What is Depression?
Depression is a common mood disorder that can negatively affect one’s feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. An estimated 7% of the adult population and 8% of teens in this country suffer from some type of depression. Severity and specific experiences differ from person to person, but for most, symptoms include: feelings of sadness, tearfulness, anxiety, agitation, problems with sleeping too much or too little, a loss of interest in pleasurable activities, or a change in appetite. If left untreated, depression can worsen and is often accompanied by thoughts and feelings that life is not worth living.
What causes depression?
Like anxiety, depression is complex and can be caused by various factors, including: genetic vulnerability, brain chemistry, stressful life events, medical problems, hormone imbalances (as with postpartum depression) and relationship problems. Researchers have identified genes that make individuals more susceptible to the depression.
How do The Clinic’s doctors treat depression?
After a thorough evaluation, our doctors work with each patient to develop an individualized treatment plan, often utilizing multiple modalities that are in line with the patient’s goals and values. These may include:
- Psychotherapy. Sometimes called “talk therapy,” treatment can involve discussing your current experience and exploring techniques shown to relieve depression during your appointment and sometimes trying various strategies between sessions to see if your mood improves. Psychotherapy is often effective on its own, especially in treating moderate depression.
- Medication management. More choices in antidepressant medications are available than ever before. Finding the right one – or combination – requires an experienced psychiatrist with extensive knowledge about medications and their potential side effects. A large number of our patients benefit from a dual approach of medication and psychotherapy or medication and cognitive behavioral therapy. Recent scientific discoveries have led to a new understanding of how a person’s genes impact how their body and mind respond to medication. Pharmacogenetic analyses allow our psychiatrists to tailor treatment to the individual patient, an approach that has been shown to yield faster improvement with fewer side effects. The Clinic’s psychiatry team employs a cutting edge, economical and seamless approach to pharmacogenetics. DNA is captured with a simple cheek swab conducted in one of our offices. The sample is then sent for analysis and results are typically available within 1 week, allowing your provider to choose the best medication for your body.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). This is a collaborative therapy process in which your doctor help you recognize and examine the thought patterns and behaviors that often underlie depression. Together, you may explore behaviors that are more in line with your authentic goals and values and come up with practical coping techniques to help you move through your life with a greater sense of ease and well-being. CBT is designed to be a short-term therapy and the goal is to give you what you need to thrive.
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