Facts to Know
Depression is a complex, debilitating condition that affects the brain, mind, and body.
Depression can result in persistently low mood, loss of interest, poor sleep and other symptoms.
- Depression can be treated effectively with therapy and/or medications.
What is depression?
The exact cause of depression is not known. We do know that depression causes changes in the brain which are observed at the neurological level and also that difficult life circumstances (such as loss of a loved one, divorce, or loss of a job) can contribute to the onset of depression. Depression is quite common, occurring in about 15-20% of people at some point over the course of their lives. It is more common in women and those with a family history of depression or other mood disorder.
Depression is different in each person. Generally, 5 or more of the following symptoms are present for most of the day for 2 weeks or longer.
- Persistently low, sad, or irritable mood
- Loss of interest in activities that once were pleasurable
- Changes in sleep patterns, either difficulty with sleeping or sleeping too much
- Decreased ability to concentrate
- Fatigue or low energy
- Strong and persistent feelings of guilt or hopelessness
- Change in appetite, either decreased interest in eating or increased eating
- Marked slowness in movement or marked increase in movement
- Thoughts about death, dying or suicide.*
A diagnosis of depression is best made by a doctor or mental health professional such as a therapist. That said, screening tools like a PHQ-9 or QIDS can identify if you might benefit from meeting with a therapist or psychiatrist to help with diagnosis.
At ColumbiaDoctors, we provide a full array of treatments for depression. Search our providers for a therapist or psychiatrist who specializes in depression and may be a good fit for you.
Psychotherapy is an evidence-based treatment for depression. Our therapists and psychiatrists are trained in the latest therapy modalities and can help you determine if therapy is right for you. In many cases, depression can be successfully treated with psychotherapy alone.
In cases of moderate to severe depression, medications may be an important component to treating depression. Here at ColumbiaDoctors, our psychiatrists combine a thorough evaluation of each individual’s problems with the latest research to design a customized treatment plan.
Advances in the field have led to new discoveries for people with either severe depression or a depression that has not fully improved using traditional medications. In these instances, a consultation with one of our experts can help determine if Electro-Convulsive Therapy, Ketamine infusions, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, or Deep Brain Stimulation may be indicated to help treat depression.
*If you are having serious thoughts about ending your life, please call 911 or present to your nearest emergency room for immediate treatment.
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