Depression

Depression Specialist
Depression affects patients of both sexes and of all ages. The Drake Institute, under the guidance of its medical director, Dr. Velkoff, helps patients at both Irvine and Northridge, California clinic locations overcome debilitating symptoms of clinical depression without drugs or medications. The Drake Institute of Behavioral Medicine uses biofeedback and neurofeedback treatments so patients can recover and avoid long-term use of antidepressant medications.

Depression Q & A

The Drake Institute of Behavioral Medicine

How does clinical depression differ from “regular” feelings of sadness?

While everyone feels sad or “blue” from time to time, people who suffer from clinical depression have persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness and even worthlessness that are so pervasive, they interfere with daily activities in just about every area of the person’s life. Also, while most feelings of sadness can be traced to specific events or general stress or anxiety, but in clinical depression, feelings of sadness and hopelessness tend to occur and persist even at times when no specific cause can be identified.

How is depression diagnosed and evaluated?

The American Psychiatric Association has established a series of criteria to help clinicians diagnose clinical depression. They include:

  • Feelings of sadness or depressed mood
  • Pessimism and despair
  • Loss of interests in and inability to enjoy previously pleasurable activities
  • Changes in appetite or weight
  • Sleep-related problems, including insomnia or sleeping for an excessive period of time
  • Significant lethargy or malaise
  • Agitation or restlessness
  • Fatigue
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Difficulty focusing or making decisions
  • Persistent thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts

To be diagnosed with depression, symptoms must be significant enough to interfere with daily activities, and several symptoms must be present. There’s no single test for depression; rather, the Drake Institute uses patient interviews, questionnaires, quantitative EEG brain mapping and biofeedback technology testing to help identify physiological abnormalities linked to symptoms and aid in diagnosis with treatment plan.

What causes depression?

Clinical depression can be a result of genetics, biology, past trauma, environmental, and psychological factors. It may include feelings of sadness, pessimism, despair, hopelessness, worthlessness, loss of motivation and interests in previously enjoyable activities and other symptoms. Depression not only dominates your mood and blocks happiness or joy, but it can negatively affect your health, clear thinking, productivity and creativity, relationships, self-esteem and certainly self-care. It literally can take over your life.

How do you treat depression?

While depression can be treated with long-term use of medications, Drake Institute of Behavioral Medicine uses a combination of psychophysiological testing with biofeedback instrumentation and EEG brain mapping to identify links between stress, physiological tension levels, abnormal brain wave patterns, and specific symptoms of depression. Once these associations have been identified, biofeedback and neurofeedback treatments are customized and used to reduce abnormal physiological tension levels and improve brain functioning, thus reducing and relieving symptoms. Adjunctive psychotherapy may also be recommended.

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The Drake Institute of Behavioral Medicine
4330 Barranca Parkway
Suite 130
Irvine, CA 92604