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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

  • Jul 13, 2018
Dialectical Behavior Therapy Can Help Teens at Risk of Suicide

Despite increased awareness and understanding of mental health issues, the tragedy of teen suicide and self-harm are growing problems in the U.S. Among teens and young adults age 10 to 24, suicide is the second-leading cause of death (after accidents), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The rate of teen suicide has been on the rise for more than a decade. New research finds that specific type of psychotherapy, dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), may help save lives and prevent self-harm among high-risk teens.

  • Jul 10, 2018
Six Tips for Maintaining Good Mental Health and Well-Being

Your overall well-being involves not only physical but also mental health. The World Health Organization says that “mental health is an integral part of health; indeed, there is no health without mental health.” Just as there are things you can do to maintain your physical health, you can take steps to maintain your mental health. Here are a few tips, resources and ideas for maintaining good mental health.

  • Jun 14, 2018
Poverty and Other Life Circumstances Can Harm Mental Health: Addressing the Social Determinants of Mental Health

The conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age are collectively referred to as social determinants of mental health. They include education, neighborhood and physical environment, employment, social support networks, socioeconomic status and access to health care. These circumstances often create a cycle where poverty contributes to mental health issues which in turn lead to further poverty.

Upcoming Events
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2018
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Family to Family Training – Find a Local Training
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2018
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2018
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Support Group Locator
  • Tue,  May  01 - Thur,  May  31
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Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Jun
2018
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Mental Health America Annual Conference
  • Washington, DC
  • Thur,  Jun  14 - Sat,  Jun  16
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Jun
2018
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NAMI National Convention
  • New Orleans, La.
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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

MAY 10, 2018

Depression Has Spiked By 33% In the Last Five Years, a New Report Says

Time

Diagnoses of clinical depression — also known as major depression— have risen by 33% since 2013, according to a new report from health insurer Blue Cross Blue Shield. The report, which was based on insurance claims filed by 41 million privately insured Blue Cross Blue Shield members, calls depression the “second most impactful condition on overall health for commercially insured Americans,” behind only high blood pressure. That’s because people with depression also tend to have other health issues, such as chronic illnesses and substance abuse, and as a result may have more significant health care needs and experience worse health outcomes over time.

MAY 10, 2018

Vitamin D Supplementation May Help Ease Depression 

Medscape

IA study of 172 women without depression and aged between 45 and 60 has found that a year of HRT treatment can help stop symptoms of depression emerging in women who are entering the menopause or who are in the early stages of post-menopause. 

MAY 8, 2018

Ketamine Stirs Up Hope—and Controversy—as a Depression Drug

Wired

Ketamine is an old medication; it was first synthesized in 1962 as a safer alternative to then-available anesthetics, which sometimes suppressed patients' breathing to the point of killing them. It's considered so safe by anesthesiologists that it's routinely used on children. But it has also become a popular club drug and can be addictive.  Research on ketamine as an antidepressant is in its infancy, but scientists speculate that it increases brain plasticity, the ability of the brain to change.

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