Unfortunately, suicide victims are a fairly regular feature here at Martin Oaks Cemetery & Crematory. Based on purely anecdotal evidence, we tend to agree with research findings on this subject – suicide rate among young people has increased dramatically. We also believe the other major scientific research finding: untreated depression appears to truly increase the risk of suicide.
Currently, it is estimated there are some 16 million Americans (almost 7% of the population) who suffer from clinical depression, i.e. serious depression. This number is huge – consider that it is estimated that depression costs the U.S. economy $210 billion in lost productivity.
So, what are the major symptoms of depression? There are multiple general categories of these symptoms: mood shifts; sleep disturbances; behavioral changes; thought disorders; changes in appetite; and weight changes. While these are broad categories, specific symptoms within these categories can be quite focused. For example, mood changes can run from anxiety, apathy, hopelessness, and sadness… a whole array of differential behaviors. Sleep issues can include insomnia, waking early, excessive sleepiness, or restless sleep. Thought issues encompass lack of concentration, extreme slowness, or just plain thoughts of suicide. Weight problems include both rapid gains and losses. Fatigue and hunger are also possible somatic indicators of bigger issues.
What are the causes of depression? Again, there are a vast number of possible causal issues – genetics (family history of depression), serious conflicts, sudden death of a loved one, past physical abuse, unregulated medication, normal life-cycle events gone awry, substance abuse, or serious illness are among these possibilities.
What we have covered above is for general purposes of discussion – this is a complicated subject that has generated an incredible amount of research with literally countless theories behind it (far too many for the purposes of discussion in this blog).
What are the best treatment options for depression? Primarily, a combination of some form of psychotherapy and medication for depression appear to be the best avenues for recovery. Some feel that cognitive behavioral therapy – work focused primarily on modifying behaviors, thoughts, and emotional responses – is most effective. Other experts disagree with this.
In terms of medications, it has been 30 years since the scientific community has had a drug breakthrough with any new significantly effective anti-depressants. That is unfortunate because it is estimated that some 30% of those suffering from clinical depression find no relief from their condition through medication. Strikingly familiar names of major drugs include Zoloft, Lexapro, Paxil, Prozac, and Effexor.
A new relatively new drug is on the horizon: Ketamine. The subject of a recent TIME Magazine article, Ketamine, has yet to be researched enough to truly understand it’s broad effectiveness; but small samples of research indicate that it may have some very positive possibilities.
What is Ketamine? Put quite simply, it is an anesthetic drug which blocks pain. Unfortunately, the down side of this drug is that it sometimes makes the user feel detached from his or her own body – hence the reason it has been used as a party drug, going by the nickname of “Special K.” Another potential downside of the drug is that it can become addictive. Research, which is slated to be completed next year at Stanford, is focused on this particular downside of the drug.
While there are a myriad of questions to be answered about Ketamine, one thing researchers know for certain: unlike antidepressants, which can take weeks to become effective, Ketamine can have an impact within a few hours. Much promise, but much study is still required.
Needless to say, if a loved one exhibits any symptoms of depression, we would strongly suggest that those symptoms be taken seriously.
Martin Oaks is not in the position of offering professional advice in this area, but given the number of suicides that we see, it only makes sense to use common sense when encountering any behavior which resembles depression. If you have any questions about our direct cremation in Lewisville or any crematory services contact us as we can help you with getting things started.