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

  • Nov 26, 2019
Is Social Jet Lag Dragging You Down?

Social jet lag refers to the mismatch between a person’s internal clock and their daily schedules. For most people that means the difference in sleep schedules between weekdays (school or workdays) and weekends (non-workdays).

  • Nov 26, 2019
World AIDS Day

World AIDS Day, Dec. 1, is a time to remember, to educate and to decrease stigma around HIV/AIDS. The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Communities Make the Difference," recognizing the essential role that communities have played supporting people living with HIV and advocating for better access to prevention and treatment. For people with HIV, it’s important to take care of both physical health and mental health. People with HIV have increased risk for mental health problems.

  • Nov 21, 2019
International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day

Nov. 23 is International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day, a day designated by Congress as a day for those affected by suicide to come together for healing and support. It falls on the Saturday before Thanksgiving each year.

Upcoming Events
Feb
2019
01

Active Minds

Feb
2019
01

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Feb
2019
01
Family to Family Training – Find a Local Training
  • Fri,  Feb  01 - Thur,  Feb  28

National Alliance on Mental Illness

Feb
2019
01
Find a NAMI Family Support Group
  • Fri,  Feb  01 - Thur,  Feb  28

National Alliance on Mental Illness

May
2019
01
Mental Health Month
  • Wed,  May  01 - Fri,  May  31
Jun
2019
19
NAMI National Convention
  • Seattle, Washington
  • Wed,  Jun  19 - Sat,  Jun  22

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

ajg-expert.jpg

About the Expert:

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

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Learn about Seasonal Affective Disorder, including symptoms, risk factors and treatment options.

Learn More

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.

Read More 

APA Resources
Find a Psychiatrist

Find a psychiatrist in your area today.

Search Now

Editor's Choice

APR 8, 2019

'Shazam!' star Zachary Levi has opened up about his battle with anxiety and depression saying it was really dark phase in his life.

Economic Times

The 38-year-old actor said during his youth the mental illness reached a point where he even contemplated suicide as an option. Levi revealed he underwent therapy to fight off anxiety and depression. "I think mental health is the most important thing we should all be talking about, legitimately. I have therapists in Los Angeles and also people I will use sometimes when I'm not in L.A," he said..

APR 4, 2019

OPINION:  Don't jump for joy over new FDA-approved postpartum depression medicine yet

USA Today

Treatment is $34,000, and we don't even know whether it lasts longer than 30 days.  For safety reasons, this treatment must be administered in a medical setting, such as a hospital, which could add thousands of dollars to the cost. And even after all these costs are incurred, we don’t know whether the effects last longer than 30 days or whether women will sink back into the darkness of depression.

NOV 27, 2018

The New Depression Treatment Esketamine Helped Me Get My Life Back. But I Don't Know If I Can Take It Forever 

Time

This is the story of Amelia D., a 37-year-old living in Michigan who asked to keep her last name private for privacy reasons. She has been enrolled in an esketamine trial at the Rochester Center for Behavioral Medicine, in Rochester, Mich., since 2017.

Resources

Additional Resources and Organizations

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Mental Health America

National Alliance on Mental Illness

National Institute on Mental Health

Physician Reviewed

Ranna Parekh, M.D., M.P.H.
January 2017