Depression Specialist

Ashraf Abaza, MD -  - Psychiatrist

TMS Medical Therapy of Suffolk County

Ashraf Abaza, MD

Psychiatrist & Psychopharmacologist located in Long Island, Northport, NY

Depression affects nearly 7% of adults, and 64% of them have a tough time taking care of daily responsibilities due to their depression. Dr. Ashraf Abaza at TMS Medical Therapy of Suffolk County has nearly 30 years of experience treating depression, providing comprehensive medication management, multiple types of effective psychotherapies, and alternative treatments such as transcranial magnetic stimulation for treatment-resistant depression. You don’t need to suffer through depression on your own: Call the office in Suffolk County, New York or book an appointment online.

Depression Q & A

What causes depression?

Although depression arises from a chemical imbalance in your brain, the disease is more complex than simply having an insufficient amount of neurotransmitters. Depression develops from many possible causes.

Genetics has a role in depression. If you have a parent or sibling with major depression, your risk of becoming depressed is 2-3 times greater compared with other adults who don’t have a family history of depression.

Chronic stress and trauma also influence your susceptibility to depression. Both can cause subtle changes in your brain that lead to depression. For example, they may affect neurotransmitters or cellular function.

What are the symptoms of major depressive disorder?

When your symptoms affect your ability to work, socialize, or enjoy time with your family, it’s time to seek professional help. Major depression is diagnosed when patients have the first two symptoms plus three or more of the others, nearly every day for at least two weeks:

  • Depressed mood most of the day nearly every day (feeling sad, hopeless)
  • Diminished interest or pleasure in activities
  • Weight loss or weight gain or change in appetite
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia
  • Feelings of restlessness or of being slowed down
  • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt
  • Diminished ability to think or concentrate
  • Recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal ideation, suicide attempt, or a plan to commit suicide

What increases your risk of depression?

In many patients, a specific event triggers major depressive disorder. Postpartum depression is a major depressive disorder that develops during pregnancy or after delivery. It’s often severe enough to interfere with taking care of your new baby.

Trauma also triggers depression, whether you experience physical abuse, sexual abuse, or you have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which develops after you experience or witness a life-threatening event. Depression is about 3-5 times more likely in those with PTSD than people who don’t have PTSD.

Other factors that increase your risk for depression include:

  • Stressful life events such as the death of a loved one, financial problems, or relationship problems
  • Taking certain medications, including beta blockers, calcium channel blockers, and statins
  • Alcoholism, substance abuse, and withdrawal from these substances

Is there an association between depression and chronic disease?

If you have depression, you’re more likely to develop a chronic disease such as cardiovascular disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and Type 2 diabetes. The reverse is also true, as patients with ongoing health conditions have a two-to-threefold higher rate of major depression.

Dr. Abaza is an expert in treating depression related to medical conditions. He has years of experience and completed a Fellowship in Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry at SUNY at Stony Brook, which is a specialty area of psychiatry that focuses on caring for patients with comorbid psychiatric and medical conditions.

What complications develop due to depression?

When depression goes untreated, it interferes with your ability to function. Nearly all patients with major depressive disorders report that their depression harms their social and work lives.

Depression can ruin relationships, lead to substance abuse, and put your livelihood at risk due to taking too much time away from work. Ultimately, depression becomes life-threatening, as 60% of all people who commit suicide are depressed.

How is depression treated?

First-line treatment for depression includes antidepressant medications and psychotherapy (talk therapy). Dr. Abaza offers comprehensive medication management, complex psychopharmacology, and multiple types of therapy proven to treat depression, such as individual psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and interpersonal therapy.

Psychotherapy can help you determine why you’re depressed, learn to resolve the issue, replace negative thoughts with positive ones, and improve relationships.

Dr. Abaza also specializes in dysfunctional relationship management and offers:

Lifestyle evaluation and optimization

Making healthy changes to diet, increasing physical activity, getting restorative sleep, and reducing stress are all critical for improving your recovery and preventing future depression.

Crisis intervention and suicide prevention

Whether you experience a traumatic event, or your depression, anxiety, or PTSD have become more than you can handle, Dr. Abaza is available for crisis intervention: Immediate medical and therapeutic support for reducing your stress and preventing self-harm or suicide.

Alternative therapies

Approximately one-third of patients with depression don’t respond to antidepressant medications. If you have treatment-resistant depression, you may be a good candidate for alternative treatments, such as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS).

What is transcranial magnetic stimulation?

TMS uses short pulses of magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in specific areas of your brain that control mood. The magnetic field boosts neurotransmitters levels, effectively relieving treatment-resistant depression for many patients.

When you develop depression or experience a traumatic event, call TMS Medical Therapy of Suffolk County or book an appointment online.