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Depression and Mood Disorders

Man speaking to his therapist

It is common to feel sad or discouraged after having a heart attack, receiving a cancer diagnosis, or when trying to manage a chronic condition such as pain. You may be facing new limits on what you can do and may feel stressed or concerned about treatment outcomes and the future.

What is Depression?

Depression is often colloquially used to describe someone who appears sad. Sadness is a human emotion people experience in response to stressful events, such as losing a loved one or dealing with unexpected medical problems like being diagnosed with cancer or having a heart attack or stroke. Transient periods of sadness would be anticipated in those circumstances, but if it persists, it can make it difficult to get everyday tasks done and even cause a person to no longer enjoy their favorite pastimes.

Generally, "depression" can be categorized as one of two types: unipolar depression or bipolar depression. Unipolar depression is associated with depressive episodes seen with a diagnosis of major depression disorder (MDD). Bipolar depression is associated with depressive episodes seen with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder.

Depressive symptoms are common among those with chronic medical problems, such as those who have had a stroke, have diabetes, heart disease, cancer, thyroid disease, dementia, HIV/AIDS, epilepsy, and an autoimmune disease. It is also worth noting there are some depression risk factors that are directly related to a chronic medical problem, specifically those that may change brain structure, such as Parkinson's disease or multiple sclerosis.

The presence of a chronic medical problem can increase a person's risk of depression as well as if there is a family history of depression or if family members have contemplated suicide. MDD is a serious disorder that not only affects mood but also can cause physical symptoms. MDD is characterized by persistently sad mood lasting longer than a couple of weeks often with other symptoms like difficulty sleeping, loss of energy, and changes in appetite.

MDD can occur in children, adolescents, adults, and older patients but most commonly occurs in younger adults and older patients. If someone believes they have symptoms of depression, especially those with chronic medical problems, their symptoms should be evaluated by a health care provider.

Treatment-Resistant Depression Program Brochure

What are the symptoms of major depressive disorder?

Some symptoms include:

  • Feeling persistently sad, down, or depressed
  • Loss of interest in favorite activities or hobbies
  • Trouble falling or staying asleep
  • Changes in appetite or weight
  • Difficulty concentrating or trouble remembering or making decisions
  • Feeling restless or feeling keyed up
  • Loss of energy or fatigue
  • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Thoughts of death or suicide or attempting suicide

How is major depressive disorder treated?

If a person believes they are experiencing symptoms of MDD, they should speak with a health care provider. After discussion with their health care provider, they may be referred to a mental health professional, such as a clinical social worker, counselor, psychologist, or psychiatrist. This is an important step as the mental health professional can help identify a diagnosis and recommend a targeted treatment.

MDD can be effectively treated with medication or psychotherapy or both, even if someone has been diagnosed with another chronic medical problem. There are many available options to treat depression, but the most common medication used to treat depression and anxiety are called antidepressants, which are further classified as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs).

If symptoms continue despite treatment, there are other interventions, including brain stimulation therapies and different classes of medication, that research has shown to be effective. Psychotherapy is another way MDD can be treated and is often referred to as "talk therapy." Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapy supported by research to be an effective treatment for depression and anxiety. During CBT, the therapist and patient work together towards the primary goal of modifying different patterns of the patient's thinking as well as their reactions to stressful situations in efforts to develop more effective ways of coping and reducing depressive symptoms long-term.

It is important for a person to tell their health care provider what other treatment or medication they are currently taking, including prescription medications, dietary supplements, and over-the-counter medications. Their health care provider can then help determine which treatment would be the most helpful for their mood symptoms while not interfering with their current medications. With treatment, depressive symptoms can gradually improve and even be helped along if other chronic medical problems are appropriately treated as well.

Possible Treatment Options

  • Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)

    In the ever-evolving landscape of mental health treatments, Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) stands as a beacon of hope and transformation. This revolutionary approach has witnessed significant advancements, dispelling myths and misconceptions that have surrounded it for decades. In this essay, we invite you to explore the potential of ECT and consider the life-changing benefits it can offer to those grappling with severe mental health challenges. Electroconvulsive Therapy, often portrayed in a negative light, has come a long way since its inception. Modern ECT is a highly refined and carefully administered procedure that harnesses the brain's natural ability to heal and adapt. Contrary to common belief, ECT is not a form of punishment or a last resort; instead, it represents a cutting-edge treatment option for individuals facing severe and treatment-resistant mental health conditions.

    One of the key strengths of ECT lies in its efficacy. Numerous studies have demonstrated that ECT can be a rapid and highly effective intervention for conditions such as Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), Bipolar Disorder, and certain forms of schizophrenia. When traditional therapies fall short, ECT emerges as a beacon of hope, offering a lifeline to individuals who have exhausted other treatment options. The procedure itself has undergone significant improvements to enhance patient safety and comfort. Anesthesia and muscle relaxants are administered to ensure a painless and controlled experience. Modern ECT is a far cry from the sensationalized depictions in popular media, emphasizing the importance of evidence-based, compassionate care.

    One notable advantage of ECT is its quick onset of action. Unlike some medications that may take weeks to exert their effects, ECT can bring relief in a matter of days. This swift response is particularly crucial for individuals facing acute crises and those struggling with suicidal thoughts. Furthermore, ECT's impact is not limited to symptom relief. Research suggests that the treatment may induce positive changes in neuroplasticity, promoting the growth of new neurons and fostering adaptive connections within the brain. This represents a profound shift from merely managing symptoms to facilitating lasting improvements in mental health.

    In conclusion, Electroconvulsive Therapy is not just a treatment; it's a transformative journey towards mental wellness. The contemporary landscape of ECT is defined by innovation, precision, and a commitment to patient well-being. We encourage you to challenge preconceived notions, engage in informed discussions, and consider the potential of ECT as a powerful ally in the pursuit of mental health and overall well-being. Embrace the future of mental health care - embrace the power of Electroconvulsive Therapy.

    Patients should call 713-486-2621 to request an appointment.

    Providers should fax the Referral Form to 713-500-2728.

    We are Proud Members of the National Network of Depression Centers.

  • Magnetic Seizure Therapy (MST)

    In the realm of mental health treatments, a groundbreaking innovation has emerged, offering new avenues of hope and healing. Magnetic Seizure Therapy (MST), a cutting-edge therapeutic intervention, is revolutionizing the landscape of psychiatric care. MST harnesses the power of magnetic fields to induce controlled seizures, providing a unique and effective approach to treating a range of mental health disorders. At the core of MST lies its ability to target and modulate specific neural circuits associated with mood regulation and cognitive function. Unlike traditional electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), MST employs magnetic fields to induce seizures, minimizing the impact on surrounding brain areas and reducing the risk of cognitive side effects. This precision allows for a more targeted and individualized treatment, catering to the unique needs of each patient.

    One of the key advantages of MST is its efficacy in treating severe and treatment-resistant psychiatric conditions, such as major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. Numerous clinical studies have demonstrated the therapeutic benefits of MST, showcasing its potential to bring relief to those who have previously found little success with conventional treatments. The ability of MST to act as a catalyst for neuroplasticity, promoting positive changes in brain structure and function, underscores its potential as a transformative intervention.

    Moreover, MST boasts a favorable side effect profile compared to traditional therapies, offering a ray of hope for patients concerned about the cognitive impairments often associated with other seizure-inducing treatments. The precision of magnetic stimulation allows for a more controlled and localized impact, minimizing the risk of memory loss and cognitive deficits, and enhancing the overall safety and tolerability of the therapy. Beyond its clinical efficacy, MST is gaining momentum for its potential to reshape the narrative surrounding mental health treatments. As societal attitudes evolve, the stigma associated with psychiatric interventions is gradually fading, and MST plays a pivotal role in this paradigm shift. By offering a scientifically grounded and technologically advanced treatment option, MST empowers individuals to seek help without fear of judgment, fostering a more compassionate and understanding society.

    In conclusion, Magnetic Seizure Therapy represents a beacon of hope in the realm of mental health treatments. Its precision, efficacy, and favorable side effect profile make it a compelling choice for individuals seeking relief from severe psychiatric conditions. As the future of mental health care unfolds, MST stands at the forefront, unlocking new possibilities and paving the way for a brighter, more inclusive era of psychiatric healing. Embrace the transformative power of MST and embark on a journey towards mental well-being.

    Patients should call 713-486-2621 to request an appointment.

    Providers should fax the Referral Form to 713-500-2728.

    We are Proud Members of the National Network of Depression Centers.

Contact Us

Call 713-500-1500 to connect with one of our experienced behavioral health experts. We are available on-site 24/7 to talk with you.

If you are in a mental health crisis and in need of immediate help, please call 988 or seek care at your closest emergency room.