What We Do: Treatment

Providing care through the Department of Psychiatry, the U-M Health System, University Health Services, and our own clinical consultation program, U-M Depression Center clinicians connect with patients, families, and other healthcare providers across the University of Michigan. We have important partnerships with primary care physicians, gynecologists and obstetricians, pediatricians, and the University’s Student Counseling Services—often the “front lines” in diagnosing depression and bipolar disorder in patients.  In addition, we share expert psychiatric faculty with other U-M programs and centers, including the U-M Women’s Health Program, the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center, and U-M Cardiovascular Center.  This allows us to bring depression and bipolar disorder expertise to patients in the places where they seek care.

Working Toward Personalized Treatments

Depression treatment strategies can be as diverse as the people who seek them. One patient may respond well to a particular medication and “talk” therapy, while another may not. Our goal is to provide personalized care to match a patient’s specific biology, diagnosis, and lifestyle. Our treating physicians work closely with geneticists and other researchers to understand the best way to tailor treatments to patients, rather than approach treatment through “trial and error.”

Depression Care across the Lifespan

Although depression and bipolar disorder can arise at any stage of life, the symptoms of depressive illnesses most commonly appear for the first time in the late teens or in young adulthood. Just as UMDC researchers study depressive illnesses across the lifespan, our clinicians provide a continuum of care extending from programs for moms and babies to the joint efforts with the U-M Department of Psychiatry’s Program for Positive Aging and the U-M Geriatrics Center & Institute of Gerontology. Our range of services offers patients needed support across the lifespan.

Focus on Patients with Treatment Resistant Illness

Depression and bipolar disorder can sometimes be difficult to treat, and can strain the resources of community practitioners and smaller hospitals. Our specialists fill the gap by offering consultations to both U-M and external care providers through the Depression Center Consultation Clinic, allowing physicians to get expert advice while continuing to treat their patients in their own environment. Specialized services include patient consultations, patient education and resources, and continuing education for clinicians.

In the case of a very difficult-to-treat depressive illness, often called “treatment resistant” depression or bipolar disorder, UMDC clinicians have the most progressive treatment options and therapeutic tools at their disposal. In addition to medications, and psychotherapies, we offer the most current selection of psychiatric neuromodulation therapy options such as Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT), Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS) and repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS). Research programs are underway to find even better approaches.