What Is Depression?

Some 15 million Americans struggle with depressionan illness that comes in many forms—from major depression and seasonal affective disorder, to dysthymia and bipolar disorder. Depressive disorder is an illness that involves the body, mood, and thoughts. It interferes with daily life, normal functioning, and causes pain for both the person with the disorder and those who care about him or her.

A depressive disorder is not the same as a passing blue mood. It is not a sign of personal weakness or a condition that can be willed or wished away. People with a depressive illness cannot merely "pull themselves together" and get better.

Depression, even in the most severe cases, is a highly treatable disorder. As with many illnesses, the earlier that treatment can begin, the more effective it is and the greater the likelihood that recurrence can be prevented.

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Depression Blogs

  • Jonathan Rottenberg, PhD

    Charting the Depths

    Reflections on the science of depression.
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    Understanding how your brain makes you depressed and what you can do to change it.
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    Forgiveness and its connection to anxiety, depression, and overall health and happiness
  • Gayathri Ramprasad

    Shadows in the Sun

    Healing from depression and finding the light within
  • Julie Hersh

    Struck By Living

    Coping with depression and living life to the fullest.
  • The Guest Room

    Reports and responses from guest bloggers.
  • Karen Kleiman, MSW, LCSW

    This Isn't What I Expected

    Notes on healing postpartum depression