What is depression?
Depression, or major depressive disorder, is a chronic condition affecting an estimated one in 15 adults in any given year. People who are depressed experience debilitating sadness and a loss of interest in activities they once enjoyed.  There are different types of depression including peripartum, seasonal, and treatment-resistant depression. Depression first appears between the teenage years to mid-20s. Women are more susceptible than men. 

How do I know if I have depression?
It is normal to become sad and this does not mean you are depressed. When the following symptoms continue for at least two weeks, you can be diagnosed with depression.

  • Feeling sad or having a low mood
  • Sleeping too much
  • Losing energy and being really tired
  • Feeling worthless or guilty
  • Having difficulty concentrating and making decisions
  • Thinking about death and/or suicideLosing interest or pleasure in activities you once enjoyed
  • Gaining or losing weight without dieting
  • Change in appetite
  • Trouble sleeping

What is causing my depression?
There are a number of factors that can be causing your depression, from biochemical and genetic, to personality and environmental. Depression often manifests because of an imbalance in brain chemicals. It can run in families so family history is an important factor to look at. Those who are easily overwhelmed, often pessimistic, and have low self-esteem are more likely to experience depression. Environmental factors, such as violence, abuse, poverty, and neglect, can also play a role. If you have a chronic condition, that can be the source of your depression. Some medical conditions can also mimic depression symptoms so a thorough medical exam to rule out these causes is critical.

What treatment is available for depression?
Those with depression benefit from the following treatments:

  • Medication: antidepressants are most commonly prescribed for depression and these help to modify brain chemistry. It can take days or weeks to see a change when on antidepressants. Newly emerging and highly effective medications such as ketamine can alleviate symptoms within minutes.
  • Psychotherapy: talk therapy as it is commonly known can be used by itself to treat mild cases of depression or with medication for more serious cases. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of talk therapy that helps those who battle with depression to address negative, distorted thinking.
  • Ketamine: this is a promising drug for treating treatment-resistant depression. Once used mainly as an anesthetic, ketamine has been found to help prevent suicide and reduce symptoms of depression through its fast acting properties. Many treatments for depression take weeks or months to be effective because the medication has to build up in one’s system in order to alter brain chemistry. With ketamine, patients can experience swift relief with just 1-3 treatments via IV, for example (read more about our ketamine treatments).
  • Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS): this is a safe, FDA-approved treatment available for addressing treatment-resistant depression. Approximately 50-60% of treated patients experience improvement to their condition and 30% undergo a full remission. TMS uses electromagnetic waves to stimulate certain areas of the patient’s brain. This stimulation makes it possible for the brain to rebuild itself so the patient feels fewer symptoms. Side effects with TMS are mild, and patients are able to treat these with over the counter medication (read more about our TMS treatments).
  • Self-management: in addition to the above therapies, those with depression can benefit from self-management strategies that help to elevate one’s mood. This includes getting regular exercise, eating healthy, and avoiding alcohol which is a depressant.

If you are experiencing symptoms of depression, consider making an appointment and speaking with one of our licensed providers. 

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