All Topics

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

More Posts
Blog Posts
  • Jan 19, 2017
Executive Function of the Brain: Key to Organizing, Managing Time and More

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.

  • Jan 17, 2017
Addressing Insomnia: Getting a Good Night’s Sleep without Medication

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.

  • Jan 10, 2017
For Women, the Timing of Symptoms Can be Important

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.

Upcoming Events
Monthly Webinars to Calm Anxious Minds
  • Tue,  Jan  17 - Tue,  Jan  31

Anxiety and Depression Association of America


Mental Health America

Find local events and support from NAMI
  • Wed,  Jan  18 - Tue,  Jan  31

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)


Active Minds

Find a local support group
  • Wed,  Jan  18 - Tue,  Jan  31

Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA)

Support group locator
  • Wed,  Jan  18 - Tue,  Jan  31

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

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Learn about Seasonal Affective Disorder, including symptoms, risk factors and treatment options.

Learn More

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. More

Have a Story of Your Own to Share?

Editor's Choice
  • Dec 27, 2016

5 conditions that can be mistaken for depression
6 On Your Side

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.

  • Dec 25, 2016

Study: Young People Who Use Multiple Social Media Platforms Are More Likely to be Depressed
Big Think

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.

  • Dec 27, 2016

4 things depression tests don't tell you

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.


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