Donate to Depression Research, Patient Care and Education

It is estimated that nearly 15 percent of the population in the United States experiences bouts of mild to severe depression. Depression involves both the mind and the body, and can have a major impact on sleeping patterns and daily life. Often described as a silent disease, depression does not discriminate; it affects young people and adults from all backgrounds. Your contribution to Northwestern Memorial Foundation will help psychiatrists, psychologists and other experts at Northwestern Medicine to continue to improve methods of preventing, diagnosing and treating depression. 

Depression can manifest itself in three distinct forms:

  1. Major Depression: The ability to work, sleep and simply enjoy life is greatly impacted. Episodes can occur frequently or in periods over a lifetime.
  2. Dysthymia: This is often referred to as a continuous, mild state of depression that affects the ability to fully function in day to day life.
  3. Bipolar Disorder: Cycles of extreme lows followed by extreme highs that are chronic and recurring are increasingly diagnosed.

Your donation to Northwestern Memorial Foundation will help scientists and physicians at Northwestern Medicine to uncover new causes of depression through clinical trials and other research efforts. The vast majority of depression diagnoses can be linked to a chemical imbalance in the brain. While genes have yet to be linked to depression, some types of the illness (such as bipolar disorder) can tend run in families. Women are diagnosed with depression twice as often as men, given the presence of hormone factors pre and post-menopause, menstrual cycles and childbirth. Many women experience postpartum depression is often diagnosed  in the weeks and months following childbirth. 

One of the keys to addressing and treating depression is the ability to recognize the symptoms. Every person needs to be mindful of changes in his por her own mood and behavior, as well as the mood and behavior of family members, friends and coworkers. The symptoms of depression include:

  • Down, empty or sad moods
  • Changes in weight or appetite — eating more or less than normal
  • Inability to focus on areas of interest, including sex
  • A sense of energy loss, fatigue and general slowing down
  • Feeling helpless or worthless for no apparent reason
  • Inability to concentrate at work or home; difficulty making decisions
  • Chronic pain in the form of headaches, digestive problems and insomnia

Your donation to Northwestern Memorial Foundation will help to support teams of specialists at Northwestern Medicine as they work to develop treatment plans for people affected by depression. Treatment programs may include:

  • Medicines formulated to stabilize mood swings and lessen depression. These medications often take four to six weeks to become effective. With monitoring and adjustments, often the correct dosage can be prescribed to decrease the effects of depression.
  • Psychotherapy, together with medication, can introduce new behavior patterns and identify stressors as well as help with strengthening relationships.
  • Electroconvulsive therapy is used for patients with a severe, life-threatening diagnosis. Mild seizures are triggered and aid in restoring chemical balances in the brain.

Depression Research, Patient Care and Education Donation

With your generous donation to Northwestern Memorial Foundation, scientists and physicians at Northwestern Medicine will continue to make important discoveries and breakthroughs that will benefit many people coping with depression. 

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