Dr. Dresner introduces herself and describes depression.
My name is Nehama Dresner. I am Associate Professor of Clinical Psychiatry and Obstetrics/Gynecology here at Northwestern University Medical School. I am the director of Wellsprings Health Associates which is a group practice focusing on women’s mental health.
Well, the term is used to define a lot of different things. It’s used colloquially to talk about, women, someone might say, “I am depressed," meaning, "I had a bad day,” or, “I saw a sad movie,” or sort of as an immediate or acute reaction to something. Other people define depression as a clinical syndrome, which we treat with medications in psychotherapy.
So it's important to sort of acknowledge a continuum of depressive symptoms in individuals who all have fluctuating moods. We all have days where we feel good and where we feel sad or we feel good and sad on the same day. The degree to which that sadness persists over time, interferes with our ability to engage in healthy relationships, to be productive in work, to concentrate, focus, to take care of ourselves, that’s where we begin to think about depression as a pathologic or illness.
And, in order to be diagnosed with depression, you have to meet a certain number of criteria to meet that diagnosis and then, treatment is initiated based on the severity of symptoms and the persistence of those symptoms.
So, it's important for all of us to acknowledge that it's normal for individuals to experience mood fluctuations. It’s not normal for people to feel persistently depressed, hopeless, anxious, over a period of weeks, interfering with sleep, appetite, energy, our ability to enjoy things, our ability to focus and concentrate, and our ability to engage in relationships.
About Dr. Dresner, M.D.:
Dr. Nehama Dresner, M.D., is a licensed, Board-certified psychiatrist (in general psychiatry and psychosomatic medicine) with specialized training and nearly 20 years experience in Women's Mental Health and Medical Psychiatry. She is Associate Professor of Clinical Psychiatry and Obstetrics/Gynecology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and is actively involved in medical education. A fellow in the Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine and the America Psychiatric Association, she speaks locally and nationally on issues related to psychological aspects of women's health and medical psychiatry. Dr. Dresner's clinical specialty is psychosomatic obstetrics, and gynecology, women's emotional development, and psychiatric treatment of the medically ill.