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Dr. Olsen
Dr. Olsen, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2336
Experience:  PsyD Psychologist
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I have a had problems with depression both due to genetics

Customer Question

I have a had problems with depression both due to genetics and to a very traumatic childhood where I was sexually, mentally, physically abused, and neglected. I am funtional now and have worked hard to be so. I have done therepy and involve myself with faith and prayer. I have every reason to be happy with a good marriage (20 years next month) and four healthy, happy kids, but over the years the depression has worsened. About 4 years ago I finally told my family doctor about the despression. I was diagnosed with SADD. Though it's true that I get worse at the times when SADD is typical here in Alaska, I know I have chronic depression. I didn't tell her this because I do not want to be labeled as a person with mental health issues since I am a pharmacy technician. I have been seeing a counselor recently but mostly about urgent issues having to do with parenting three teens and a 7 year old, setting boundaries and such. I am taking Welbutrin, citrilopram, xanax, vitamin D, and vitamins. (and ambien to sleep), ( Naproxen, singular, and citirizine for joint pain and allergies/asthma). I was never a big drinker but about a year ago I started to drink and it has increased much over the last few months. I am better in the day with the depression and anxiety for the most part, but come afternoon and evening I feel panicky. I pace and get anxious. I feel so depressed at night at times that it is a physical weight. It is as if lead has filled every cell and fiber of my being. I feel unmotivated and kind of just try to get by until the kids go to bed. Then I go to my room at night and cry a lot. I sometimes think of dying, but do not make plans to do so. I am just being honest about those thoughts. My husband is good to me and I talk with him about my feelings and he holds me when I cry. He knows everything I have just told you here. What I want to know is, is there more I can do? Do I need a different medication, do I need rehab for drinking or is the drinking just a symptom of the worsening depression? Is there something better to try for the anxiety? Is there someone you would recommend here in Alaska, or somewhere esle, to get the help I need.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Olsen replied 5 years ago.
Thank you for writing in JustAnswer.
I'm so sorry to hear about your situation.
Let me ask you a few questions first.
Are these medications helping your condition?
Did you lose or increase weight for the last 4 years?
How much do you drink daily ?
Do you have any medical condition?
Please let me know by clicking on “Reply” and I will then craft my response.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Warm Regards,
Expert:  Dr. Olsen replied 5 years ago.
Hi there,
I'll be back with my answer after hearing from you.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

I see you are on eastern standard time. You probably had to call it a night. Sleep well and I look forward to hearing your reply. Thank you very much for such a forum in which to be able to write in this fashion what is in my heart and the annonymity in which to seek help. It means a lot. Blessings, Leslie

Expert:  Dr. Olsen replied 5 years ago.
Hi there,
Thank you for your reply.
I can imagine how sad and anxious this situation must seem to you.
It sounds like you have had symptoms of depression. You were diagnosed as having SAD. So, you live in north Alaska?
You also stated you have genetic vulnerability to depression and had a very traumatic childhood.
You went through a lot. You survived from the abuse. I can see you are resilient and also have lots of courage to work on the trauma.
You have a good marriage and have raised four precious, healthy and happy children.
You think you have had depression for years, which you didn’t tell others. Your doctor diagnosed you as having SAD.
Are these medications helping your condition? It may not a good idea for you to drink alcohol as you are taking these medications. Did you ask your doctor about drinking alcohol? If these medications are not helping you, you may need to tell your doctor.
Yes, drinking alcohol may worsen your depression and anxiety. It’s common for people with depression and anxiety to drink alcohol to excess.
Taking vitamins and weekly counseling are good for your depression.
Do you have any medical condition?
Let me explain: Depression can disrupt the nerve impulses that carry a constant stream of orders from the brain to the muscles. When the depressed brain slows down, so do the signals to all parts of body. Depression affects MEMORY, problem-solving ability, language, perception and is accompanied by nervous tension, anxiety, and profound fatigue. It can generate pain and aches. Medical reasons for Depression may include thyroid hormone abnormality, Vitamin B12 Deficiency, Chronic pain, Stroke (Brain injury), Alzheimer’s disease to name a few. Malnutrition/brain damage can dull mood further. Excessive alcohol use may aggravate depression. Some medication can cause or contribute to depression. Your doctor should know all the medication that you are taking.
First, I would advise you to get a physical check-up from your primary care doctor to detect and rule out any medical condition that may cause or contribute to your feelings of sadness and anxiety.
If you are physically fine, I would advise you to try stress reduction and relaxation techniques. A heart-healthy diet like Omega 3 fatty acid may improve your brain functioning and mood. Focus on fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Choose low-fat protein sources, such as fish, lean meat and skinless poultry. Hydrate yourself during daytime.
Physical activity increases blood flow to your whole body, including your brain. This may help improve your mood. Yoga, acupuncture, and massage therapy may be helpful to improve your mood.
In addition, I would advise you to see a psychologist specializing in Cognitive-behavior therapy for a few months. A combination of psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy are considered to be effective to treat Depression and anxiety. Cognitive-behvaior therapy (CBT) will work for depression and anxiety.
You may ask your doctor for a psychologist that you can work with weekly. Or you may call your insurance company and get a list of providers (licensed psychologists) in your area.
Or, you can search a licensed psychologist on internet- such as the PSYCHOLOGY TODAY website. Go to ( and enter your zip code in Alaska and optional category of specialty such as Depression. Read psychotherapists’ profile to see if he or she specializes in Cognitive-behavior therapy and Depression. You may also want to create your mental image of psychotherapist that you want to work with – Male or female? To note, many therapists offer initial consultation for free. So you can see it as an informational meeting. You can ask any question and negotiate psychotherapy fee.
Regarding pharmacological treatment for depression, a number of antidepressant medications are available to treat depression. Finding the right medication for you will likely take some trial and error. It is necessary for you and your doctor to work together to find the right medication for you.
Additionally, you may benefit from having a support group for women in your area. To find a group therapy or a support group for yourself, contact a local hospital or a clinic by asking if they offer a group for men. If you like to find a support group online, check Mental Health America website section ( - Find a group in your area.
Other recommendations are:
Avoid excess use of alcohol and drugs.
Try to have pleasurable activities with friends and family.
Choose to listen to sounds that have positive effects on your mood.
I hope you get well with all available help.
Please let me know if you have more questions or I have overlooked any. Warm regards,
Dr. Olsen and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Dr. Olsen replied 5 years ago.
Do you have a question?
Feel free to continue if you like.
If satisfied, please remember to click the green ACCEPT button. You do not get charged twice; I will continue to answer your question whenever I am back online; my goal is to get you the best answers possible. If I can be of further help with any issue, just put "for Dr. Olsen" in the front of your new question. All the best, ***** *****
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

I have been tested for low vitamin D levels and thyroid. I was a very marginally borderline on low thyroid and went on a low level levothyroxine. After awhile I was retested and I was normal and told I did not have to continue taking the drug, so I stopped around January or February. I have had a recent physical and am healthy other than the depression issues. I have decided to take steps to listen to as much of your advice as possible. I will see if my insurance carrier will cover accupunture or massage. I will attempt better hydration and include more excercise. I am going to take my pills in the am instead of the afternoon, since the previous days dose is wearing out at that time and may contribute to the afternoon and evening crashes. I will limit alcohol and if I have persistent problems with letting it go get help in accordance with the need. Thank you for your help and your guidance. If you have any additional tips with any of the new information I have just provided I would greatfully appreciate it.

Blessings~ Leslie

Expert:  Dr. Olsen replied 5 years ago.
Hi Leslie,
Thank you for your reply.
I'll be offline all day tomorrow due to my other work.
I'll be back with my additional answer tomorrow night.
Please wait if you can.
Expert:  Dr. Olsen replied 5 years ago.
Hi Leslie,
Thank you for your response.
Yes, please try these stress and relaxation techniques.
Also, take Omega-3 fatty acids (food or supplement)daily.
Sleep by 10 PM and try to take 7-8 hour sleep every day.
Also, some physical/vocal activities that you enjoy may help you feel better. For example, dance, singing, and improv if you feel comfortable.