When you begin to lose interest in your normal activities, or even your favorite activities, it can be hard to keep going. While some people experience depression as a deep ongoing sadness, for others it can feel like an emotional void. While these feelings are alarming, most people have them from time-to-time. But when they last for weeks, months, or years, they can negatively impact your life. Fortunately, there are a wide range of treatments available for depression.
Getting Treatment for Depression at UVA Health
When you meet with your provider, you'll talk about your recent symptoms as well as your medical and family history. Some things your provider will ask about include:
- Substance use
- Thoughts of death or suicide
- Family members with mental illness
- Daily habits (sleeping, eating, working)
- Previous mental health concerns
After talking to you about what symptoms are bothering you and assessing your problem, your provider can recommend a treatment plan.
There are many antidepressants available today. We will work to find a medication that benefits you and limits side effects.
There are a variety of talk-therapy options for depression. Depending on whether you have challenges in relationships or unhealthy thinking, we may recommend:
- Cognitive-behavior therapy (CBT)
- Interpersonal therapy
- Psychodynamic therapy
- A combination of these
Brain Stimulation Therapies
Some patients don't respond to medication or can't take it for other reasons. In these situations, brain stimulation therapies may help. These therapies focus on stimulating parts of the brain with electrical or magnetic pulses.
- Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)
- Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS)
- Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)
Bright Light Therapy
Bright light therapy can be added to any other treatment plan. Exposure to bright light from a special light box has been shown to be effective in some types of depression. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) seems to respond well to bright light therapy.
If you have severe depression and are at risk of hurting yourself or others, we may suggest hospital care. Inpatient psychiatry allows for a safe space and period of time while you and your provider work out a treatment plan.