Common Mood Disorder That Impacts Daily Life

Depression is a common mood disorder. People with depression have overwhelming feelings of sadness, emptiness, loss of pleasure, guilt or hopelessness that interfere with daily life. If you or a loved one is experiencing depression, Penn State Health is here to help.

Depression is treatable through psychotherapy and medications. The Penn State Health team – consisting of psychiatrists, nurse practitioners, social workers and nurses – will work closely with you to evaluate your symptoms, diagnose your depression and find the right treatment path to improve your care and quality of life.

Everyone goes through periods of temporary unhappiness and emotional pain. However, if your sadness has no end in sight and is impairing your ability to function daily, it may indicate a depressive disorder.

Clinical depression is different from normal sadness. A psychiatrist will make your depression diagnosis based on severity, duration and presence of other symptoms based on the official criteria from the American Psychiatric Association. Our team at Penn State Health will evaluate your symptoms, perform an exam and carefully evaluate if there are any contributing causes from a physical disease.

Symptoms, Diagnosis and Outlook

Symptoms of depression can vary from person to person. In general, depression refers to a general feeling of disinterest, sadness or hopelessness. Depression can also have a hereditary link, meaning that it can run in families. Depression can also impact people with certain medical conditions, chronic pain or long-term stressful life situations.

Depression can be diagnosed by your primary care physician. At Penn State Health, our medical team screens for depression during regular well-visits for young adults and adults. Your physician might ask you:

  • Have you felt depressed, hopeless or down during the last month?
  • Have you felt disinterested or little pleasure in regular activities during the last month?

If you or a loved one has depression, the Penn State Health team wants you to know that it’s a treatable illness. We offer many evidence-based treatment options, such as psychotherapy and medication. The prognosis for depression patients is positive. Many cases can be treated in an office setting by a psychiatrist.

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Comprehensive Treatment Option

At Penn State Health, we work closely with our patients to determine the best treatment path. Help for depression looks different for everyone. Treatment choice can depend on the degree and type of depression, as well as any other conditions affecting you or your loved one. At Penn State Health, you will be fully involved in treatment decisions. 

Diagnostic Evaluation

The Penn State Health team utilizes validated tools to assist in diagnostic evaluation for all of our patients. We also measure the outcome of treatment with standardized instruments, which allows our team to track improvement over time and make more informed treatment decisions.

Variety of Treatment Services

Penn State Health offers inpatient, partial (day) hospital and outpatient services to help treat depression. Our strong commitment to research means that we have the latest tools and techniques available to our patients.

Neuromodulation Evaluation and Treatment

Penn State Health offers our patients neuromodulation evaluation and treatment, which includes electroconvulsive therapy and vagus nerve stimulation. These options can be lifesaving for patients if their medication treatments are not effective.

Evidence Based Psychotherapy

At Penn State Health, we offer our patients a variety of evidence-based psychotherapy treatment options for depression. These include cognitive-behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy, interpersonal social rhythm therapy or dialectical behavioral therapy in individual or group settings.

Support Groups

Support groups provide an opportunity to share your feelings and connect with other patients and caregivers who are experiencing similar struggles.

Learn more about support groups offered

Convenient Locations

Find the care your family needs, close to home, at one of our many locations throughout central Pennsylvania.

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