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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

  • Mar 18, 2019
Pet Robots Helping Dementia Patients

We increasingly hear of robots taking over humans’ jobs, but could robots fill in for dogs in pet therapy? Pet robots are increasingly being used in assisted living facilities and day care centers to help patients with dementia.

  • Mar 15, 2019
Helping Children Through Play

Play is natural and fun for children and an important part of learning and development. Play therapy is a therapy used by licensed mental health professionals to help children to better express their thoughts and emotions and to address a variety of problems. When children are unable to put into words their feelings or concerns, play can help them express themselves and learn ways to cope.  

  • Mar 04, 2019
New Recommendations May Help Prevent Depression in New Mothers

Perinatal depression refers to depression that occurs during pregnancy or following childbirth. It affects more than one in nine new mothers and can be harmful not only for the mother, but also for the infant. Despite media attention and celebrities sharing about their experiences with peripartum depression, it very often goes unrecognized and untreated.

Upcoming Events
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Active Minds

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Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

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Family to Family Training – Find a Local Training
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National Alliance on Mental Illness

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Find a NAMI Family Support Group
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Mental Health Month
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NAMI National Convention
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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

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About the Expert:

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

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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.

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Have a Story of Your Own to Share?

Editor's Choice

DEC 10, 2018

Depression in Seniors: Why the Holidays Can Be Hard

US News and World Report

During the holidays, our thoughts may gravitate to memories of our youth, growing up and time spent with family and friends. But as often happens when we age, family members and friends pass away. Loved ones move far away because of family and job obligations. Feelings of isolation and loneliness can take hold, especially during the holidays, a time that in the past was filled with activities and traditions with family and friends.

DEC 9, 2018

The FOMO Is Real: How Social Media Increases Depression and loneliness

Healthline

Despite the popularity of social media platforms and the rapidity with which they’ve inserted themselves into nearly all facets of our lives, there’s a remarkable lack of clear data about how they affect us personally: our behaviors, our social relationships, and our mental health. In many cases, the information that’s available isn’t pretty. Studies have linked the use of social media to depression, anxiety, poorer sleep quality, lower self-esteem, inattention, and hyperactivity — often in teens and adolescents.

NOV 27, 2018

Proven ways to cope with seasonal affective disorder

Today Show

Winter is famously hard on mental health, but it can be unbearable for people who suffer from seasonal affective disorder. To seek relief, some people turn to dietary supplements. But do they really work? Here's what really helps..

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