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
You may have heard the term executive function in regards to the brain, but what does it mean when a person has difficulties with executive function? Executive function is a set of mental processes that helps us get things done.
Trouble sleeping is a familiar problem for many people. About one in three adults reports some symptoms of insomnia, and 6 to 10 percent of adults meet the criteria for insomnia disorder. Insomnia involves difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep through the night. Difficulties sleeping often occurs along with other mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety.
Many women experience changes affecting mood, behavior and quality of life associated with menstrual cycle fluctuations. Those changes can range from very mild to severe and limiting.
Anxiety and Depression Association of America
Mental Health America
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA)
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
About the Expert:
Alan Gelenberg, M.D. Chair of Department of Psychiatry Penn State University, College of Medicine
Learn about Seasonal Affective Disorder, including symptoms, risk factors and treatment options.
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
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You may know someone who is clinically depressed or you may suffer from depression yourself. However, there are several disorders that resemble depression that shouldn’t be overlooked. Feelings of helplessness, anxiety and consistent sadness may look like depression or major depressive disorder, but could also signify something like a vitamin deficiency or hypothyroidism. Here are five conditions that may mirror depression but to be successfully treated need to be identified and tackled for what they actually are.
Researchers published an eye-opening analysis that shows just how much social media and depression are linked in young adults. The more social media platforms they are on, the more likely they are to be depressed. The analysis was led by a team from the University of Pittsburgh Center for Research on Media, Technology and Health. In particular, the scientists found that people who reported using 7 to 11 social media platforms were 3 times more likely to exhibit symptoms of depression and anxiety than their counterparts who used 0 to 2 such platforms.
Depression is a sneaky disease that can creep back if you don't remain vigilant and fight back every day. But don't worry, you are not alone.
Let’s just get this out of the way up top: I have depression. It doesn’t mean that I’m just a sad guy. It means that I have a diagnosable illness recognised by the medical profession that affects my life every day. I’m here to tell you a few things about depression that you may not realise.
National Alliance on Mental Illness
National Institute on Mental Health
Physician Review By:
Ranna Parekh, M.D., M.P.H.