Depression is a brain disorder, not a passing feeling of sadness. In most people, it gets better with medication, psychotherapy or another treatment.
Signs You Should Get Help for Depression
Depression can be mild, moderate or severe depending on how many symptoms you have and how often you have them. If you have more than one of the following symptoms more days than not, it's time to seek help:
- Lacking interest in activities you used to enjoy
- Feeling sad or hopeless
- Being tired or having little energy
- Not being able to sleep or sleeping too much
- Not wanting to eat or eating too much
- Having bad feelings about yourself
- Having trouble concentrating
- Moving or speaking more slowly than usual, or being more fidgety or restless than usual
- Thinking that you want to hurt yourself or that you would be better off dead
How to Get Help for Depression
- If you've never had a diagnosis of depression: Start by making an appointment with a primary care provider. They can talk with you about your symptoms and recommend next steps. They may refer you to a psychologist (who can provide psychotherapy) or a psychiatrist (who can prescribe medications).
- If you have a diagnosis of depression, or a referral to a psychiatrist or psychologist: Call (312) 942-5375 to make an appointment. If you're not sure whether to see a psychologist or a psychiatrist, we can advise you. (Psychologists generally focus on providing psychotherapy. Psychiatrists generally focus on prescribing medications and medical procedures.)
Depression Treatment at Rush
Our team offers a range of psychotherapy techniques and antidepressants. For people who don't feel better after these standard treatments, we also offer new and innovative options.
Most people with depression feel better with psychotherapy, medications or both. At Rush, you'll have access to the following:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT): The most widely practiced form of psychotherapy, CBT also has the most scientific evidence behind it. It's proven to ease symptoms in the majority of people with depression. Psychologists at Rush specialize in multiple types of CBT.
- Antidepressants: Your primary care provider or your psychiatrist can prescribe antidepressants (medications designed to ease depression symptoms). Some antidepressants may work better for you than others, depending on your symptoms and brain chemistry. Your provider will help find an antidepressant and a dosage that work for you.
If standard treatments don't work for you
Psychologists and psychiatrists at Rush are experts in treatment-resistant depression, or depression that doesn't get better with psychotherapy or antidepressants. We offer treatments proven to ease depression symptoms even after standard treatments haven't worked. These include the following:
- Esketamine (Spravato): This medication, which is taken as a nasal spray, can help some people for whom standard antidepressants don't work.
- Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS): TMS therapy uses magnetic fields to increase activity in the part of your brain that regulates your mood.
- Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT): During an ECT procedure, a device sends an electrical current through your brain. This appears to change brain chemistry in a way that improves symptoms of severe depression. ECT is usually done under anesthesia, so you are asleep and can't feel discomfort.
Rush Excellence in Depression Care
- Experts in treatment-resistant depression: Rush offers treatments that can ease depression even when psychotherapy and antidepressants don't work. For example, we're one of the few health systems with experts in both electoconvulsive therapy (ECT) and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS therapy). We've performed TMS therapy thousands of times — more than any team in Chicago. We're also one of the few health systems to offer esketamine (Spravato). Taken as a nasal spray, esketamine can help with depression even when standard antidepressants haven't worked.
- Therapists who adapt to you: There are several types cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), each designed to help with specific symptoms. Psychologists at Rush have training in all of the major CBT techniques. Whatever symptoms you're dealing with, they'll be able to tailor therapy to your needs.
- Specialized treatment options: Rush has women's mental health care experts who specialize in postpartum depression and depression linked to infertility or sexual trauma. We have geriatric mental health care experts who specialize in depression in people 65 and older. And the Rush Day Hospital provides partial hospitalization for patients with severe depression and other mental health conditions. Whatever you're dealing with, we likely have a team member specially trained to help you with it.
- A team approach: Whoever you meet with first, you'll have access to our whole team's expertise. If your psychiatrist thinks you may benefit from therapy, they'll connect you to a trusted psychologist. If your psychologist thinks you may benefit from medication or a medical procedure, they'll connect you with a trusted psychiatrist.