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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

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Blog Posts
  • Jul 21, 2017
Friends can be Key in Coping with Mental Health Challenges

Friendships and social interaction are important for everyone’s mental health and well-being, but they can be particularly important to someone who has experienced an episode of psychosis.

  • Jul 21, 2017
Looking to Non-Traditional Approaches to Enhance Mental Health Care

You likely have heard the terms complementary or alternative medicine, or more recently, integrative medicine. But what do those terms mean? Are they all the same? And what do they mean in relation to mental health care?

  • Jul 05, 2017
Mental Health and Skin Connection

Connections between skin problems and mental health concerns may not seem obvious, but they are connected in numerous ways. People with certain skin conditions are significantly more likely to have some mental health conditions like depression. Some skin conditions are triggered by or made worse by emotional stress. And certain mental health conditions contribute directly to skin problems.

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Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

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

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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?

Editor's Choice

MAY 22, 2017

How to spot the symptoms of teenage depression — and possibly save a teen’s life

Miami Herald

People think that only children who cry, are lonely or are bullied suffer from depression. In reality, to be diagnosed with major depression, children must suffer from a depressed mood or find less pleasure in things from which they used to receive enjoyment. Additionally, they MAY experience changes in appetite, sleep, energy and concentration. Some will have feelings of guilt or suicidal thoughts. Five of these symptoms must be present for at least a two-week period to be diagnosed with depression.

MAY 22, 2017

This Surprising Factor Puts You at Risk for Depression

Men’s Health

Depression is one of the most common mental illnesses in the U.S., impacting more than 15 million American adults each year. (It's also an issue that men struggle to talk about.) Some of the risk factors for depression are well-known, like having a family history of the disease and going through a traumatic event. But there are lesser-known elements that can increase the odds you’ll suffer from depression, and new research has uncovered a new one: Your childhood weight.

MAY 19, 2017

What You Need To Know Before Trying 'Natural Cures' For Depression

ATTN:

At least 15 million American adults suffer from Major Depressive Disorder, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. That's a lot of people who need treatment. But while alternative remedies MAY seem appealing, experts warn that when it comes to mental health, "natural cures" should not replace conventional medical intervention.

Natural supplements and vitamins such as St. John’s Wort, 5-HTP, Cod Liver Oil, turmeric, and even essential oils have been said to support improvements in mood, but their reported effectiveness is merely anecdotal.

Resources

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.
January 2017