What is Peripartum Depression vs Postpartum Depression?


No new mother is immune to the hormone fluctuations that happen within her body during or after pregnancy. Unfortunately, for some new mothers, there are more than just hormone fluctuations to contend with, such as peripartum depression disorder.

Peripartum depression is less commonly talked about than its postpartum depression counterpart. However, despite it not being talked about as much as it should be, the disorder still affects one in seven women who are either pregnant or have just given birth.

In this article, we’re going to discuss everything you need to know about peripartum depression, including its symptoms and treatments.

Read on to learn more.

Peripartum Depression Explained

Peripartum depression is often referred to as postpartum depression, or even the baby blues. However, none of these terms are interchangeable.

When we say the baby blues, we’re talking about the mood swings and negative feelings, such as sadness, that occur in new moms after giving birth. However, having the baby blues is perfectly normal due to the hormone fluctuations happening in a woman’s body as well as the stress and lack of sleep that comes with caring for a newborn.

It’s also important to note that the baby blues goes away after a week or two.

When we say postpartum depression, we’re talking about the severe form of clinical depression that affects new mothers. Postpartum depression can crop up anywhere from three weeks to an entire year after giving birth.

Peripartum depression is also a severe form of clinical depression, and is very closely related to postpartum depression. They’re so closely related that they both affect one in seven mothers (hence all the oversight).

However, there’s a significant difference when it comes to the timeline of peripartum depression.

The criteria for peripartum depression designates that its onset typically begins during pregnancy or immediately after giving birth.

The Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

The symptoms of peripartum depression are known to typically manifest between two weeks to about six months post-childbirth. Much like with postpartum depression, there are usually underlying causes, including having a family history of depression, anxiety, or other mood disorders.

However, peripartum can have other causes, including social isolation and poor support as well as the added stress of not only being pregnant, but the stress of taking care of a newborn.

The symptoms of peripartum depression range from the mild to severe in new mothers, and can include:

  • Fatigue or sluggishness
  • Anxiety
  • Disinterest or a a lack of bonding with the baby
  • Thoughts of harming the baby or inflicting self harm
  • Feelings of isolation, guilt, or shame
  • Feelings of inadequacy, hopelessness, or worthlessness

Fortunately, peripartum depression is perfectly treatable via psychotherapy, lifestyle changes, and social support. Antidepressants are also an option. However women who are pregnant or nursing must consult with their doctor regarding the health risks for the baby.

The most important thing for new parents to acknowledge is that peripartum depression as well as postpartum depression are very real possibilities. They’re also biological and medical conditions, so if you or a new mother you know is experiencing the above symptoms, it’s critical that they’re addressed immediately.

We can help with that. Reach out to us today to schedule an appointment for an evaluation or to learn about the other services we offer.

What is ECT Therapy?

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is an age-old procedure that uses small electric currents to “trigger a brief seizure.”

These electric currents are able to change the brain chemistry, which in turn reverses the various symptoms of certain mental health conditions.

We know, that sounds bad, and if you’ve seen or read One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, it doesn’t really help. However, ECT primarily gets its bad rap from its earliest treatments during which unnecessarily high doses of the electricity were administered—and without anesthesia.

This is what caused memory loss, fractured bones, and the other terrible side effects that contribute to the stigma attached to ECT today.

However, today—and for some time now—ECT has been administered under general anesthesia and in much smaller electric doses. In other words, it’s much safer and much more effective, especially when other treatments have been rendered unsuccessful.

Additionally, compared to other types of treatment for mental health conditions, ECT is known to have the least risks.

ECT Vs. Other Therapies

ECT is typically used to treat the following:

  • Severe depression accompanied by psychosis
  • Treatment-resistant depression
  • Severe mania
  • Catatonia
  • Aggression and agitation associated with dementia

ECT is especially a better option for treatment when other forms of therapy haven’t worked and medications cannot be physically tolerated by an individual.

However, there are a lot of other popular treatments “on the market” for treating these severe mental health conditions. Of course, compared to the other options out there, it’s arguably the most beneficial.

Let’s talk about everything else:

Ketamine and Esketamine

Both ketamine and esketamine are administered either intravenously or through a nasal spray. They also both act as an anesthetic while also increasing levels of glutamate in the brain, making them an effective treatment for treatment-resistant depression.

While the results are rapid and effective, there are several side effects including raised blood pressure, feeling drunk or disoriented, dizziness, headaches, drowsiness, and nausea. Additionally, the durability of the results is questionable, meaning that the antidepressant effect may reduce with time.


Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is another non-invasive medical procedure. This procedure uses magnetic fields to stimulate the nerve cells within the brain, which usually have a positive impact on treatment-resistant depression.

Generally, TMS is considered very safe and well-tolerated. However, it does have some side effects including headaches, twitching of the face muscles, discomfort at the site of stimulation, lightheadedness, seizures, mania, and hearing loss. As of now, it still has not been shown to be better than ECT.


Psychedelic mushrooms or, shrooms, have also been making waves for treating severe depression.

Specifically, the compound psilocybin commonly found in magic mushrooms is what has the neuroscience community spinning.

In small clinical trials, patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) were given small doses of psilocybin along with psychotherapy. The patients showed a significant reduction in their depressive symptoms, which lasted for up to four weeks.

Additionally, the side effects so far seem to be minimal.

However, the research behind psychedelics and depression treatment is still in its infancy, and again, it has not been proven to be superior to ECT for those who haven’t responded to multiple medication trials.

While all of these other forms of treatment seem promising, ECT has been around the longest, providing more opportunity for the procedure to be tested, tweaked, and perfected. To learn more about ECT and other effective treatments for mental health conditions, reach out to us today.

Political Stress and Anxiety: What’s Normal?

It goes without saying that 2020 brought us to the culmination of much political unrest and violence under the Trump presidency and the recent election that had us all on our toes. Not to mention an ongoing and deadly pandemic that has taken the lives and jobs of millions.

With so much that has happened over the past year alone, it’s expected to feel an undue amount of stress, uncertainty, a decline in physical health, and even depression as the state of our nation and politics hang in the balance. In fact, according to a recent survey by the American Psychology Association (APA), you’re not alone.

But how much stress, anxiety, and depression is normal, considering the circumstances? And when will these feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression end?

To understand the cloud of stress we’re under due to our current political climate and how you can cope, keep reading.

Politics Are Bad for Your Health

Political conflict has indeed taken its toll on our country as political views can be incredibly divisive, causing disagreements with close friends and family as well as acquaintances and even complete strangers. It suffices to say that when it comes to politics, people don’t generally like to “agree to disagree.”

Additionally, with so many changes taking place and the civil unrest we’re facing, there’s a lot of uncertainty in terms of our future as a nation and as individuals trying to move forward in life with the plans we had in place before they all came tumbling down.

Moreover, it’s not just you and I who are stressed. America’s youth has been coping with stress and anxiety since the 2016 presidential election. Ongoing surveys conducted between the age groups of 14 and 24 have found that the majority of America’s youth has been experiencing physical and emotional distress due to our current politics.

This stress has manifested as difficulty concentrating, insomnia, exhaustion, overeating, depression, anxiety, and fear. Young people are falling behind in school, are unable to focus, and are scared for their safety.

These feelings are largely attributed to the fear of potential discrimination. Because of their race, religion, sexual preference, identification, or skin color, there is immense concern for not “having as many opportunities in the future” because of these things, as well as extreme worry for their physical safety.

During the first year of the Trump administration, healthcare, LGBTQ rights, women’s rights, immigration, and indigenous and people of color became targets of political change. Not to mention the Black Lives Matter protests, which began in the name of police brutality and aimed to seek a peaceful resolution to end racial profiling, discrimination, and abuse from the authorities.

How Much is Too Much Political Stress?

As of right now, between our politics and the pandemic, it’s perfectly normal to feel however you need to feel. It’s okay if you didn’t want to get out of bed today, and it’s okay if you find yourself crying and eating comfort foods more than usual.

This is especially true if you don’t normally experience stress and anxiety related to current events. However, while it’s quite normal to feel a higher level of emotions right now, you must remember not to unpack and live in this moment.

These uncertain times have also brought about underlying issues for some, exacerbating symptoms of anxiety, PTSD, depression, and so on. Whether you find yourself simply feeling overwhelmed or have been battling with poor mental health conditions for some time, we’re here to help.

Don’t let political unrest rule your life. Reach out to us to learn more about the services we offer and how we can help you get through these uncertain times.

Social Media and Self-Esteem

What was once a social platform for college students erupted into the primary way of communication and public sharing for the world.

Various social media platforms, especially Facebook and Instagram, have become exponentially popular over the past several years. They have become incredibly influential community sources for world news, dating, advice, business product and service marketing, shopping, cancel culture, politics, entertainment, and much more.

Of course, they’ve also become a public platform to discuss every topic imaginable – and worse, a point of comparison between ourselves and the images that others post for recognition.

These are the very things that can cause social media to negatively impact yourself-esteem. Read on to learn more about how social media may be hurting your self-esteem and causing your feelings of depression.

Is Social Media Hurting Your Self-Esteem?

While social media can support the cultivation of friendships, it’s also directly linked to self-esteem and life satisfaction. This is especially true for younger generations.

This is largely because people only post their “highlights,” as in, the best-looking photos of themselves, the “cool” activities they’re doing, their cute outfits, expensive vacations and dinners, relationships, successes, accomplishments, and so on.

It used to be that dangerously unrealistic standards were left up to the beauty and fashion magazines, featuring photoshopped celebrities, and models. Now, we have our very own peers setting the stage for what’s socially acceptable and beautiful. Not many people post their struggles or not-so-pretty photos, which only perpetuates these unrealistic standards for success, happiness, and beauty.

There’s also the validation factor caused by the incoming stream of “likes” and comments from other users each time you post a photo. While it’s perfectly normal to gain a self-esteem boost from such positive reactions, after a while, many people start to crave such validation, and it begins to affect how we value ourselves.

As we spend more time on social media scrolling through these “real people” with their beauty, perfect bodies, and perfect lives, we begin to compare ourselves and our own lives, which leaves us feeling inadequate.

Social Media, COVID, and Depression

While many of us enjoy staying connected and scrolling through our feeds for the latest updates and funny memes to share, multiple studies show that excessive social media useis invariably linked to feelings of anxiety, depression, loneliness, isolation, and more.

Human beings are naturally social creatures. We depend on companionship to survive andthrive, which means the strength of our social bonds with other humans directly affects our mental health and happiness.

On the outside, it would seem that social media platforms that allow us to connect with others on a global scale would ease our stresses and anxieties, thereby increasing our happiness and state of mental health.

However, social media is not a replacement for real-world human connection. We require in-person contact to trigger the hormones that alleviate stress and bring positivity into our lives.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, most of us have relied on social media as our outlet for updates on the pandemic, peer support, and entertainment. Unfortunately, it has also led us to habitual excessive social media use, which studies show is actually making us more depressed.

Is it Time for a Social Media Break?

Although it may seem difficult, especially after months of lock-down and isolation, it’s time to practice the art of the “social media break.” In other words, it’s time to cut back on excessive social media use by limiting our exposure to these virtual platforms to form newer and healthier habits.

Of course, excessive social media use could also be a sign of an underlying problem, such as depression. If this is the case, that excessive use can also be exacerbating the problem. If taking a social media break doesn’t help your mental health, there may be something we can do.

Contact us to learn more about our mental health services or to schedule an appointment.

Triggers for Mania

Somewhere around 2.3 million Americans have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, which is approximately 1% of the population. However, it is believed that the number exceeds this due to undiagnosed and underdiagnosed individuals within the United States.

Bipolar disorder comes with inherent “mood episodes” that often seem random and uncontrollable to those on the outside. These episodes can be triggered by a very wide range of identifiable (and unidentifiable) phenomenon, which can be hard to manage for those caring for a loved one suffering from this specific mental health disorder.

In this article, we’re going to dive into the triggers for the mania associated with bipolar disorder, so you can help your loved one cope and find ways to achieve mental health stability.

Understanding Mania and its Triggers

Bipolar disorder, which was formerly referred to as manic depression, is largely misunderstood due to the surrounding negative stigmas attached to mental health disorders in general.

In short, bipolar disorder is a “mood disorder,” as manic episodes can range from hypomania to manic—the less extreme to the extreme mood swings. Each manic episode could be an expression of euphoria, high levels of energy, or severe irritability, listlessness, and depressive states.

These mood swings can affect an individual’s sleep, energy levels, interest in activities, judgment, behaviors, and ability to think clearly. They can be a rare occurrence or a frequent occurrence, and they affect everyone differently.

Most importantly, if you’re caring for someone with bipolar disorder or close to someone with the condition, it’s important to become educated on the triggers that can cause it. That way, you don’t become a potential trigger, and you can help them avoid such triggers in everyday affairs—including social situations.

Let’s take a look at the common triggers of bipolar mania.

Sleep Disturbances

Research has shown that the most common trigger for episodes of mania is sleep loss. This can be in the form of sleep disturbances, disruption, jet lag, and an inconsistent sleep schedule.

Sleep disturbances rarely cause episodes of hypomania, but it does happen—particularly in individuals with bipolar I. Regardless of the type of bipolar disorder, women are more likely than men to experience mood episodes due to improper sleep.

Negative and Positive Life Events

Negative life events that cause undue stress, such as personal conflicts, job loss, relationship loss, death of a loved one, and many more, can have serious psychiatric consequences. Negative life events are often associated with the emergence of depressive episodes as they can exacerbate existing depression leading to mania as a “flight” response to what’s happening.

In the same sense, positive life events such as goal attainment, falling in love, or winning an award, can also trigger an episode of mania. This is because individuals with bipolar disorder have a higher “reward response” chemically speaking, which can manifest with consequences.

Substance Use and Abuse

Drug and alcohol use, including cannabis use, are well-known mania triggers. This is because substances of all kinds affect the delicate neurochemical balance that exists within our brains. This chemical balance is even more delicate for individuals with bipolar disorder.

This would include prescription medications, particularly antidepressants and corticosteroids, which is why doctors generally advise against them.

Seasonal Changes

Seasonal changes often bring on what is called the “winter blues” for most people. However, they can also have a significant impact on those with bipolar disorder as a lack of sunlight can exacerbate the already existing condition.

At the same time, the elation we feel as summertime rolls around can also cause hypomania in these same individuals. Unfortunately, these triggers are nearly unavoidable, which is why it’s important to ensure that your loved one maintains a consistent schedule of taking care of themselves via exercise, healthy eating, and regulated sleep.

Pay Attention to the Signs of Mania

Bipolar disorder and its inherent mania is a lifelong condition. However, it is manageable with proper self-care, awareness of the signs and triggers of mania, and a well-thought-out treatment plan.

We can help with that. Reach out to us today to get yourself or your loved one help.

PTSD Not Just For Veterans?

Whenever we hear the term post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), we often associate it with veterans who have served our country and their state of mind after coming home from overseas.

However, PTSD isn’t an exclusive side effect of having experienced trauma in the military context. According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), roughly 8% of Americans are affected by PTSD at some point in their lives, and many of them have zero military exposure.

While any type of trauma can lead to PTSD, some are more common. The assumption that only veterans experience PTSD causes delays in symptom recognition and treatment, thereby prolonging an individual’s pain and suffering.

Anyone who had a traumatic experience can develop PTSD. Keep reading to learn more.

Defining PTSD

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a psychiatric disorder that occurs in individuals who have witnessed or experienced a traumatic event. As we mentioned above, several types of trauma can lead to the development of PTSD aside from exposure to war and combat while serving.

These very common traumas include:

  • Sexual assault and abuse
  • Serious accidents and injuries
  • Acts of terrorism
  • Acts of violence, such as abuse, muggings, robberies, receiving death threats, etc.
  • Natural disasters

While many of these things do occur during military service, PTSD doesn’t just affect those who served. PTSD can happen to anyone that has experienced an emotionally traumatic moment.

For example, a child witnessing a parent being abused or experiencing violent abuse themselves will likely develop PTSD at some point in their lives.

Moreover, women are twice as likely as men to develop PTSD, and there are specific ethnic groups – Latinos, African Americans, Asians, and Native Americans – who develop PTSD at higher rates than non-Latinos and white Americans.

The Signs and Symptoms of PTSD

Individuals experiencing PTSD often have very intense, disturbing thoughts and feelings that are directly related to their traumatic experience. These thoughts and emotions tend to last long after the traumatic event has passed, manifesting as flashbacks or nightmares, feelings of sadness, anger, or fear, and becoming detached or estranged from other people in their lives.

Individuals who have PTSD are more likely to avoid situations or people that remind them of these traumatic events. They may also exhibit extreme, adverse reactions to things that would otherwise seem normal to us, such as a loud noise or an accidental touch. It also usually goes hand-in-hand with anxiety, depression, insomnia, and sometimes even self-harm.

Becoming Aware of PTSD

It’s very common to belittle our own traumatic experiences, especially if they don’t match the violence and utter disturbances we see on television, in the media, or what our loved ones may have gone through.

However, comparing your experiences to someone else’s only buries your awareness of PTSD and its symptoms, which can lead to even worse mental health conditions.

If you or someone close to you has been through a traumatic event and exhibits any of the signs and symptoms of PTSD, it’s time to become aware. PTSD is treatable, and we can help. Contact us today to learn more about the mental health services we offer.

Suicide Hotlines Explained

Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States, and it does not discriminate, which is why suicide prevention hotlines exist.

However, most people don’t understand how suicide hotlines work. Additionally, many people feel ashamed to call one or aren’t sure whether they should call 911 instead.

In this article, we’re going to clear up what constitutes a 911 emergency situation and how suicide hotlines work to keep individuals safe. Read on to learn more.

How Do Suicide Hotlines Work?

Suicide hotlines, such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255), is a toll-free hotline to call when individuals feel distressed or are thinking about harming themselves.

While suicide is, in fact, an emergency situation, it can often be averted. That’s why these types of hotlines exist. They offer emotional support and give individuals in crisis an outlet to talk to a trained professional. Of course, each situation is different; therefore, no two conversations will be the same.

The most important thing to understand about calling a suicide hotline is that each can connect you to a trained crisis counselor 24/7. Everything remains confidential, and there is no time limit to how long you can speak with a crisis counselor.

However, confidentiality is only given to a certain extent. While crisis counselors are trained in collaborative problem solving, they may call emergency services, without consent, if the individual is threatening to harm themselves. But first, the crisis counselor will do everything in their power to come up with a safety plan to talk the individual down before that happens.

Moreover, suicide hotlines act as the epicenter of mental health resources. They can offer specific emotional support by connecting individuals with an adequately trained counselor for the situation (for example, LGBQT+, veteran support, abuse, etc.). They can refer individuals to more long-term solutions, such as local mental health services.

Regardless of the outcome, when you call a suicide hotline, there will be a trained and caring individual ready to listen to you without judgment. They’ll provide you with the necessary emotional support and mental health resources, and make sure you feel supported, heard, and seen.

You can also call a suicide prevention hotline to learn more about supporting a family member or friend in crisis. The crisis counselors will offer guidance on how to talk to your loved ones, provide mental health resources, and help you develop a step-by-step plan to help the individual in need.

Can You Call 911 for Suicidal Thoughts?

The short answer is yes. You can call 911 if you’re having suicidal thoughts, having a mental health crisis, or witnessing someone experiencing a mental health crisis. However, emergency service protocols are much different compared to those of a suicide prevention hotline.

When you call 911 for a suicide-related emergency, the police and other emergency services are dispatched to perform a wellness check. If you disclose that you’re having suicidal thoughts or there’s reason to believe you will harm yourself, they will bring you to the nearest mental health facility where you’ll be evaluated and possibly hospitalized.

After further evaluation by a mental health professional, you’ll likely be referred to an outpatient or inpatient behavioral therapy program. They’ll also try to involve your support network, i.e., friends and family if possible, and take the time to discuss all your options.

It’s important to note that if you’re witnessing an individual attempting to harm themselves, it’s imperative that you call 911 immediately. If the individual is not actively trying to harm themselves but making threats, calling a suicide prevention hotline should be your first step.

988 Is the New 911 for Mental Health Emergencies

With a 30% increase in national suicide rates, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has been pushed to create a special emergency hotline: 988. This new hotline will be available on July 16, 2022.

By dialing 988, individuals in crisis or witnessing someone else in a mental health crisis can call this dedicated hotline to seek emergency help instead of 911. Not only will this new hotline free up 911 emergency services, but it can route individuals to over 100 different crisis centers for a fast response.

A service like this also takes away the stigma of seeking emergency help for mental health emergencies, which will likely decrease the country’s overall suicide rates.

 Every situation involving thoughts of suicide is an emergency, and no individual should feel ashamed of their mental health. If you or someone you love is experiencing a mental health crisis, please don’t hesitate to call a suicide prevention hotline or 988—and in a dire emergency, 911.

If you’re looking for the support of mental health professionals, contact us. We offer a range of professional mental health services at an affordable cost.

Celebrities with Mental Health Issues


Did you know that at least one in five adults in the United States have a mental illness? That’s roughly 51.5 million adults across the nation!

Despite those large numbers, however, many people are ashamed of their anxiety, depression, overwhelming feelings of sadness, and trauma. That’s why, if you or someone you care about have a mental illness, no matter how great or small, you’re not alone.

In fact, many of our favorite celebrities are battling and overcoming mental illness in the public eye. They are even opening up about it to destigmatize the negative aura surrounding mental health issues.

Here’s a list of some of the most recognized household names, who are unfortunately experiencing the same feelings you might be experiencing:

Prince Harry

Nearly two decades following his mother’s death (the beloved Princess Diana), Prince Harry came close to having a mental health crisis. In 2017, he opened up during an interview with The Telegraph, admitting that he experienced severe anxiety during royal events during that time.

He also confesses that he saw a mental health professional, which helped him get to a better place.

Demi Lovato

Demi Lovato is one of the more outspoken celebrities known to advocate for mental illness after a rough battle with bulimia, bipolar disorder, and drug addiction.

She even recently produced a mental health documentary, “Beyond Silence,” giving a detailed view of her struggles and her road to recovery.

Chris Evans

One of the less vocal but still truthful celebrities dealing with mental illness is Chris Evans. Back in 2016, the Captain America star mentioned in an interview with Rolling Stone Magazine about his social anxiety.

He admitted that walking the red carpet was much like walking on hot coals, and he’s tried multiple methods, including meditation, to help calm his mind. While meditation has helped, he still experiences this anxiety today.

Kendrick Lamar

We don’t often view rappers as anything but fierce. However, Kendrick Lamar revealed his struggles with depression and suicidal thoughts lyrically in one of his recent albums, “To Pimp a Butterfly.”

During an MTV interview, he discussed how the survivor’s guilt from losing his closest friends led to depression.

Chrissy Teigen

We all know that Chrissy Teigen is anything but quiet. But, when she opened up about her mental health regarding experiencing postpartum depression, mothers everywhere felt seen and heard.

While Chrissy Teigen isn’t the only celebrity to open up about postpartum depression, she was among the first to publicly speak about it, paving the way for a much bigger conversation and for mothers everywhere to seek professional support after childbirth.

Jim Carey

Jim Carey is notorious for making his fans laugh out loud. Sometimes, however, it’s the person that’s always smiling and making others feel good who is feeling terrible on the inside.

Jim Carey admitted to experiencing depression and to taking fluoxetine (Prozac) to help. Eventually, he decided to get off the medication by implementing lifestyle modifications, despite the difficulty involved.

There are many more celebrities struggling with mental illness. There are even more non-celebrities suffering as well. The silver lining is that everyone is beginning to open up about their mental health, which is an essential step in getting rid of the stigma surrounding “needing help.”

Remember, your mental health illness doesn’t have to be severe to warrant professional help. Everyone deserves to live a happy and healthy life, so if you’re experiencing and signs or symptoms of a mental health illness, no matter how mild, reach out to us today. Elevate Psychiatry specializes in a variety of professional and affordable mental health services.

Seasonal Affective Disorder

We all get down or have the blues from time to time. For some of us, it’s seasonal or situational. For others, it’s consistent, lasting all year round, and affecting our daily routine.

Here’s the thing about depression: it can take on different forms. It can also be difficult to pin down what an individual is feeling, why he or she is having symptoms, and what it all means. The most common forms of depression include the holiday blues, seasonal affective disorder, and major depressive disorder.

In this article, we’re going to give you an overview of all three and how they’re connected. Read on to learn more!

What We Mean By the ‘Holiday Blues’

You’ve likely heard of or have experienced the holiday blues at some point in your life. The holiday blues are marked by feelings of sadness, anxiety, loneliness, and depression throughout the holiday season, typically November through January.

Even people who genuinely love the holidays can experience the holiday blues to various extents. This is because the holidays are a rather stressful and demanding time, not to mention they can be incredibly exhausting.

The most common symptom of the holiday blues is sadness, whether it’s persistent or recurring. It also ranges in intensity and duration. For example, an individual can experience the holiday blues in waves, going through a period of sadness followed by feeling upbeat and happy.

Being affected by the holiday blues doesn’t necessarily mean that an individual has depression or a mental health disorder. It’s not even recognized as a formal mental health condition by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V).

However, individuals who have a mental health condition tend to be more prone to experiencing the holiday blues. Up to 64% of people with a diagnosed mental illness have reported that the holidays put a strain on their condition.

Additionally, the holiday blues could also be an early symptom of seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which is itself a form of major depressive disorder (MDD).

The holiday blues and SAD can be a bit difficult to distinguish from one another but are often characterized by their severity and duration. So, if the holiday season has passed and you or someone you love is still experiencing feelings of sadness, anxiety, etc., it’s a good idea to get a mental health professional’s opinion.

Seasonal Affective Disorder Vs. Major Depressive Disorder

While SAD is a form of MDD, one does not characterize the other. SAD is a type of depression related to the changes in season. It begins and ends roughly around the same time each year, usually during the fall and winter months, ending by springtime. However, it can also be triggered during the spring and summer months, although this is less common.

The symptoms of SAD are much more severe compared to the holiday blues. They’re also much more persistent, whereas the holiday blues are marked by waves of sadness and happiness.

MDD, on the other hand, is what mental health professionals also refer to as clinical depression. While SAD can be a stepping stone towards a significant decline of an individual’s mental health, MDD is much more persistent and severe in its symptoms than SAD. For example, the symptoms of MDD don’t go away once spring arrives; instead, they last all year round.

The severity of the symptoms between SAD and MDD can overlap and make the duration of the signs a defining factor between them.

Regardless of which form of depression you or someone you love may be experiencing, it’s always a good idea to seek the support of a mental health professional. No one should have to endure periods of sadness, anxiety, loneliness, or depression without support.

That’s what we’re here for. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you take care of your mental health throughout every season

Herbal Remedies to Improve Mental Health

Herbal remedies have been used for various ailments, including mental health disorders, since the beginning of time. While modern medicine has done its part in alleviating symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even ADHD, prescription medications tend to come with some unwanted side effects.

Today, many individuals are beginning to look for more natural means of long-term support for their mental health and wellness. That includes exploring traditional uses of herbs and supplements as they are used in practices such as Ayurveda.

In this article, we’re going to discuss some of the most popular herbs and extracts that have the potential to treat some of the most common mental health disorders. Read on to learn more.

St. John’s Wort for Depression

St. John’s Wort has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine to mitigate the body’s balance, ease inflammation, and alleviate sore muscles. Outside of Ayurvedic medicine, St. John’s Wort has been used traditionally to lift individuals’ mood, relieve muscle cramps, and stop convulsions.

Now, there’s ample research showing that the bright yellow flowers of the shrub have therapeutic benefits that can treat mild cases of depression.

St. John’s Wort contains several chemicals, with the most prominent ones being hypericin and hyperforin. Both hypericin and hyperforin act on the brain’s neurotransmitters that affect and regulate mood in those suffering from depression.

Additionally, St. John’s Wort is also effective at alleviating depression-related symptoms such as fatigue, nervousness, and insomnia.

Passionflower Extract for Anxiety

Passionflower extract, which comes from the passiflora incarnata, has been used traditionally by the indigenous Peruvians and Native Americans to treat wounds, aches, liver problems, and more. In Europe, the flower has been used to calm those with restlessness.

According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), more research is needed to assess and verify the flower’s ability to treat certain mental health conditions. However, various studies have suggested that certain species of the Passionflower may help relieve anxiety and insomnia. In one study, Passionflower extract was equivalent to the benzodiazepine oxazepam.

Various trials have shown that participants drinking a daily dose of Passionflower herbal tea for up to seven days saw improvement in their sleep quality and overall feelings of calmness. Aside from anxiety-related symptoms, other species of Passionflower have shown potential for treating stomach issues.

Korean Red Ginseng for ADHD

Korean Red Ginseng, also referred to as Panax Ginseng, is well-regarded as a natural, total-body health supplement. It has been used as an ancient medicine throughout Asia to strengthen the immune system, fight off disease, and promote relaxation. Other variants of the root have also been used to treat diabetes, erectile dysfunction (ED), high blood pressure, and more.

A clinical study from 2011 Showed promising results for Korean Red Ginseng as a treatment for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The study monitored 18 participants between the ages of 6 and 14 diagnosed with ADHD for up to eight weeks and was found to be equivalent to methylphenidate (Ritalin), as measured by quantitative EEG.

During this time, the participants were given 1,000 milligrams twice daily of the Korean Red Ginseng. The results showed improvement in the participants’ feelings of anxiety, sleep quality, overall behavior, and social functioning.

Getting to the Root of the Disorder

While natural herbal remedies such as St. John’s Wort, Passionflower, and Korean Red Ginseng may bring most individuals relief from their mental health disorders, it’s important to note that they’re not miracle cures. Studies and clinical trials are still ongoing to measure the potential of these herbs and their long-term effects—both positive and negative.

Additionally, if you or someone you love is currently battling a mental health disorder, it’s critical to speak with a physician before adding any of these herbal supplements to your daily regimen—especially if you’re already taking prescription medication.

It’s also important to seek the appropriate help to get to the root of your mental health disorders. At Elevate Psychiatry, we can help you with that. Contact us today to learn more about the accessible services we offer or to book an appointment.