Depression Should Not Be Ignored - From Maesk Group Counseling in Fort Lauderdale

Signs of Depression in Adults

PLEASE NOTE: this list is NOT intended to diagnose or treat you.  Contact Maesk Group Counseling for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Most people get “the blues” sometimes that last a day or two. However, Major Depressive Disorder is a SERIOUS and often FATAL illness that occurs in approximately 6.7 percent of US adults. Medications can be helpful, but come with side effects that many people cannot tolerate. Medications will NOT cure the mistaken belief system causing the depression.

 Without talk therapy to both uncover the root cause of the depression and learn ways to manage it, depression can persist despite medication. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT, can help you uncover the beliefs you carry about life without even knowing it. These beliefs often contribute to depression below your level of awareness. Once uncovered, I can help you face and refute the irrational thoughts and replace them with healthy, logical thoughts.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms on a frequent or daily basis, please contact me for a full professional evaluation:

1. sadness

2. pessimism

3. feeling like a failure

4. loss of pleasure

5. guilty feelings

6. punishment feelings

7. self-dislike

8. self-criticalness

9. suicidal thoughts or a sense of, It would be better if I  weren’t here*

10. crying, or unable to cry anymore

11. feeling agitated

12. no interest

13. hard to decide things

14. feeling worthless

15. no energy

16. sleep issues

17. irritable

18. appetite changes, up or down

19. can't concentrate

20. fatigue

21. no sexual interest

(Adapted from the Beck Depression Inventory)

Taking that step to call me for an appointment is hard, but can be the best decision you ever make.

*IF YOU ARE FEELING SUICIDAL, CALL THE SUICIDE HOTLINE AT 1-800-273-8255 OR 911 IMMEDIATELY!

From Maesk Counseling Fort Lauderdale - Emotional Support Animals (ESA)

Maesk Group Counseling provides Emotional Support Animal (ESA) evaluations.  It is well documented through research that pets provide benefit to people suffering from anxiety, depression, PTSD, insomnia and many other conditions.  Having an ESA prescription letter allows you to have your pet in no-pets housing, and allows you to travel with your pet in the cabin of airlines at no additional cost.

There are other details/benefits.  Feel free to contact the office to schedule your consultation.

***THE LAWS IN FLORIDA WILL BE CHANGING SOON! IT IS IMPORTANT TO GET YOUR ESA EVALUATION NOW!***

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From Maesk Counseling in Fort Lauderdale - Depression is Serious

I posted this once before, but it’s a good time to read this again.

Depression has a way of creeping up on you. Before you know it, it’s got you. The good news is that there is help available. There is no shame in seeking help.

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Untreated depression is a threat to your mental and physical health

Depression creates chaos in the entire body by throwing the stress response system out of alignment. The risk of heart disease, osteoporosis, diabetes and cancer are all raised as normal immune function is disturbed by anxiety, stress and /or depression. Difficult relationships, parenting and work issues all contribute to this situation. 

This post contains my  “prescription” for becoming (and staying) healthy. Basically, here’s what we should all be doing for a healthy, happy lifestyle:

  • Get a yearly physical exam.  Depression and anxiety can be related to thyroid and other issues;

  • Exercise: it relieves stress, raises endorphin levels. It’s even better if you get outside in natural light to exercise;

  • Journaling: research shows it increases hopefulness, releases stress, and calms the brain;

  • Regular Sleep: essential to mood stability and a healthy immune system;

  • A good social or family support system increases longevity and raises immune system function;

  • Professional Therapy: coming for a session BEFORE symptoms are out of hand and regular follow-ups. 

Now maybe you are thinking, well, if I could MAKE myself do all of these things, I’d be fine! What you may not realize is that a mental health provider is trained, licensed and qualified to be a resource to help you do these things. A therapist can be your encourager, your supporter, and your guide in prioritizing and planning your best, healthiest life. 

Therapy helps uncover the roadblocks to your success that exist outside of your awareness. These roadblocks include childhood messages, both told to you and modeled by your parents, and negative experiences that impact your habits to this day. Together we can gently uncover and examine these self-defeating beliefs without shame or judgment. When “the truth sets you free,” you are then able to move forward and achieve new levels of well being.

Maesk Group Counseling is here to help.  Call 954-353-4680 to take that first step.

From Maesk Counseling in Fort Lauderdale - Therapy Timetable?

Lots of people ask: How long will I be in therapy? The short answer is, well, it depends.

There are many factors that determine length of treatment, including the severity of presenting problems, how well someone responds to treatment and various other factors. As a general guideline however, I would say that the average person is in therapy for 3 - 6 months. That’s usually enough time to resolve most immediate concerns and getting you to “feel like you” again. At the beginning of our work together, I will provide you with my best professional estimate of how long to expect to be in treatment. And of course, the treatment plan will be developed in collaboration with you.

Therapy works. There is plenty of clinical evidence to back that up. If you are feeling that therapy might help, then you should probably make that call or send that email to get help. As the Dalai Lama said, “The purpose of life is Happiness.” I agree!

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From Maesk Counseling in Fort Lauderdale - Emotional Support Animals

Maesk Group Counseling provides Emotional Support Animal (ESA) evaluations.  It is well documented through research that pets provide benefit to people suffering from anxiety, depression, PTSD, insomnia and many other conditions.  Having an ESA prescription letter allows you to have your pet in no-pets housing, and allows you to travel with your pet in the cabin on airlines at no additional cost.

There are other details/benefits.  Feel free to contact the office to schedule your consultation.

From Maesk Counseling in Fort Lauderdale - 10 Gifts to Give Yourself This Year

  1. Turn off the TV news for the holiday season.  Instead, light candles and put on music.

  2. Notice even the smallest of your daily accomplishments instead of what you DIDN’T get done. Keep a “success list!” 

  3. Remember that we get what we focus on in life. Focusing on good points in yourself and others will bring MORE of them.

  4. Take a “senses walk” for 20 minutes, 4 times a week. Notice the breath in your lungs, the smell of the air, the change of the seasons. Outdoor light and exercise both stimulate serotonin production, lifting mood.

  5. Take a few minutes daily to “hibernate.” Close your door, remove your shoes, dim the lights, and focus on what makes you happy.

  6. Breathe in to the slow count of four. Hold it four slow counts. Release in four slow counts. Repeat until you feel the muscles relax all over!

  7. Stay aware of your thoughts. 

  8. Don’t take on another person’s bad mood. Guard yourself, removing yourself from their company if necessary.

  9. Find freedom by letting go of criticizing and complaining about yourself or someone else.

  10. If you need to make changes, act NOW. Don’t put off health or happiness! 



From Maesk Counseling in Fort Lauderdale - Get Fit Now!

Great article from American Heart Association News. It’s never too late to get in shape, but don’t put it off too long!

Middle age isn’t too late to get moving and improve your future health. But don’t wait too long. 

Putting it off until well into the 60s could bring exercise benefits, but research has found the reversal of heart damage won’t happen.
 
“If that aging process goes unchecked, you’re unlikely to change the structure of the heart and blood vessels,” said Dr. Benjamin Levine, a sports cardiologist. He’s director of the Institute of Exercise and Environmental Medicine, a collaboration of UT Southwestern Medical Center and Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas.

study(link opens in new window) by Levine’s team published in the journal Circulation in January 2018 sought to find the “sweet spot” in middle age for restoring the elasticity of the heart through exercise. Study participants were in their early 50s on average.

Heart stiffness, a potential precursor to heart failure, decreased for those who engaged in two years of the right kind and right amount of exercise.

Think of the difference between an old, stiff rubber band that’s been sitting in a junk drawer and a new rubber band pulled from a fresh pack, Levine said. The new one is more flexible.

“You stretch them, and they snap back,” he said. “That’s true for the heart and blood vessels as well.”

Participants who took part in a training program of high- and moderate-intensity exercise four to five times per week showed improvement in heart elasticity and in how their bodies used oxygen. 

Levine said exercise each week should break down into these segments:

  • One high-intensity workout, such as an aerobic interval workout that boosts the heart rate for four minutes at a time in several spurts during the session. 

  • An hour-long moderate-intensity workout doing something you find fun, such as tennis, biking, walking or Zumba.

  • Two or three more moderate workouts per week that might make you sweat, but still allows you to talk with someone. 

  • A strength training session.

Getting physically active is one of Life’s Simple 7, measures and actions identified by the American Heart Association as having the most impact on heart health. The others are eating healthy, managing blood pressure, controlling cholesterol, reducing blood sugar, losing weight and quitting smoking.

A Chicago-based study in 2017 using several Life’s Simple 7 metrics found that middle-age people with no major heart disease risk factors lived longer and had more years without chronic illnesses. They also had lower health care costs later in life.

Overall costs of cardiovascular disease in the United States were $555 billion in 2016. By 2035, that number is expected to grow to $1.1 trillion. Heart failure costs alone are more than $30 billion each year nationally.

Heart disease prevention and living a healthier life can be exercise motivators in their own right. Unfortunately, many people “just get overwhelmed by life” by middle age, Levine said.

To make physical activity a priority, he advises making exercise part of your daily routine, like getting dressed or brushing your teeth.

“Exercise needs to be part of your personal hygiene. It’s not something that you just add on,” he said.
 
Walking is an easy, inexpensive and safe way to start an exercise plan in middle age. Cross-training, which avoids performing the same movements day in and day out, can help guard against repetitive stress injuries in joints, Levine said.

There also are outside sources of support, including employee incentive programs that encourage workers to maintain good health like a discounted gym membership. Medicare offers a SilverSneakers(link opens in new window) program that provides free access to gyms and fitness classes.

The key is getting in the exercise habit, especially by late middle age.

“It’s critical to your health,” Levine said. “It can change the structure of your heart and blood vessels. That’s a really powerful tool.”