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.
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.
When a depression has not responded to at least two more traditional medication treatments, we call this treatment-resistant depression. Advances in the field have led to new discoveries for people with treatment-resistant and severe depressions. In these instances, a consultation with one of our experts can help determine if Ketamine infusions, Electro-Convulsive Therapy, or Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation may be indicated to help treat depression in your case.
How Can I Receive Treatment for Depression at Columbia?
At ColumbiaDoctors, we provide a full array of treatments for depression.
Symptoms of depression can at times negatively impact academic/occupational functioning. If you believe you or your child’s symptoms are interfering with daily functioning, a neuropsychological evaluation may be warranted.
Search our providers for a therapist or psychiatrist with expertise in depression.
To make an appointment, please call 212-305-6001 or submit our online form.
*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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