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What is serotonin and what is it’s function?

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Serotonin is a chemical which has a broad range of functions within the human body. Since it leads to well-being and satisfaction, it is also called the happy chemical.

Scientific name is 5-hydroxytryptamine, or 5-HT for serotonin. It is located primarily in the platelets of the brain, intestines, and blood.

Serotonin is used to transfer signals between nerve cells, it is thought to be involved in constricting smooth muscles, and it leads, among other things, to health and happiness. As the precursor to melatonin, it helps to regulate the cycles of sleep-wake and the internal clock in the body.

Appetite, impulses, and sensory, cognitive, and autonomic functions are thought to play a role. Nevertheless, it is not entirely clear how serotonin specifically influences these, or if it has an overall role in regulating the nervous system.

This appears to play a crucial role in maintaining equilibrium between the moods. Low levels of serotonin have been related to depression.

Fast facts on serotonin

  • Serotonin is an essential chemical in the human body and a neurotransmitter.
  • It is believed to help control mood and social behaviour, appetite and digestion, sleep, memory and work and sexual desire.
  • Serotonin can be related to depression. If so, it is unknown if low serotonin levels are leading to depression, or whether depression is causing serotonin levels to fall.
  • Drugs that increase serotonin levels are used to treat depression, nausea, and migraine, and can play a role in obesity and the Parkinson’s disease.
  • Other ways to improve body serotonin levels can include induction of mood, light, exercise, and diet.

What is serotonin?

Serotonin pills boost happiness
Can serotonin boost happiness, or is it more complex than that?

Serotonin is produced through a biochemical conversion process, which combines tryptophan, a protein component, with a chemical reactor called tryptophan hydroxylase. They type, together, 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT), or serotonin.

Serotonin is most widely believed to be a neurotransmitter, though it is considered by some to be a hormone. It exists in the intestines and in the brain. It also happens in the platelets of the blood and in the central nervous system(CNS) .

Since this happens widely in the body, a number of body and psychological functions are thought to be affected.

Serotonin can not cross the blood-brain barrier, so it is important to create the serotonin that is used within the brain.

Function

Serotonin, as a neurotransmitter, relays signals between nerve cells, or neurons, controlling their intensities.

The central nervous system (CNS) and the general functioning of the body, and especially the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, are believed to play a key role in this. Studies have established linkages between serotonin and bone metabolism, development of breast milk, liver regeneration, and cell division.

Serotonin has a strong and indirect effect on most brain cells.

Bowel function: Most serotonin in the body is located in the GI tract, where it controls bowel function and motion. It also plays a part in burning down the appetite.

Mood: Serotonin in the brain affects mood, anxiety and satisfaction levels. Illicit mood-altering drugs like ecstasy and LSD are causing large serotonin levels to increase.

Clotting: The serotonin tends to form blood clots. When a wound happens it is activated by platelets. The subsequent vasoconstriction, or blood vessel narrowing, decreases blood flow and tends to form blood clots.

Nausea: When you eat anything harmful or unpleasant, more serotonin is released by the gut to increase transit time and remove the irritant in diarrhea. It also activates the region of nausea in the brain which leads to nausea.

Bone density: Some scientists related high serotonin levels in the bones to an increase in osteoporosis, but others questioned these findings.

Sexual function: Serotonin appears to inhibit sexual behavior. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) improve serotonin levels in people with depression, but a variety of symptoms linked to sexual dysfunction occur between 20 and 70 per cent of people who take them.

Serotonin and depression

It’s not clear exactly what induces depression, but a central hypothesis over the last 50 years is that it may include a neurotransmitter or hormone deficiency throughout the body.

Depression has been associated with low serotonin levels although it is uncertain whether this leads to or results from depression.

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends SSRIs for treating depression. These are the antidepressants which are most widely prescribed. Fluoxetine (Prozac), citalopram (Celexa), and sertraline (Zoloft) are examples.

Usually, their neuronal impulse is reabsorbed into the body after a neurotransmitter has transmitted it. SSRIs prevent reabsorption of serotonin which results in higher serotonin levels in synapses.

Scientists now doubt the role of serotonin, or any other neurotransmitter, in causing depression, however.

Serotonin deficiency symptoms

Low levels of serotonin have been linked with:

  • poor memory
  • low mood

They may also lead to the following symptoms:

  • craving for sweet or starchy foods
  • difficulty sleeping
  • low self-esteem
  • anxiety
  • aggression
Some recreational drugs increase serotonin levels.
Some recreational drugs increase serotonin levels.

These are typical symptoms of depression but little evidence exists to relate them directly to low levels of serotonin.

It may also be that this is true only for individuals already vulnerable to depressive symptoms.

When people take recreational drugs, such as MDMA and ecstasy, they release huge quantities of serotonin. This can result in loss of serotonin and a low mood, depression and other symptoms that last for several days.

Research have also shown that these medications can also harm the serotonin-containing nerves, with potentially long-lasting adverse effects.

Treatment: SSRIs

SSRIs increase serotonin levels by preventing reabsorption of the serotonin neurotransmitters. Niveaus of serotonin remain elevated in the brain. This is meant to elevate mood.

SSRIs that the FDA has approved to treat depression are:

  • Citalopram (Celexa)
  • Escitalopram (Lexapro)
  • Fluoxetine (Prozac)
  • Paroxetine (Paxil, Pexeva)
  • Sertraline (Zoloft)
  • Vilazodone (Viibryd)

Does serotonin really relieve depression?

Since the 1980s, SSRIs have been used to treat depression by rising the serotonin levels.

Medication such as SSRIs is thought to relieve the effects of depression by increasing the body’s serotonin levels, although it’s unclear exactly how it works.

Several scientists have indicated that while SSRIs tend to function for certain individuals, increasing serotonin levels are unlikely to directly improve depressive symptoms.

One concern is that serotonin levels can be assessed in the bloodstream, but not in the brain. Scientists don’t know if bloodstream serotonin levels reflect serotonin levels in the brain, or if SSRIs can actually influence the brain.

A mouse research in 2014 indicated that serotonin does not play a part in depression. Scientists produced a few mice that did not contain serotonin in their brains. Even when put under stress, the mice showed no signs of depression.

However, in 2015 other scientists found that mice lacking serotonin were more susceptible to social stressors than mice with healthy regulation.

Although SSRIs tend to benefit certain people with depression, some scientists now claim that “simple biochemical explanations that connect low serotonin levels with depressed mood are no longer sustainable.”

One editorial published in the BMJ in 2015 refers to the use of SSRIs to treat depression as “the selling of a myth.”

SSRIs are also used to treat symptoms of anxiety, panic disorder and obsessive-compression disorder.

Adverse effects of SSRIs

SSRIs have some side effects, but these usually decrease after 2 to 4 weeks of use.

SSRIs and suicide

SSRIs don’t start working on depression for a few weeks. Symptoms of depression can intensify within the first month of treatment, before significant improvements are seen. Report any suicidal thoughts right away.

Several younger Zoloft users are also experiencing suicidal ideation.

The FDA requires all antidepressants, particularly in children, to carry a black-box warning about the danger of suicide during the initial stages of treatment.

Other uses of SSRIs

SSRIs have been used for conditions other than depression.

Treatment with serotonin may help relieve migraine
Treatment with serotonin may help relieve migraine

Antiemetics: Medications that function on serotonin receptors, such as ondansetron (Zofran), are essential for the treatment of nausea caused by chemical toxins, including chemotherapy drugs and general anesthesia. They function centrally on nausea-involved portion of the brain.

Migraine: Serotonergic vasoconstrictive antimigraine drugs, or triptans, such as almotriptan (Axert), can reduce the symptoms of migraine and are well tolerated.

Suppressants of appetite: serotonergic appetite suppressants such as fenfluramine (Pondimin) and chlorphentermine have been used to minimize appetite, although for this reason they are no longer approved.

Parkinson’s disease: The serotonergic mechanism was related to thought, emotion and motor behaviour. Therefore changes in this mechanism may have an effect on the motor and non-motor symptoms typically associated with Parkinson’s disease. Serotonergic medications were used for treating Parkinson’s disease. They are no longer licensed but work in this field continues.

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS): The cause of this disorder is unclear, but progesterone, an oversensitivity to one of the female hormones, tends to decrease serotonin levels throughout the brain. Often, serotonin antagonists are used to alleviate symptoms at the time they arise.

Other possible uses of SSRI-type drugs include the treatment of obesity and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Serotonin syndrome

Serotonin syndrome, or toxicity to serotonin, can occur if a person takes two drugs that improve serotonin at the same time.

CNS and peripheral serotonin receptors get excessive stimulation. It is typically the result of a drug reaction but it may be caused by at least one medical condition.

Drug interactions: the use of prescription medications, illegal drugs or dietary supplements can lead to serotonin syndrome, for example, if a person is susceptible or if two drugs are taken concurrently that affect serotonin levels. Symptoms can occur within 6 to 8 hours of taking the medication.

Regardless of the possibility of serotinin syndrome, the FDA cautioned against taking SSRIs with triptans for testing, a drug to treat migraine.

Drugs which target serotonin levels can not be administered with MAOI’s. MAOIs are another approach to depression management which operate on multiple neurotransmitters which their receptors.

Recreational drugs: The use of recreational drugs, such as ecstasy and MDMA, leads to a high and sudden release of serotonin. This can increase the risk of serotonin syndrome when combined with prescribed serotonergic medicines.

Carcinoid tumors: These cancerous tumors, usually located in the GI tract, can induce the release of too much serotonin. There are no signs of most carcinoid tumours. They’re also found for certain conditions during studies or procedures.

Syndrome of serotonin induces excessive activity in the nerves.

Signs and symptoms include:

  • agitation and restlessness
  • confusion
  • increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • pupil dilation
  • diarrhea
  • headaches
  • shivering
  • sweating
  • loss of muscle co-ordination
  • goosebumps
  • muscle rigidity

Severe serotonin syndrome is life-threatening in 2 to 12 percent of cases.

Symptoms include a high fever, irregular heartbeat, seizures and unconsciousness.

The use of a single drug does not usually result in serotonin toxicity.

Treatment

Treatment focuses on treating the symptoms and seeking to regain normal levels of serotonin.

Discontinuation of the medication can help to stop the symptoms.

Hospital care may be needed for extreme serotonin syndrome. Medicines can be given to relax or paralyze muscles, regulate heart rate and blood pressure, and often block serotonin development.

Oxygen and intravenous fluids can be administered to maintain normal bloodstream oxygen levels, and to treat fever and dehydration.

Boosting serotonin levels

As well as SSRIs and illegal drugs, there could be other ways in the body to raise serotonin levels.

Mood induction: Thought changes, either by psychotherapy or self-induction, may boost serotonin levels if the connection between serotonin synthesis and mood is a two-way relationship.

Light: Also used as a seasonal affective disorder (SAD) therapy, a few studies have indicated it can also be used to relieve depression.

Exercise: Exercise has an antidepressant effect and some work has indicated it can improve the role of brain serotonin.

Diet: Foods with higher levels of tryptophans may be related to enhanced mood and memory, likely because of elevated levels of serotonin.

Those are all areas where further research is needed, as current knowledge remains speculative.

Foods

Tryptophans are an amino acid that can be found in milk. Some research has associated a higher intake of dietary tryptophan with more positive mood scores, likely because tryptophan improves serotonin levels.

Bananas are known to contain serotonin, but is that likely to improve satisfaction in who eats them?
Bananas are known to contain serotonin, but is that likely to improve satisfaction in who eats them?

High-protein foods: Certain foods, such as beef, bacon, and cheese, are thought to contain tryptophan and to raise blood levels of tryptophan.

Bananas: These contain serotonin, and are recommended for mood raising. Even if the serotonin they produce enters the brain, they will only boost a person’s mood.

Tryptophan is a precursor, a major ingredient needed by the body to produce serotonin. Eating foods rich in this important chemicals doesn’t mean the body consumes and uses them. But providing tryptophan will boost the synthesis of serotonin when required.

However, in some studies older people who were given tryptophan supplements performed better than they had before on cognitive tests.

The idea that gut microbiota could influence the CNS and cognition through a connection known as gut-brain access is becoming increasingly of interest. In this case serotonin can be able to affect mood in the digestive system.

The following foods are said to contain tryptophans:

  • cheese
  • turkey
  • eggs
  • soya products
  • salmon
  • talbina, a dish made from barley

Nevertheless, while foods that contain tryptophan, it can make a difference in too small an quantity. Some studies have employed additional sources of tryptophan.

For example, a protein called α-lactalbumin is found in milk. It contains more tryptophan compared with other proteins. Scientists believe, however, that eating the amount that would be required to make a difference is likely not realistic.

In the 1980s, corn bred with a higher content of tryptophan was effective in preventing pellagra. Population studies indicate that there were less violent behaviors in people for whom this corn was a big part of the diet, but this may have been for other reasons. The tryptophans in the corn that increase serotonin levels in people.

Studies in which people drank beverages fortified with tryptophan and other nutrient-based therapies have provided mixed results.

There is little evidence to date that a specific diet can influence mood or depressive symptoms.

After a balanced and varied diet, however, a variety of health benefits and general well-being have been found.

The 2015-2020 Americans Dietary Guidelines encourage people to concentrate on a diverse diet and try to get as much as possible nutrients from food sources.

Tryptophan supplements are available at any medical store but should not be used without first talking to a doctor, due to the possibility of syndrome with serotonin.

Much about serotonin remains unclear. The challenges surrounding the study of brain functions means that a complete understanding of serotonin should be obtained some time ago.

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Bipolar

What to know about unipolar depression

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Major depressive disorder is also known as unipolar depression. The term “unipolar depression” refers to a type of depression that does not cycle through other mental states like mania. Bipolar disorders, on the other hand, cause in times of both depression and mania.

Unipolar depression, on the other hand, does not imply that a person is always depressed. People who suffer from major depressive disorder may go through periods of remission followed by periods of depression relapse. They may also feel better when their circumstances change, especially if they have atypical depression, a kind of major depressive disorder.

One of the most prevalent mental health diagnoses is unipolar depression. It can cause physical symptoms as well as substantial trouble managing everyday tasks and relationships, in addition to a melancholy or gloomy mood. In the United States, 7.8% of all people had at least one major depressive episode in 2019.

Continue reading to learn more about the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for unipolar depression.

What is unipolar depression? 

unipolar depression

Major depressive disorder is also known as unipolar depression. This mental condition has an impact on both mental and physical health.

The following are the diagnostic criteria for major depressive disorder:

At least five of the following symptoms must be present:

  • Concentration issues: A person may find it difficult to concentrate, pay attention, or think coherently. It’s possible that some people will have cognitive fog.
  • Thoughts of death or suicide: An individual may experience intrusive thoughts of death, self-harm, or suicide.
  • Depressed mood: On most days, a person feels sad or depressed for the most of the day. They can be feeling empty, hopeless, melancholy, or unsure about the future. These symptoms can appear in youngsters as behavioral difficulties or irritability.
  • Loss of pleasure: Activities that a person used to enjoy may now provide little or no pleasure.
    Weight or appetite changes:. Without attempting to gain or lose weight, a person may gain or lose 5% or more of their body weight, or suffer changes in appetite, such as eating too much or too little.
  • Sleeping issue: A person may sleep excessively or insufficiently.
  • Fatigue: When a person is physically and emotionally weary, it might affect their motivation and ability to complete everyday chores.

Only if a person’s depression symptoms are not caused by bipolar disorder or another medical condition will they be diagnosed. Their symptoms must be distressing and not be the result of medication or a physical ailment. They must also have never gone through a manic episode.

Secondary symptoms can cause as a result of depression’s symptoms, such as:

  • trouble studying or excelling at school
  • difficulties with self-care
  • trouble getting or keeping a job
  • relationship conflict

People who are depressed have a distorted vision of the world, which can affect how they think and feel about other people and themselves. Interpersonal difficulties, low self-esteem, rejection sensitivity, and other issues may arise as a result.

Causes

Major depressive illness is a multifaceted condition with genetic, psychological, social, and interpersonal causes. Depression is caused by the interaction of several factors. For example, a person may have a genetic predisposition to depression, which is subsequently activated by trauma or stress, resulting in symptoms.

Researchers aren’t sure what causes sadness, but they do know that changes in brain chemicals known as neurotransmitters play a part. Antidepressants work by affecting brain chemicals including serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine, implying that these chemicals play a role in mood.

The following are some of the risk factors for developing unipolar depression:

  • some medical conditions, including thyroid disorders
  • family history of depression
  • trauma and adverse childhood experiences

How does it differ from other forms of depression?

The main distinction between unipolar depression and bipolar depression is that a person with unipolar depression simply has depression rather than the cycles of depression and mania that bipolar illness, or bipolar depression, is known for.

People who suffer from bipolar depression have bouts of depression comparable to those who suffer from major depressive illness, but they also have moments of mania, when their mood is extremely elevated. A person may be unusually happy during manic episodes. They could make rash or hazardous judgments, such as overspending money.

People who suffer from unipolar depression are not constantly depressed. Some people may look to be cheerful, act to be happy, or have periods when their depressive symptoms improve.

Atypical depression, a subtype of major depressive illness, is more likely to be persistent. It does, however, respond better to changes in circumstances, which means that when a person’s position improves, they may be happy and have less symptoms. This is not to be confused with the mood cycling seen in bipolar depression.

Depression does not always take the form of major depressive disorder. Other types of unipolar depression that don’t entail manic episodes include:

  • Postpartum depression: Following the birth of a child, this type of depression develops.
  • Seasonal affective disorder: This sort of seasonal depression is more common in the winter.
  • Persistent depressive disorder: The symptoms of this chronic form of depression are usually milder than those of major depressive disorder.
  • Psychotic depression: A person suffering from this sort of depression causes psychotic ideas. Delusions and hallucinations are examples of psychotic beliefs that are divorced from reality.

Symptoms

A low and depressed mood is a symptom of major depression. A person’s perception of the world may be largely negative, resulting in cognitive distortions that negatively impact their relationships, work, and school performance.

The following are some of the signs and symptoms of depression:

  • unexplained weight gain or weight loss
  • trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
  • low energy
  • feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • feeling hopeless about the future
  • being unable to get pleasure from hobbies, relationships, or other previously enjoyed activities
  • trouble thinking clearly or making decisions
  • slowed movements or speech
  • feeling restless or pacing
  • brain fog
  • thoughts of self-harm or suicide
  • eating too much or too little

Secondary difficulties, such as unemployment or low school performance, might cause as a result of depression symptoms.

Treatment

Antidepressants come in a variety of forms, with the best option dependent on a number of criteria. These are some of them:

  • the subtype of major depression
  • the side effects the person feels they can tolerate
  • the person’s overall health

Before getting relief from their symptoms, a person may need to take many drugs or different dosages of the same prescription. Working with a skilled psychiatrist and discussing side effects and other treatment problems may speed up the relief process.

Psychotherapy techniques, particularly those developed to treat depression, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and interpersonal therapy, can assist a person in better coping, implementing positive lifestyle changes, and managing life with depression.

Therapies that directly stimulate the brain, such as electroconvulsive therapy, vagus nerve stimulation, and transcranial magnetic stimulation, may also help, especially if other treatments are ineffective.

Some people find that changing their lifestyle, such as exercising more, eating a well-balanced diet, practicing meditation, or taking up a new activity, is beneficial.

Outlook

Depression is difficult to cure and often chronic, thus a person may go through periods of remission before relapsing.

A complete depression treatment plan that combines medication, therapy, and lifestyle changes may help a person manage better through relapses of depression.

According to a 2019 study, several characteristics boost the chances of depression remission. These are some of them:

  • less chronic depression
  • not experiencing complicated grief
  • not having a history of childhood adversity
  • a better quality of life
  • less severe depression
  • employment
  • less anxiety

Conclusion

Major depressive disorder is also known as unipolar depression.

It can have an impact on a person’s relationships, profession, education, and sense of self, among other things. Myths about depression might make it difficult for people to get help or seek it.

Although significant depression is difficult to treat, it is possible to achieve remission, especially when a person has access to thorough and experienced care.

People who are depressed should get mental health treatment as soon as possible. A person can often be referred to a qualified and supportive mental health practitioner by their primary care physician.

Sources:

  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK559078/
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK519712/table/ch3.t5/
  • https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0278584618300514
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK558998/
  • https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/unipolar-depression
  • https://www.dovepress.com/atypical-depression-current-perspectives-peer-reviewed-fulltext-article-NDT
  • https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/major-depression
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4991044/
  • https://www.dbsalliance.org/education/depression/types-of-depression/
  • https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/depression/what-is-depression
  • https://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/doi/10.1176/appi.ajp.2018.18091079

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Depression

Depression support groups: All to know

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Depression support groups come in a variety of forms. There are several unstructured internet forums. A moderator can also be found in online and in-person groups to help steer the discussion.

Support groups give an emotionally safe space for people to vent their thoughts, share ideas, and learn useful knowledge. Many of them are available for free.

Some high-quality data shows that internet support groups are useful in reducing depressive symptoms, according to a 2017 research. People who have used them have said that they:

  • Reduce isolation.
  • improve daily functioning.
  • This increases the likelihood of seeking professional help.

Depression is frequent in the United States, affecting around 4.7 percent of people aged 18 and over.

This article examines the benefits of depression support groups, including online, in-person, and speciality groups. Other types of assistance are also discussed.

Depression support groups

Online groups

A few online support groups for depression are included below, along with some of its advantages.

Anxiety and Depression Association of America

An anonymous peer-to-peer support group for people suffering from depression and anxiety is offered by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA). Individuals and their families may share their stories and interact with others in a secure environment.

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

For people suffering from depression or bipolar illness, the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) offers online peer-led sessions. After registering with DBSA, individuals can attend planned sessions to learn coping techniques and provide hope to one another. A updated list of meetings for each day is available on the website.

Mental Health America

MHA (Mental Health America) is an online forum where people may talk about a variety of mental health issues, including depression. It is available to persons who have the condition as well as their carers.

Depression Forums

Volunteer moderators who have either experienced depression or have a loved one who has it moderate the Depression Forums. The forums cover a wide range of topics, including medicines and relationships. There’s also a “water cooler” where members may talk about whatever they like and get to know one another.

Depression Understood

People with depression may use Depression Understood to communicate with others in a variety of ways. These include live chat rooms that are available 24 hours a day, as well as forums where people may post messages for others. In addition, Depression Understood gives people the tools they need to launch their own blogs.

Livewell Foundation

People with depression are welcome to attend peer-led Zoom meetings hosted by the Livewell Foundation. On the website, it displays the weekly meetings and subjects, and members may attend the ones that interest them.

The Livewell Foundation does have some attendance limitations, such as a “no observer” policy, which means that family members and caregivers are not permitted to attend.

In-person support groups

In-person support groups provide all of the advantages of online support groups, plus the added benefit of face-to-face connection. A person’s doctor is an excellent source of information about local in-person support groups.

Some of the most well-known mental health organizations have ties to the following in-person choices. Each website provides a search function for finding a group in a certain location.

Anxiety and Depression Association of America

The ADAA maintains local and online support groups, although they are not available in every state. If a local group is not already accessible in a certain location, the organization also provides information on how to create one.

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

In-person groups are offered by the DBSA in a variety of places. During the COVID-19 epidemic, however, many of the organizations turned to social media, email, and online meeting spaces to stay in touch.

Mental Health America Affiliates

In addition to online support groups, the MHA provides in-person support groups. Some groups are led by peers, while others are led by mental health professionals.

Specialist groups

There are a variety of organizations that offer help for certain forms of depression or to specific demographics. There are additional groups for carers and family members. Here are a few to think about.

Postpartum Support International

People who experience depression during pregnancy or after childbirth can join Postpartum Support International‘s online support groups. It also has a section for people who are having trouble conceiving or have had a miscarriage.

National Alliance on Mental Health Family Support Group

Any adult who has a loved one with a mental health condition is welcome to join the National Alliance on Mental Health Family Support Group. Once a week, once a month, or twice a month, the groups meet for 60–90 minutes. They offer a number of advantages, including assisting members in developing stronger coping abilities.

OK2TALK

OK2TALK is a platform for young people and teens with mental illnesses to speak with one another. It’s a safe place to talk about your challenges, your rehabilitation, and your hope.

Daily Strength

DailyStrength (DS) is a support group for people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a mental condition that can lead to despair. With approximately 9,000 members, the DS community is rather active.

How to choose a group

Finding a support group that a person loves is a very individual experience. Before attempting one, people should think about if they prefer:

  • a group that helps people with any type of depression, or a specialized group
  • a group that allows family members and caregivers, or one that only allows people with depression
  • an online or in-person group
  • a group that is free-form, or one that is moderated by a mental health professional

It may take some trial and error to figure out what works best for you. It’s fine to quit one group and join another if it doesn’t seem right.

Other options

Support groups can be a beneficial supplement to a person’s treatment, but they are not a substitute for treatment. Doctors usually prescribe talk therapy, medication, or a combination of the two for this.

Talk therapy can assist a person in processing their emotions and learning to regulate them in a healthy manner. It can also educate someone coping techniques or assist in the discovery of the condition’s underlying root causes.

There are many different sorts of talk therapy, so just because a person doesn’t like one style or one therapist doesn’t imply it won’t help. Finding a therapist with whom a person can form a positive relationship is important.

Depressive symptoms may be alleviated with medication. People may take these to make it easier to start talking therapy. People may find it beneficial to continue taking them indefinitely in some cases.

Depression medications can have negative effects, and they usually take 2–4 weeks to work. Symptoms such as suicidal thoughts may temporarily rise in young people under the age of 25. In the first few weeks after starting these drugs, it’s important to keep a careful eye on young people who are taking them.

Even if a person’s symptoms are severe, depression is generally curable. People can talk to a doctor about their alternatives in order to determine the best strategy for them.

Conclusion

In conclusion, depression support groups may provide people with friendship, empathy, and a secure place to talk about their feelings. Although in-person groups are not available in every place, anybody with an internet connection may participate in online groups.

Support groups offer various advantages, but physicians advise using them as a supplement to treatment rather than as a replacement.

Sources:

  • https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression
  • https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/depression.htm
  • https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/depression-support-groups
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5608809/

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Abortion

After an abortion: Here’s how to look after yourself

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After an abortion, proper self-care is important for physical and mental health.

According to one estimate, approximately one out of every four women will have an abortion before the age of 45.

Abortion is a relatively risk-free operation when conducted by a medical practitioner. People should, however, be mindful of what to expect physically and mentally later.

Continue reading to learn more about what to expect following an abortion, how to care for yourself, and when to seek medical help.

Gender and sex exist on a spectrum. This article will use the terms “male,” “female,” or both to refer to the sex assigned at birth. To learn more, visit here.

Symptoms after an abortion

Symptoms after an abortion

Abortion can come in a variety of forms. A doctor will advise on the best method for a person’s medical needs and pregnancy stage. Abortion comes in a variety of forms, including:

  • the abortion pill
  • vacuum aspiration
  • dilation and evacuation, or D&E

A person’s regular menstrual period should return in 4–8 weeks after the procedure. They may, however, experience irregular spotting or bleeding at first.

In the days and weeks after an abortion, some people experience powerful emotions and mood swings. This can be caused by a sudden change in hormones, as well as a person’s feelings regarding their abortion or pregnancy.

Abortion can be a difficult emotional event, and people may need support from close friends in the days and weeks following the surgery.

When a woman ovulates, she has a chance of becoming pregnant. This might happen before the first menstruation or shortly after an abortion. If a person wants to avoid pregnancy, he or she should utilize contraception or refrain from sex.

Symptoms that commonly occur after an abortion

Regardless of the form of abortion, people may experience symptoms. However, if a woman has an abortion later in her pregnancy, the symptoms may be more severe.

Following an abortion, you should expect to experience the following symptoms:

  • light vaginal bleeding or spotting
  • pain and cramping
  • painful or swollen breasts

How to care for yourself after an abortion

A person may feel exhausted and depleted in the days following an abortion.

Physical care

Pain from cramping — similar to menstrual cramps — is common.

After the procedure, people should be driven home by a friend or family member. They may wish to take the next day or two off work if feasible to ensure that they get enough rest. They should strive to stay away from physically and emotionally challenging activities.

The cervix takes some time to close after an abortion, putting the person at risk of infection. They should avoid the following for two weeks to limit the risk of infection:

  • using tampons
  • having penetrative sex
  • putting anything in the vagina
  • using swimming pools

It is equally important to look after oneself following an abortion. Although the operation is generally fast, physical recovery can take several days or weeks. It is possible to try:

  • massaging the stomach and lower back
  • using a heat pack
  • taking over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen (Advil) or acetimenophen (Tylenol)
  • attending follow-up appointments

Emotional support

Making the decision to have an abortion is a difficult one, and it may be an emotionally draining affair.

Hormonal shifts worsen this following the surgery, resulting in mood changes. The levels of progesterone and estrogen in a person’s body gradually drop after an abortion. This can result in poor mood and mood changes.

Hormone levels will normalize once a person’s menstrual cycle returns to normal.

However, some people have continuing emotional issues that should not be overlooked. Abortion is linked to increased risks of depression, anxiety, sleep difficulties, and other mental health issues.

Additionally, people with a history of mental health issues may be more susceptible to these side effects.

If someone is experiencing mental health people, they should take time from work, talk to family and friends, and see a doctor.

Rrecovery time

The time it takes to heal from an abortion varies from person to person.

If an abortion is performed in the first trimester with no complications, the patient will most likely recover in a few days.

Late-term abortions may take longer to recover from. Recovery may take many weeks if complications arise. However, this is improbable, given just 2% of people experience difficulties as a result of an abortion.

Medical attention following an abortion

In a few weeks, most people who have had abortions will have a follow-up appointment. Further medical attention will not be required if there are no signs of problems.

People who are experiencing any symptoms of problems should see a doctor very once. Some abortion complications may necessitate a trip to the emergency room, though this is uncommon.

When should you see a doctor?

Many abortion clinics offer a 24-hour advising line to help people figure out if their symptoms require medical attention. If you have any of the following symptoms, call the advice line, your local emergency services, or go to the emergency room:

  • have increased or excessive bleeding
  • experience severe back or abdominal pain
  • are feeling dizzy or faint
  • have a fever
  • have foul-smelling discharge
  • experience nausea and vomiting

Outlook

For the vast majority of people, abortion is a simple medical procedure with no long-term consequences.

Some people are concerned that abortion will have long-term consequences. Doctors, on the other hand, largely agree that having an abortion has no effect on a person’s future chances of becoming pregnant or on the probability of pregnancy difficulties.

Abortion is a tough decision, and it is natural to feel a variety of emotions as a result. If a person is experiencing emotional or physical problems as a result of an abortion, they should see a doctor.

It’s important to remember that having an abortion can be both mentally and physically challenging. The abrupt change in hormone levels, along with the emotional stress of deciding to have the surgery, can make recuperation difficult for many people.

During this period, people should seek support from close friends and family members. They can also seek help from close relatives and friends, as well as an abortion support group.

Summary

Abortion can be a physically and emotionally demanding procedure. While most people recover in a few days, there are several issues to be aware of.

They should also seek assistance from family and friends, as having an abortion can be emotionally draining.

Sources

  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC6207970/
  • https://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/full/10.2105/AJPH.2017.304042
  • https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322533
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK304195/
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK430793/

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