Depression, a serious brain disorder, is more than just “feeling down” or “blue.” It’s a persistent problem that affects everyday life. Symptoms of depression include the following:
- Loss of interest or pleasure in activities that were once enjoyed
- Weight changes
- Loss of energy
- Feelings of uselessness
- Suicidal thoughts
Depression: what you should know
A variety of factors can cause depression:
- Environmental factors
- Psychological issues, such as stress
- Brain chemistry
- You can first experience depression as early as 15. Depression is more common in women than men.
Depression, which is one part of bipolar disorder, has different forms. Here are some examples:
- Postpartum depression (after pregnancy and the birth of a baby)
- Seasonal affective disorder (depression during the winter season)
- Don’t ignore thoughts or comments about suicide. Talk to your doctor right away.
Care for depression at Rush
Your primary care doctor can refer you to a psychiatrist, psychologist or other mental health professional to diagnose and treat your depression. As a first step, your doctor will ask questions, conduct an exam or may perform tests to rule out other possible causes of your symptoms. Here are examples of question your doctor may ask you:
- What kinds of medications do you take?
- How long have you experienced depression symptoms?
- When did symptoms start?
- Have you had previous episodes of depression? If yes, how were they treated?
- Do you have a family history of depression?
Based on this assessment, your doctor may recommend one or more of the following treatments:
- Antidepressants: Medications that can help balance out the natural chemicals in your brain.
- Psychotherapy: “Talk therapy” can introduce new approaches to thinking and behaving and can help you work through difficult situations that may cause depression. Rush has a center dedicated to a type of psychotherapy called cognitive therapy.
- Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) therapy: A technique that sends electrical pulses to parts of the brain that control moods. A doctor at Rush helped pave the way for proving the effectiveness of TMS for treatment-resistant depression.
Why choose Rush for depression care
- Rush has a program dedicated to child and adolescent psychiatry, which helps teens suffering from depression.
- At Rush, you’ll find mental health specialists who address the unique needs of older adults combating depression in its Geriatric Psychiatry Program and geriatric and rehabilitation program.
- Through clinical research, the Woman's Board Depression Treatment and Research Center offers innovative medical treatments that are not widely available.