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Depression information

Depression, or Major Depressive Disorder, as psychiatrists call it, is presently the most disabling illness according to the World Health Organization. Depression is an illness that does not discriminate based on race, gender, or socioeconomic status; anyone can get depression. Statistical studies show between 8-12% of people in the United States will meet the diagnosis of depression during any given year. 


Depression is a brain illness in which the pathways which control mood are not functioning well; these areas are depressed in their functioning. These brain pathways, the neurons (brain cells), are not working as they once were. Depression has many origins, but the outcomes (symptoms) that most people feel and show to others are similar. The symptoms of depression are the following: depressed mood defined by sadness, guilt, lack of pleasure and disinterest, low energy and inactivity, low motivation, difficulty with thinking and concentrating, appetite and weight disturbance, feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, and sometimes thoughts of death and dying and unfortunately even suicide. 

These symptoms do cause terrible individual suffering. Many cases of depression are complicated because they are also associated with anxiety, physical illness, or pain (emotional or physical). Often the illness is accompanied by anxious, fearful, obsessive, ruminative, or even nihilistic thoughts.


In rare cases, depression can become even worse and individuals can experience very distorted thoughts called delusions, and/or auditory or visual disturbances called hallucinations. If your depression is characterized by these severe symptoms, please inform your treatment team as there may be better, and potentially quicker options for your care.


There is a significant lack of education in the world concerning depression and therefore, there is a large amount of stigma associated with the illness. Depression is not caused by poor motivation; it does not occur because the person did not try hard enough, did not read enough motivational books, or did not pray, meditate, or exercise enough. People do not cause depression to occur to them, but the illness does affect them significantly. Unfortunately, many people are uninformed and uneducated about depression which can strengthen the stigma of the illness.


Diagnosing depression can be difficult, but with a professional evaluation, objective and subjective tests, and by excluding other medical illnesses, depression can be identified and treated. Over the last few decades, scientists have been able to develop tools to visualize the depressed brain and compare it those individuals that do not suffer from depression. In fact, Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), as an illness, is appropriately named; MDD is characterized by dysfunctional ‘depressed’ processing and communication among areas of the brain which we call networks. The important networks in the brain which are involved in depression include the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, the anterior cingulate, the hippocampus, and the amygdala. At times, some of these areas are ‘depressed’ in their functioning and other areas may be overactive.


Depression is a brain disease that has genetic, biologic, psychological, social and spiritual causes, and, more often than not, the illness is multifactorial, meaning that many causes come together to give rise to the ultimate symptoms.  Stress can be a frequent trigger in the cascade of events within the body that leads to depression.   Clinicians treat depression many ways; multifactorial illnesses get multifactorial treatments. Most treatments are biological (medications), psychological, social, and spiritual-cultural-mindful interventions to help patients who suffer get well.


Some patients have a more complex depressive illness which can cyclic between depression and elevated or irritable moods.  This sort of depressive illness (Bipolar spectrum illness) requires a specialized approach which we are skilled at providing.  


Regardless of the type of depression, we believe that you can get well. Clinicians refer to this wellness as remission. Most people understand the word remission when it pertains to cancer. When doctor help cancer patients get to a cancer-free place, they call it remission. Cancer can recur, but doctors know that treating cancer to remission can help prevent recurrence. Depression is frequently a recurrent illness like cancer, and clinicians have known for decades that if we can get a patient to remission, the patient is less likely to have a recurrent depressive episode. 


Come see us and let us help you on your path to wellness.

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Anxiety information

Anxiety, or anxiety disorders, as psychiatrists call them, are presently the most common brain illnesses. Anxiety, like depression, does not discriminate based on race, gender, or socioeconomic status; anyone can get anxiety disorders. The most common type of anxiety is a social phobia or social anxiety such as performance anxiety.  Many other types of anxiety disorders exist, and a thorough interview and evaluation is needed to discern which diagnosis is present so that treatment can be started.  


Anxiety and depression are brain illnesses that frequently overlap.  It is believed that the circuits of the brain are overly active and sending mis-information when symptoms for a patient are overwhelming.  


Anxiety symptoms, like depression, do cause terrible individual suffering. Many cases of anxiety are complicated, like depression, because they are also associated with depression, physical illness, or pain (emotional or physical). Often the symptoms include intense fearful, obsessive, ruminative, or even nihilistic thoughts.


There is a significant lack of education in the world concerning anxiety and its treatments and therefore, there are still a number of clinicians that use benzodiazepines first line for these disorders.  This is not our practice.  We spend a lot of time taking individuals off these agents after they have seen that the medications did not improve the symptoms long-term and only created dependency, sedation, and memory problems.  Unfortunately, many people are uninformed and uneducated about benzodiazepines and their negative outcomes.  


Like depression, Anxiety is a brain disease that has genetic, biologic, psychological, social and spiritual causes, and, more often than not, the illness is multifactorial, meaning that many causes come together to give rise to the ultimate symptoms.  Stress can be a frequent trigger in the cascade of events within the body that leads to depression.  We treat anxiety disorders many ways. Most treatments are biological (medications), psychological, social, and spiritual-cultural-mindful interventions to help patients who suffer get well.


Regardless of the type of anxiety or depression, we believe, like we stated above, that you can get well. Clinicians refer to this wellness as remission. Most people understand the word remission when it pertains to cancer. When doctor help cancer patients get to a cancer-free place, they call it remission. Cancer can recur, but doctors know that treating cancer to remission can help prevent recurrence. Depression is frequently a recurrent illness like cancer, and clinicians have known for decades that if we can get a patient to remission, the patient is less likely to have a recurrent depressive episode. 


Come see us and let us help you on your path to wellness.