Fighting Depression

Depression is a serious mood disorder that affects the body and the mind, including your mood and thoughts. It touches every part of your life. It’s important to know that depression is not a weakness or character flaw. It’s a chemical imbalance in your brain that needs to be treated.

In fact, it’s suspected that half of the Americans who suffer from some form of depression never even seek treatment. But that no longer has to be the norm. Through RWJBarnabas Health's Behavioral Health services, patients can find easy access to stigma-free care.

Depression is caused by an imbalance of brain chemicals in conjunction with other factors. It also tends to run in families and can be triggered by life events or certain illnesses. It can also develop without a clear trigger.

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Pre- and Postpartum Depression

Having a baby is an exciting time, but the process can often be difficult for the mother. Even mothers that are excited about having children are not immune to postpartum depression. These mood swings are caused by the drastic hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy and are a very normal thing for women to experience after having a baby. Nonetheless, this condition is hard for the women going through it, and if it persists for more than two weeks it is recommended that you speak with a medical professional.

The Maternal Depression Support Network is a support group for women dealing with postpartum depression. This is not something you are alone in experiencing, and often, just speaking with others who know what you’re going through can be a huge relief.

Depression Symptoms

Symptoms of depression include the following:

  • Lasting sadness or anxiety – a feeling of “emptiness”
  • Loss of interest in normal activities
  • Changes of appetite and bodily weight
  • Changes in sleep patterns, such as an inability to sleep or sleeping too much
  • Slowing of physical activity, speech, and thinking, as well as increased restlessness and irritability
  • Loss of energy and motivation
  • Ongoing feelings of worthlessness and/or feelings of guilt
  • Trouble concentrating or making decisions
  • Repeating thoughts of death, suicide, wishing to die, or attempting suicide
    Note: Suicidal thoughts in yourself or a loved one require immediate emergency treatment

If you experience five or more of these symptoms for at least 2 weeks, you may be diagnosed with depression. These feelings are a noticeable change from what’s “normal” for you.

Learn about RWJBarnabas Health's Center for Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders.

The symptoms of depression may look like other mental health conditions. Always see a health care provider for a diagnosis. If you have one episode of depression, you are at risk of having more throughout life. If you don’t get treatment, depression can happen more often and be more serious.

Step-by-Step Depression Treatment

Depression is not something to take lightly. In addition to the damage it can do to a person’s mental health, it also takes a physical toll on the body. Depression is typically accompanied by a feeling of lethargy. Many people find themselves unable to get out of bed, their appetites decrease, and stress puts additional strain on their circulatory system.

Depression can even lead to addiction or substance abuse, which makes the individual feel even more trapped in a cycle from which they believe there is no escape. In order to treat depression, you must realize that this is not simply a matter of “feeling better.” Overcoming depression is a process — one that requires patience and understanding.

Our behavioral health facilities use a “step down” model for treating depression. We work with patients over an extended period to help them identify and address the root of their depression.

Treatment for depression may include one or a more of the following:

  • Medicine. Antidepressants work by affecting the brain chemicals. Know that it takes 4 to 6 weeks for these medicines to have a full effect. Keep taking the medicine, even if it doesn’t seem to be working at first. Never stop taking your medicine without first talking to your health care provider. Some people have to switch medicines or add medicines to get results. Work closely with your health care provider to find treatment that works for you.
  • Therapy. This is most often cognitive behavioral therapy and/or interpersonal therapy. It focuses on changing the distorted views you have of yourself and your situation. It also works to improve relationships, and identify and manage stressors in your life.
  • Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). This treatment may be used to treat severe, life-threatening depression that has not responded to medicines. A mild electrical current is passed through the brain. This triggers a brief seizure. For unknown reasons, the seizures help restore the normal balance of chemicals in the brain and ease symptoms.

With treatment, you should feel better within a few weeks. Without treatment, symptoms can last for weeks, months, or even years. Continued treatment may help to prevent depression from appearing again.

Intensive Outpatient Program for Depression and Other Mood Disorders

The Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) for General Mood and Anxiety Disorders is designed for individuals who wish to maintain their daily routine and also require more intensive therapy. Based on dialectical behavior therapy (DBT-informed), this program, offered in partnership with Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care (UBHC), addresses anxiety and depression. IOP sessions require a minimum of 3 days per week with 9 to 12 hours per week. The program includes:

  • Intensive group therapy
  • Psycho-education
  • Individual and family therapy
  • Medication management

The IOP for General Mood and Anxiety Disorders is offered at these New Jersey locations:

Hospitalization Program

Some patients with severe depression, such as those with suicidal tendencies, may require full-time hospitalization. During this time, they are treated by compassionate medical professionals who aim to find the right medication and/or counseling that will help them through the worst stages of depression.

In some cases, partial hospitalization, where the patient visits the hospital for a few hours each day, could also be recommended for patients with severe depression, bipolar disorders, and substance abuse concerns.

Some of the treatments in our depression program include:

  • Family therapy
  • One-on-one therapy
  • Art therapy
  • Medication management and education

If you or a loved one are suffering from the effects of depression, you don’t have to have to suffer in silence. Learn more about your mental health options by calling our Access Center. Contact us 24 hours a day at 1-800-300-0628 or use the form on the Access Center page to request a callback.

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Center for Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders – Eatontown
200 Wyckoff Road
Suite 3500
Eatontown, NJ 07724
(862) 781-3755
RWJBarnabas Health Ambulatory Care Center
200 South Orange Avenue
Livingston, NJ 07039
(973) 322-7000
Anne Vogel Family Care and Wellness Center
200 Wyckoff Road
Eatontown, NJ 07724
(862) 781-3790
RWJBarnabas Health Behavioral Health Center
1691 U.S. Highway 9
CN 2025
Toms River, NJ 08754
(732) 914-1688
Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center
94 Old Short Hills Road
Livingston, NJ 07039
(973) 322-5000
Monmouth Medical Center
300 Second Avenue
Long Branch, NJ 07740
(732) 222-5200
Clara Maass Medical Center
1 Clara Maass Drive
Belleville, NJ 07109
(973) 450-2000
Community Medical Center
99 Highway 37 West
Toms River, NJ 08755
(732) 557-8000
Newark Beth Israel Medical Center
201 Lyons Avenue at Osborne Terrace
Newark, NJ 07112
(973) 926-7000
Children's Hospital of New Jersey at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center
201 Lyons Avenue at Osborne Terrace
Newark, NJ 07112
(973) 926-7000
Jersey City Medical Center
355 Grand Street
Jersey City, NJ 07302
(201) 915-2000
The Bristol-Myers Squibb Children's Hospital at RWJUH
200 Somerset Street
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
(732) 828-3000
RWJ University Hospital Rahway
865 Stone Street
Rahway, NJ 07065
(732) 381-4200
RWJ University Hospital Somerset
110 Rehill Avenue
Somerville, NJ 08876
(908) 685-2200
Trinitas Regional Medical Center – Williamson Street Campus
225 Williamson St
Elizabeth, NJ 07202
(908) 994-5000
The Unterberg Children's Hospital at Monmouth Medical Center
300 2nd Avenue
Long Branch, NJ 07740
(732) 923-7250
RWJ University Hospital Hamilton
1 Hamilton Health Place
Hamilton, NJ 08690
(609) 586-7900
Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital
1 Robert Wood Johnson Place
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
(732) 828-3000
Monmouth Medical Center Southern Campus
600 River Avenue
Lakewood, NJ 08701
(732) 363-1900
Center for Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMAD) at Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center
315 E. Northfield Rd
Suite 1-D
Livingston, NJ 07039
(973) 322-9501

Depression Treatment & Care

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