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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

  • Apr 18, 2019
FDA Approves Novel Depression Treatment

Last month, esketamine nasal spray became the first treatment for depression with a new mechanism of action approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) since Prozac (fluoxetine hydrochloride) was approved in the late 1980s. Esketamine (sold as Spravato) has the potential to be extremely useful for people who have not responded to other treatments. Used in combination with an oral anti-depressant, it can take effect much faster than many common antidepressant medications. However, it comes with specific restrictions on its distribution and usage, potentially serious side effects, a high cost, and cautions from experts including the potential for misuse or dependence

  • Apr 18, 2019
Infertility:  The Impact of Stress and Mental Health

Infertility, though often not talked about, is common. An estimated one in eight couples (or 12% of married women) have trouble getting pregnant or sustaining a pregnancy. There are a range of complex connections between mental health and infertility.

  • Apr 03, 2019
Mental Health on College Campuses:  Multiracial and Asian Students May be at Higher Risk of Untreated Mental Illness

Mental health concerns among college students have increased in recent years—rates of depression, anxiety, substance use and suicidal behaviors have all increased. One in four college students had a psychiatric diagnosis in the past year, and racial-ethnic minority students maybe at high risk of undetected mental illnesses, according to new research published in Psychiatric Services.

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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.

Read More 

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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