All Topics

Help With Depression

Curated and updated for the community by APA

Depression (major depressive disorder) is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. Fortunately, it is also treatable.

See definition, symptoms, & treatment

More Posts
Blog Posts
  • Oct 23, 2015
This Halloween, Stigma Shouldn’t Be in Fashion

Stigma is a barrier to care for people with mental illness; more than one in four people cite stigma as a reason that they do not seek care. Being mindful about the way that we portray mental illness is important to help reduce stigma.

  • Oct 09, 2015
A Brief Mental Health Checkup

We often focus more on treating illnesses, both physical and mental, than on staying healthy. But the absence of mental illness does not necessarily mean good mental health.

  • Oct 08, 2015
Today is the 25th Anniversary of National Depression Screening Day

This year marks the 25th anniversary of National Depression Screening Day (NDSD), an awareness event sponsored by Screening for Mental Health.

Upcoming Events
Anxiety and Depression Conference 2016
  • Philadelphia, Pa.
  • Thur,  Mar  31 - Sun,  Apr  03
Mental Health Month
  • Sun,  May  01
Mental Health America Annual Conference
  • Alexandria, Va.
  • Wed,  Jun  08 - Fri,  Jun  10

What is the difference between normal sadness or grieving and depression?

Everyone experiences a range of emotions over the course of days and weeks, typically varying based on events and circumstances. When disappointed, we usually feel sad. When we suffer a loss, we grieve. Normally these feelings ebb and flow. They respond to input and changes. By contrast, depression tends to feel heavy and constant. People who are depressed are less likely to be cheered, comforted or consoled. People who recover from depression often welcome the ability to feel normal sadness again, to have a “bad day,” as opposed to a leaden weight on their minds and souls every single day. More

Once a person has been diagnosed and treated for depression, is it likely to return?

Of people diagnosed with major depressive disorder, who are treated and recover, at least half are likely to experience a recurrent episode sometime in their future. It may come soon after or not for many years. It may or may not be triggered by a life event. After several episodes of major depression, a psychiatrist may suggest long-term treatment. More

What kinds of treatments work for depression?

A wide variety of treatments have been proven effective in treating depression. Some involve talking and behavioral change. Others involve taking medications. There are also techniques that focus on neuromodulation, which incorporates electrical, magnetic or other forms of energy to stimulate brain pathways. Examples of neuromodulation include electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), vagus-nerve stimulation (VNS), transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and the experimental deep-brain stimulation (DBS).

The choice of therapy should be guided by the nature and severity of depression, past responses to treatment, and the patient’s and family’s beliefs and preferences. Whatever approach is selected, the patient should be a willing and actively participate, engaging in psychotherapy or regularly taking the medication, for example. More

What do I need to tell my doctor when discussing my feelings of depression?

Total openness is important. You should talk to your doctor about all of your symptoms, important milestones in your life and any history of abuse or trauma. Also tell your doctor about past history of depression or other emotional symptoms in yourself or family members, medical history, medications you are taking — prescribed or over-the-counter, how depression has affected your daily life and whether you ever think about suicide. More

About the Expert:

Alan Gelenberg, M.D.
Chair of Department of Psychiatry
Penn State University, College of Medicine

Trish’s Story


Trish was a 51-year-old woman who was brought to the emergency room by her husband. She said, “I feel like killing myself.” She had lost her interest in life about four months before. During that time, she reported depression every day for most of the day. Symptoms had been getting worse for months. More

Have a Story of Your Own to Share?

Find a Psychiatrist

Find a psychiatrist in your area today.

Search Now

APA Resources

Understanding Mental Disorders: Your Guide to DSM-5

Understanding Mental Disorders is a consumer guide designed to promote education and understanding among anyone who has been touched by mental illness.

 Editor's Choice
  • Oct 19, 2015

4 Strategies to Help Men Get Through Depression
Huffington Post

NIH and CDC statistics explain that women have a higher likelihood of being depressed. Many experts disagree - noting that depression is just less diagnosed in men. More

  • Oct 20, 2015

Machines That Can See Depression on a Person's Face
The Atlantic

For one thing, depressed people and non-depressed people smile with the same frequency. But the kinds of smiling they did were different. More


Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Mental Health America

National Alliance on Mental Illness

National Institute on Mental Health

Physician Review By:

Ranna Parekh, M.D., M.P.H.
March 2015