Depression Treatment in Baltimore


Depression is a problem that affects all corners of society. It does not discriminate in any way on who can become afflicted and it can be difficult to distinguish depression from other types of mental health issues. It involves persistent feelings of sadness, emptiness, despondency or despair, as well as apathy towards activities that you once found joyous. This disorder can be mild, moderate, or severe and debilitating, and has the power to affect all areas of one’s life.  Relationships, work life, and your physical health, can all be negatively impacted by depression.

So, depression can have a widespread impact on both patients and their families. Dr. Ranen can provide the proper care and guidance to individuals living with depression helping them to persevere through their struggles and enjoy a purposeful life filled once again with hope.  Dr. Ranen shares valuable information on depression and possible treatments below.


What is depression?

Depression is a mental health disorder that can bring forth feelings of a sad or flat mood, despair, and joylessness. A sense of futility may occur. It may also cause physical changes in appetite, sleep habits, persistent fatigue, and concentration difficulties.


What are the symptoms of depression?

Everyone experiences depression differently, yet some features are shared amongst the vast majority of individuals who suffer from this illness. The following represent a few common symptoms of depression – not all are necessary for the diagnosis.

  • Persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and emptiness
  • Loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyable
  • Changes in appetite and sleep patterns, including overeating or loss of appetite and insomnia or excessive sleeping
  • Fatigue and low energy levels
  • Difficulty concentrating and making decisions
  • Feelings of worthlessness and guilt
  • Thoughts of suicide or self-harm, or the person just wishing they were not alive or just need to escape to take a break
  • Physical symptoms such as headaches, stomach aches, and chronic pain


What causes depression?

The complexities of depression can be attributed to a variety of sources, including:

Genetics and Biology: Depression is typically linked to family history, indicating that genetics play a role in many individuals who are affected but this is not a mandatory affiliation. As an example, neurotransmitter imbalances in the brain – which regulate our emotions – may also involve a genetic component and can lead to depression. Imbalances in pathways in the brain – some overactive and some underactive, are associated with depression.

Trauma and stress: Even seemingly common life occurrences, like a breakup or transition to a new lifestyle, can lead to depression. Additionally, extended periods of tension and stress are known culprits in contributing this mental health condition.

Medical conditions: Living with a chronic illness such as cancer or heart disease can be difficult and lead to depression. Furthermore, certain medications used for treating these conditions may also cause depressive symptoms as a side effect.

Substance abuse: Depression can sometimes be an underlying cause of substance abuse and addiction, but it can also be a result as well.

Environmental factors: Struggling with an absence of social support, financial hardship and other overwhelming external factors can lead to depression.

It is essential to recognize that depression and other mental health issues are not caused by a personal lack of strength, determination, or moral deficiency. They stem from true medical conditions which necessitate proper care and treatment.  Dr. Ranen can assist in your understanding of what is happening and provide a care plan to provide a road to recovery that fits your personal needs.


How is depression diagnosed?

Understanding depression involves an extensive assessment conducted by a mental health specialist. This assessment may include:

Medical Evaluation: A thorough medical history must be conducted to guarantee that no other medical conditions are causing the observed symptoms. This may also include recommending lab tests such as thyroid function tests, Vitamin B12 levels, and a comprehensive metabolic panel.

Psychological Evaluation:  This is necessary to accurately diagnose the symptoms of depression and understand their effects on an individual’s life. To assess the presence and intensity of depression, two commonly used questionnaires are the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) and Beck Depression Inventory (BDI). An experienced psychiatrist will also conduct an assessment that doesn’t rely on and goes beyond the depth of these assessment instruments.

Past Depression Treatments: A discussion of any previous treatment for depression, including medications (response, side effects), therapy, and self-help strategies.

The key to finding the perfect treatment for an individual’s depression is making sure to be candid and transparent with Dr. Neal Ranen. By letting medical professionals in on all of the details about what you’re experiencing, they will have a better understanding of how to accurately diagnose and assist in the cure to your condition. The more truthful information that is shared, the smoother sailing it’ll be toward successful recovery.


What are the types of depression?

There are several types of depression, including:

Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)

MDD is the most common type of depression. MDD is a mental health condition characterized by a persistent feeling of sadness, loss of interest in activities, and changes in appetite and sleep patterns. Individuals with MDD may also experience feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, and thoughts of suicide. MDD can interfere with daily life, impacting professional productivity, relationships, and overall well-being. It’s estimated that over 264 million people worldwide suffer from MDD, making it a significant public health concern.

Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD)

This type of depression is a type of depression characterized by symptoms that last for at least two years. PDD, previously known as Dysthymia, is a chronic form of depression that is less severe than Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) but can still significantly impact one’s quality of life. Symptoms of PDD can include feelings of sadness or hopelessness, loss of interest in activities, low self-esteem, difficulty sleeping, and changes in appetite. Individuals with PDD may also experience periods of MDD, in which symptoms become more severe and may require separate treatment.

Bipolar Disorder

This type of depression is characterized by alternating periods of depression and mania or hypomania. Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition characterized by alternating periods of depression (feeling sad, hopeless, and/or lethargic) and mania (feeling overly energetic, euphoric, and/or irritable). These episodes can last for days, weeks, or months and can interfere with daily life, relationships, and overall well-being. Bipolar disorder is classified into several types, including Bipolar I Disorder, Bipolar II Disorder, and Cyclothymic Disorder, based on the pattern and severity of symptoms.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

The most common pattern of this type of depression is symptoms that occur during the fall and winter months and resolve during the spring and summer. SAD stands for Seasonal Affective Disorder, which is a type of depression that occurs during specific times of the year, typically in the winter months when there is less natural sunlight. SAD is thought to be related to changes in circadian rhythms (the body’s internal “clock”) that affect the levels of hormones such as serotonin and melatonin, which regulate mood. Symptoms of SAD include feelings of sadness, hopelessness, irritability, and loss of interest in activities. Individuals with SAD may also experience changes in appetite, weight, and sleep patterns, as well as fatigue and difficulty concentrating. Treatment for SAD may include light therapy, which involves exposure to bright artificial light to mimic the effects of natural sunlight. Antidepressant medication, psychotherapy, and lifestyle changes, such as getting regular exercise and maintaining a healthy diet, may also be recommended.

Psychotic Depression

This type of depression is characterized by symptoms of depression and psychosis, such as hallucinations or delusions. Psychotic depression, also known as depressive psychosis, is a type of depression characterized by symptoms of depression and psychosis. Psychosis refers to a loss of touch with reality, often manifested as delusions (false beliefs) or hallucinations (hearing or seeing things that aren’t there). Symptoms of psychotic depression can include feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and worthlessness, as well as symptoms of psychosis such as delusions, hallucinations, and disordered thinking. These symptoms can be distressing and interfere with daily life, relationships, and overall well-being.

Atypical Depression

This type of depression is characterized by symptoms such as increased appetite and sleep, as well as a sensitivity to rejection. Atypical depression is a type of depression characterized by symptoms that differ from those typically associated with MDD. While individuals with MDD typically experience symptoms such as feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and worthlessness, individuals with atypical depression may experience a range of symptoms that can include:

  • Increased appetite and weight gain
  • Excessive sleepiness or fatigue
  • Feelings of heaviness in the arms or legs
  • Improved mood in response to positive events
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety


Although called “Atypical” it is not uncommon. Atypical depression can be a challenging condition to diagnose, as its symptoms can overlap with other mental health conditions such as bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder.

It’s important to note that depression is a complex condition, and individuals may experience a combination of symptoms from different types of depression.


What are the treatments for depression?

The treatment for depression varies depending on the severity of the condition and the individual’s specific needs, but some common approaches include:

Medication: Antidepressants, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), are the most commonly prescribed medication for depression. There are many other classes of medication used to treat depression including newer antidepressants that use modern science to provide additional effects, and older ones like tricyclic antidepressants and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). The choice of medication will depend on the severity and specific symptoms of the depression, as well as any other medical conditions the person has. Genetic testing can also be helpful in selecting the right medication. It’s important to note that medication should be used in conjunction with therapy and lifestyle changes for optimal results.

Psychotherapy: Talking with Dr. Neal Ranen can help individuals understand and manage their symptoms of depression.

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapy that works to modify thought patterns and behaviors, which can be at the root of many psychological issues. By focusing on current experiences instead of past traumas or events, CBT helps you challenge any negative beliefs and thoughts, and replace them with ones that are more positive and accurate. This empowers individuals to think differently while also enabling changes in their emotions and behavior over time.
  • Interpersonal therapy (IPT) is an evidence-based approach to psychotherapy that concentrates on addressing interpersonal issues for the purpose of alleviating psychological distress. IPT believes that depression and other emotional reactions typically arise from a person’s struggles in their relationships with others, like a disagreement with family or friends, the loss of someone special, or problems forming meaningful connections. During Interpersonal Therapy (IPT), the therapist helps those struggling pinpoint and alleviate their interpersonal issues for improved emotional health. IPT is typically used to treat depression, but it has proved successful in treating other mental disorders including eating disorders and anxiety. IPT can also include aspects of self-worth and how a person defines themselves in terms of work and relationships.


Lifestyle changes: Making changes to one’s diet and exercise, getting regular sleep, and reducing stress can help improve symptoms of depression.

Light therapy: For people who suffer from the SAD, exposure to bright light can work wonders in alleviating their symptoms. Light therapy requires the use of an artificial source, such as a light box, for set intervals every day. It is believed that this type of luminosity impacts brain chemicals related to emotions and helps control sleep cycles while improving signs of depression.

Psychodynamic therapy: Psychodynamic psychotherapy works towards aiding individuals in recognizing and overcoming unconscious struggles and emotions which may be causing psychological harm. This course of action has its roots based on the concepts developed by Sigmund Freud and his disciples; it holds the belief that unexpressed thoughts, sentiments, or events can affect a person’s actions drastically.

By exploring past experiences, relationships and feelings of his clients, Dr. Neal Ranen utilizes psychodynamic therapy to help individuals gain insight into their unconscious motivations. Through this process of bringing unconscious mentalities and emotions into conscious awareness, a greater sense of self-awareness is cultivated that can ultimately lead to resolving unresolved psychological issues.

While psychodynamic therapy is beneficial for many individuals with mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and personality disorders; it may not be the right fit for all. This style of counseling usually occurs in one-on-one meetings and can be a longer-term process. Therefore, when needed, psychodynamic therapy should be used alongside other types of therapies to gain optimal results.

Mindfulness-based therapies: Mindfulness-based therapies are an effective group of psychological treatments that use mindfulness meditation to assist individuals with various mental health issues. Mindfulness is a practice that promotes self-awareness and acceptance by focusing on the present moment, while gracefully acknowledging one’s emotions, thoughts, and senses.

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) offer a pathway to improve psychological health. These therapies involve taking part in mindfulness meditation practices, such as body scans and sitting meditation, along with learning how to use mindful awareness for daily activities. The ultimate objective is to enable individuals to cultivate a greater understanding of their feelings and emotions, ultimately leading them toward a reduction of mental distress.

Behavioral activation therapy: Behavioral Activation is a type of psychotherapy that emphasizes the fact that our feelings are directly influenced by what we do and the environment around us. BA therapy promotes engaging in rewarding, enjoyable activities to lift spirits as well as reduce signs of depression.

Through BA therapy, Dr. Neal Ranen assists in helping his patient identify activities that they have been avoiding or had once enjoyed but no longer do. Together, they will slowly reintroduce these practices until even tough tasks can be smoothly accomplished. As the individual begins to notice the rewards of this behavior and starts to relish life more often than before, usually depression symptoms reduce due to increased moods.

BA therapy is an effective, time-sensitive type of treatment that generally takes place in a one-on-one or group setting. It has been demonstrated to be useful for people suffering from depression and can be implemented alone or alongside other forms of therapy.

These represent just some of the therapeutic approaches Dr. Ranen my take.

Why choose Dr. Neal Ranen?

As an experienced psychiatrist, Dr. Ranen specializes in treating depression in adults through individualized treatment. His goal is to provide personalized treatment plans that address each person’s unique needs and help them manage their symptoms of depression. He strives to create a supportive environment where individuals can explore the underlying causes of their depression and gain insight into ways they can reduce its impact on their lives. With his guidance, his clients can work towards restoring balance in their lives while developing strategies for managing stressors and improving overall well-being.