should take seriously, talk about, and try to figure out how real the sentiment is.
  • Researching or looking into how suicide works and what types of suicide methods work. Even things like knowing suicide statistics and what kinds of suicide attempts work can be a red flag. For example, if someone knows why a suicide method is the most effective, that means they’ve looked it up, and that means they had motivation to do so.

depressed woman thinking she is not worthyYou can also look for statements like:

  • “I want to die”
    “life just doesn’t feel worth living”
  • “I hope this car crashes”
  • “I could step in front of this bus”
  • “My loved ones would be better off if I were never born”
  • “I don’t want to be alive anymore”
  • “Everything is too hard to cope with”
  • “I just want to sleep and not have to deal with life”

These statements, and others like them, all express passive suicidal ideation.

a woman lonely and depressedYou can also look for signs of poor mental health like:

  • Increased reliance on substances
  • Depression
  • Self-isolation or avoiding friends and family
  • Expressions of or feelings of loneliness
  • Changes in behavior such as self-care
  • Changes in sleeping patterns
  • Self-harm
  • Feelings of hopelessness

These latter symptoms can map to a very large number of mental health problems. However, they all point to the fact that this person is not doing well and probably needs help.

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Are Suicidal Thoughts Normal?

sad woman with mental health problemIn 2021, an estimated 12.3 million Americans seriously thought about Suicide. This means that for almost 4% of the population, suicide is a normal thing to think about. At the same time, normal does not mean healthy, good for you, or something you have to live with.

People think about dying all the time. Today, someone dies by suicide almost every 11 minutes in the United States. The fact that something is normal does not mean that you should leave it alone. Instead, it means that it’s normal to need help and it should be normal to ask for that help.

Coping with Passive Suicidal Ideation

Therapy and mental health support is the best way to cope with suicidal ideation. Professional help can allow you to understand what’s underneath suicidal ideation, to find and change behavior and patterns in your life that contribute to feeling that way, and to build habits and change that improve your life so you can move past suicidal ideation and get back to enjoying your life. And, when therapy isn’t enough, a mental health professional can help you to get treatment and medication to help balance your mood so you can improve quality of life that way.

Managing suicidal ideation also means managing your life and the people in it. That means:

  • Managing your routines so you have structure and support
  • Manage energy by going to bed and getting up at the same time every day, making sure you get plenty of rest, and taking steps to ensure your quality of sleep is good
  • Keep your space clean by spending 15-20 minutes per day cleaning up
  • Take time to socialize and spend time with people who are fun and doing fun things. Consider what things you like to do and make sure you do them, even if you’re not experiencing joy in doing them right then
  • Make sure you have what you need to feel good. That means exercising 30-60 minutes per day most days and eating nutritious food about 80% of the time.
  • Minimize caffeine and alcohol intake and try to stick to recommended daily limits or less for both

Essentially, if you take steps to give yourself structure and routine, put effort into taking care of yourself, and keep your space clean, you’re giving yourself a good basis for mental health. On top of that, you should add things you like to do like hobbies (crafting, sports, games) and spending time with friends and family so that you get to enjoy things as well. That won’t make you feel “not depressed”, but it will give you a good baseline for feeling good about yourself and your life.

woman trying to overcome depression by relying to mental health professionalWhen Should You Seek Help?

In any case where you’re experiencing suicidal ideation, you should be seeking help. If you have recurring thoughts of death, wanting to die, not wanting to live, self-harm, or suicide, you should be talking to a mental health professional. Often, that starts with talking to your doctor who can recommend you to a therapist or to other treatment. However, you can also reach out and ask for treatment directly from a mental health clinic or center.

Suicidal ideation is always a warning that something is wrong, and it is always a good sign to reach out and ask for help. If you or a loved one is experiencing even passive suicidal ideation, the time to seek out help is now.

How to Know If You Need Outpatient Depression Treatment

a woman inquiring about Outpatient Depression TreatmentIf you’ve been diagnosed with depression, getting treatment is very likely to be an ongoing part of your life. That’s so much true that many people benefit from inpatient stays in clinics for rehab treatment and care. That stint in full time treatment gives you a baseline to build life skills and to learn how to manage your disorder. However, over time, you might need more and ongoing support.

Outpatient treatment is ideal for that because you can stay at home, continue your daily life and responsibilities, and fit treatment into your life instead of the other way around.

Outpatient treatment is typically 5 days per week and up to three hours per day. Here, you’ll go to treatment in the evening after work or during the day, while kids are in school. You might also opt for treatment on the weekends or in the morning before the rest of your day starts. In any case, you’ll get treatment for your depression without having to give up on the rest of your life. Mental health treatment is normal and it should be. 12.7 million U.S. adults received mental health assistance for things like depression and anxiety in 2022. If you need help, it’s important to ask. Whether you need that or not should almost always be decided by a doctor. However, some signs that you will benefit from it include:

You’re Struggling

If you’re having trouble with your day-to-day life, you probably need help. That’s true whether you’re withdrawing from the things you love, you’re having trouble keeping up with routines, you’re dropping out of social life, or you feel bad. Even persistent feelings that things are off or wrong are a good sign to reach out and talk to your doctor and to potentially get help.

You should never have a hard time keeping up. You should always feel like you have the tools to manage your life and the things in it. And, while emergencies happen, the norm should be that you have a handle on things. If that doesn’t feel like it’s the case, reaching out and looking into treatment and help is an important thing.

That’s also true if the issue is that you’re “just” feeling stressed or tense all of the time. A lot of people experience expression as fatigue. Others experience it as stress or feelings of tension or that things are about to go wrong. These feelings are not normal, and you shouldn’t have to live with them all the time. You can get help and you can work on finding a solution.

a male employee not enjoying his daily routineYou’re Not Enjoying Things

If you’re doing things you used to enjoy and are getting nothing out of it, it’s time to talk to a doctor about treatment. Depression means that your brain isn’t processing serotonin and dopamine correctly. That can mean feeling less enjoyment, less motivation, and more simple fatigue and tiredness. Either way, if you’re not doing things you love anymore, it’s a sign that things are deteriorating. And, that means things will get worse. Without positive things in your life and things you enjoy, you won’t have outlets or good things to look forward t. That will mean things will just keep getting worse. Therefore, it’s critical that you seek out depression treatment if things are that bad.

It’s okay to have a few down weeks. However, if things last more than a few weeks, you really want to make sure you’re getting help.

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woman with depression getting outpatient treatmentYour Routines are Falling Apart

If your routines are falling apart, it’s a good sign that you’re overwhelmed. Sometimes that can be because the routines are too much. In other cases, it can be because you are not doing well and you need help keeping up. This means that the first step is to step back, reduce your workload, find workarounds, and ensure that you have tools to get things done. That might mean talking to a professional and asking for help and insight. That’s especially true if you have family responsibilities that might push you towards doing more than you feel capable of. However, if you notice:

  • Personal hygiene slipping, e.g., you don’t put the same effort into dressing up, you don’t brush your hair, you don’t get dressed, etc. It’s a good time to be concerned for yourself and to ask for help. Major changes in personal routine and hygiene are hugely important indicators of your mental health. Even small stuff like not being invested in dressing nicely when you used to be or feeling like tying your shoes is too much effort can be hugely important indicators of mental health.
  • Slipping up on home routines like cleaning the house, putting away the dishes, or cooking. If you used to have a routine you could keep up with and now things are piling up, or you don’t know how to create a routine you can keep up with, it’s a very good sign that you might want professional help. It’s normal to have some trouble keeping up with dishes and other cleaning. It’s less so to have those tasks be overwhelming, for them to fall by the wayside for weeks at a time, or for some chores like laundry to just not happen until things are extremely bad.
  • Dropping responsibilities at home, like childcare, cooking for yourself, spending time with your partner, etc. The more important the responsibility, the larger the red flag it is when you drop it. If you find you’re just not keeping up with things you need and want to do, it’s critical to ask for help – even if that means staying at an inpatient facility.
  • Being late for work or failing other major responsibilities outside the home. If you’re not keeping up when social or financial pressure are involved, it’s a sign that you are having significant trouble and you should be getting help.

Letting things slip for a few days is okay. But, if things are falling behind for the longer term, you feel overwhelmed, too tired to manage, or just don’t care, it’s a very good sign that you badly need help.

a man trouble with relationships, struggling from depression Trouble with Relationships

The worse you’re doing, the more your mood is going to go up and down, the harder of a time you’ll have handling your emotions, and the worse you’ll be at keeping up with social responsibilities. That often means your relationships with friends, family, and even partners will deteriorate. Here, it’s important to recognize that depression can actively sabotage your relationships. Having the tools to communicate that, to set expectations, and to manage your emotions will allow you to manage your relationships and to maintain them around depression. That’s important for you, your quality of life, and your ability to maintain those relationships. Often, it will mean going to treatment, getting relationship therapy, and learning skills to manage your life around depression.

Eventually, going to treatment is a normal and healthy thing. Even if you think you’re struggling, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor, get insight from a professional, and get a handle on what your options are and how you can move forward.

Outpatient treatment for depression can be a great choice to allow you to get help and to get your depression under control without putting your life on hold – but you might also need more intensive care. It’s important to talk to a professional and ask for advice on what will work for you with your symptoms.

Redeemed Mental Health is a mental health & dual diagnosis treatment center offering PHPIOP, and individual levels of care. Contact us today to begin your journey of recovery!

A Closer Look at Anxiety, Depression, and Psychosis: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments

Anxiety, Depression, and Psychosis Everything You Need to KnowWelcome back to Redeemed Mental Health, your trusted source for expert mental health care. Today, we’re taking a closer look at anxiety, depression, and psychosis. We’ll explore their symptoms, delve into their causes, and discuss the treatments available. Ready for another informative (and surprisingly fun) journey? Let’s dive in!

Understanding Anxiety, Depression, and Psychosis

Anxiety, depression, and psychosis are common mental health disorders that can significantly impact an individual’s quality of life. But what exactly are these disorders, and how do they affect us? Let’s take a closer look.

Symptoms

Each of these disorders presents with unique symptoms.

Anxiety

Anxiety is characterized by persistent and excessive worry. Symptoms can vary from person to person, but common signs include:

  • Restlessness: Feeling on edge or being unable to sit still.
  • Fatigue: Feeling tired all the time, even after a good night’s sleep.
  • Difficulty concentrating: Struggling to focus on tasks or frequently finding your mind going blank.
  • Irritability: Feeling easily annoyed or angered.
  • Muscle tension: Experiencing frequent muscle aches or stiffness.
  • Sleep problems: Having trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or experiencing restless and unsatisfying sleep.

Depression

Depression is more than just feeling sad or going through a rough patch. It’s a serious mental health condition that requires understanding and treatment. Here are some common symptoms:

  • Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood: Feeling down most of the day, nearly every day.
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities: No longer finding joy in things you once enjoyed.
  • Changes in appetite or weight: Significant weight loss or weight gain, or decrease or increase in appetite.
  • Sleeping too much or too little: Insomnia or oversleeping nearly every day.
  • Feeling worthless or guilty: Feeling bad about yourself or feeling guilty over things that aren’t your fault.
  • Difficulty thinking, concentrating, or making decisions: Struggling to focus, remember things, or make decisions.

Psychosis

Psychosis is characterized by an impaired relationship with reality. It’s a symptom of serious mental disorders. People who are experiencing psychosis may have either hallucinations or delusions.

  • Hallucinations: Seeing, hearing, or feeling things that aren’t there. For example, hearing voices or seeing people who aren’t there.
  • Delusions: Strong beliefs that aren’t true and that the person holds, even when presented with factual information. For example, the belief that outside forces are controlling their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
  • Thought disorders: Ways of thinking that are disorganized, confused, or nonsensical.
  • Movement disorders: Agitated or abnormal body movements.

Causes

The causes of these disorders are complex and multifaceted, involving a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors. It’s like a puzzle with many pieces – each piece plays a part, and the picture isn’t complete without all of them.

Anxiety

Anxiety disorders can be caused by a variety of factors:

  • Genetics: Anxiety disorders can run in families, suggesting that a combination of genes and environmental stresses can produce the disorders.
  • Brain chemistry: Changes in the areas and pathways of the brain that control fear and other emotions.
  • Environmental factors: Elements in the environment around an individual can increase anxiety. This includes things like trauma, abuse, death of a loved one, or long-term stress.

Depression

Depression is often caused by a combination of factors:

  • Biological differences: People with depression appear to have physical changes in their brains.
  • Brain chemistry: Neurotransmitters are naturally occurring brain chemicals that likely play a role in depression.
  • Hormones: Changes in the body’s balance of hormones may be involved in causing or triggering depression.
  • Inherited traits: Depression is more common in people whose blood relatives also have the condition.

Psychosis

Psychosis can be caused by various conditions:

  • Psychiatric disorders: Schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, severe depression, and PTSD can lead to psychosis.
  • Physical illness or injury: Traumatic brain injuries, brain tumors, strokes, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and HIV can cause psychosis.
  • Substance use: The use of certain drugs, such as marijuana, LSD, amphetamines, and alcohol, can trigger a psychotic episode.

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Treatments

Paranoid Personality DisorderTreatment for these disorders typically involves a combination of medication and therapy. At Redeemed Mental Health, we offer a range of treatment options, including Individual Therapy, a Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP), and Intensive Outpatient Treatment (IOP).

Anxiety

Treatment for anxiety often involves a combination of psychotherapy and medication. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is especially useful in treating anxiety disorders. CBT teaches you different ways of thinking, behaving, and reacting to anxiety-producing and fearful situations. Medications, including antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs, can also be used to manage symptoms.

Depression

Depression is usually treated with medications, psychotherapy, or a combination of the two. If these treatments do not reduce symptoms, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and other brain stimulation therapies may be options to explore. Lifestyle changes, such as improving sleep habits, increasing physical activity, and eating a healthy diet, can also help manage symptoms of depression.

Psychosis

Psychosis is typically treated with a combination of medications (usually antipsychotic medications) and psychotherapy. Early treatment is important, as it can help to manage symptoms and improve the long-term prognosis. In some cases, hospitalization may be needed if the person’s symptoms are severe or if they are at risk of harming themselves or others.

Conclusion

So there you have it, a closer look at anxiety, depression, and psychosis. Remember, mental health is a journey, not a destination. And with the right support and treatment, recovery is possible. So why wait? Take the first step towards reclaiming your mental health today.


Frequently Asked Questions

What are the symptoms of anxiety, depression, and psychosis?

Anxiety, depression, and psychosis each have unique symptoms. Anxiety might manifest as excessive worry and restlessness, depression often involves feelings of sadness and loss of interest, and psychosis is characterized by hallucinations and delusions.

What causes these disorders?

The causes of these disorders are complex and multifaceted, involving a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors. It’s like a puzzle with many pieces – each piece plays a part, and the picture isn’t complete without all of them.

What treatments are available for these disorders?

Treatment for these disorders typically involves a combination of medication and therapy. At Redeemed Mental Health, we offer a range of treatment options, including Individual Therapy, a Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP), and Intensive Outpatient Treatment (IOP).

Ready to Take the Next Step?

If you or a loved one are struggling with anxiety, depression, or psychosis and are ready to seek help, don’t hesitate to reach out. Our team of mental health professionals at Redeemed Mental Health is ready to help guide you on your journey towards wellness. Remember, asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, but a strength. So why wait? Take the first step towards reclaiming your mental health today. Contact us to schedule an appointment and let’s explore how our treatments can benefit you. Your journey to redemption starts here.