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Also part of the UPMC family:

Adult Depression and Anxiety

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Depression afflicts one in four women and one in 10 men at some point in their lives. Among its most common symptoms are persistent sadness, low energy, sleep and appetite disturbances, and inability to take pleasure in enjoyable activities.

Depression is debilitating for the patient and agonizing for loved ones to watch. However, when this disorder is skillfully managed, treatment is successful in nearly 90 percent of patients.

Anxiety disorders take many forms. Some patients:


  • Feel constantly nervous for no apparent reason (generalized anxiety)
  • Fear situations in which they perceive the threat of humiliation (social phobia)
  • Experience brief, intensely frightening attacks of overwhelming anxiety (panic disorder)
  • Become virtual prisoners in their own homes because of an extreme fear of any situation in which escape seems difficult (agoraphobia)

In addition to the anxiety disorders listed above, a specialty program provides intensive behavioral treatments for individuals who have obsessive compulsive disorder.

Among the most effective treatments for depression and anxiety disorders are interpersonal psychotherapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy. Interpersonal therapy strives to help the patient cope with stressful relationships and situations that may trigger depressive episodes. Cognitive-behavioral therapy teaches more constructive thought patterns to replace thinking habits that magnify feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness.

Medications, particularly antidepressants, have proved effective for the great majority of patients and often are used in conjunction with psychotherapy.

Long term follow-up and maintenance therapy are important parts of each patient’s treatment plan. Living with a person who has a mood disorder can be very difficult; family members often say they feel they are walking on eggshells. We offer psycho-educational groups for patients and their families to teach them about mood disorders and offer ongoing support.

Electroconvulsive Therapy, or ECT, is an option for depression that’s difficult to treat. ECT is a procedure in which electric currents (delivered through paddles) are passed through the brain, intentionally triggering a brief seizure. ECT seems to cause changes in brain chemistry that can quickly reverse symptoms of certain mental illnesses, like extreme depression. It often works when other treatments are unsuccessful.


Teenage Depression and Anxiety

For information about teenage depression and suicide services, please visit Services for Teens at Risk (STAR) Center.

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