Approximately 21 million (or 1 in 7) adults in the United States suffer from some form of depression each year -- more than cancer and heart disease combined. Depression is a very common, though often under-diagnosed and under-treated, illness of the brain. It affects people of every age, race and socioeconomic status. Untreated or inadequately treated depression worsens the outcomes of other major medical disorders, hurts individuals and their families, and entails countless costs to our society.
A charter member of the National Network of Depression Centers since 2008, the Brigham and Women’s Hospital has launched a Depression Center which improves and streamlines care delivery, provides a platform for and coordinates cutting edge research, and expands on our existing strengths, particularly for depression in medical and neurologic illness and during the reproductive cycle. Working as a team, our psychiatrists, residents, psychologists, social workers and administrative staff based at Brigham Psychiatric Specialties provide a comprehensive assessment and care that is evidence-based and highly collaborative.
The education and empowerment of patients, trainees and colleagues throughout the hospital system about mood disorders and their management is a high priority of the Center. We work closely with other experts within the department in the areas of addictions, oncology, somatoform disorders, cardiovascular health and others to ensure that depression and other disorders of mood are understood and addressed in the unique contexts in which they present. This work is facilitated by sophisticated research which helps us to hone best practices and remain at the forefront of progress in treating this widespread yet widely misunderstood illness.
We work closely with other experts within the department in the areas of addictions, oncology, somatoform disorders, cardiovascular health and others to ensure that depression and other disorders of mood are understood and addressed in the unique contexts in which they present. This work is facilitated by sophisticated research which helps us to hone best practices and remain at the forefront of progress in treating this widespread yet widely misunderstood illness.
Our clinicians specialize in numerous evidence-based interventions and techniques for addressing depression including:
In conjunction with other interventions, our psychiatrists are highly skilled in using pharmacotherapies which are evidence-based for treating mood disorders. Medication is prescribed responsibly, with careful consideration of co-morbid illnesses, other medications and patient concerns.
We also have BWF clinicians experienced in the use of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) as well as deep brain stimulation which can be effective in treatment resistant depression. Faulkner Hospital, a part of the BWH system of care, provides additional services including inpatient, partial hospital, and electroconvulsive therapy. To learn more about TMS for depression, click here.
We have specialists in both seasonal affective disorders and sleep disorders with whom we routinely consult as needed in individual cases. When clinically appropriate, we guide individuals on the use of light therapy for treating depression as well as circadian rhythm disorders. Chronotherapy can also prove useful in managing chronic depression.
We are building an Educational and Community Resource Center to inform patients and their significant others about depression and related mood disorders and to make valuable community resources known. This includes a monthly calendar of community events and newsletter, regular educational events at the clinic, and access to a database of community resources that patients can draw from during their recovery. This database will also include vetted internet resources, books and other educational tools to supplement the education the clinicians provide each of their patients about their illness.
We encourage patients to utilize resources for self-care, including internet-based resources. Our clinicians recommend evidence-based resources that can help patients work toward recovery between visits, including literature, worksheets, websites, and smartphone applications.
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