What Is Depression?

Some 15 million Americans struggle with depression, an illness that comes in many forms—from major depression and seasonal affective disorder, to dysthymia and bipolar disorder. Depression 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.

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 depression cannot merely "pull themselves together" and get better.

Depression, even in the most severe cases, is highly treatable. 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.

Recent Posts on Depression

The Problem With People-Pleasing

By Kristi Pikiewicz PhD on April 24, 2015 in Meaningful You
Do you bend over backwards to make everyone else happy? Then why are you so lonely? Here's why being a people pleaser is a losing long-term strategy.

The Shocking Truth about ECT

By Julie K Hersh on April 24, 2015 in Struck By Living
Should the media be reporting on medical treatments when they lack the time and expertise to fully present information?

The Most Important Thing To Know During Bipolar Episodes

By Tom Wootton on April 23, 2015 in Bipolar Advantage
There is one specialized type of knowledge that trumps all of the others during states of mania and depression, knowing how to function while in the state. While all the other types of knowledge are interesting, knowing how to function can literally be the difference between life and death.

Women and Mental Illness

A host of factors may contribute to the higher prevalence of mental illness in women. In this post, we explore many of these.

10 Ways Mindfulness and Meditation Promote Well-Being

This post includes a "Top Ten" list of ways that mindfulness and meditation promote well-being based on the latest scientific research.

4 Lifestyle Changes That Boost Mental Health

When we seek help for a mental health condition, we can expect to hear about various medications and treatment options, but what’s often missing from the conversation is any talk of lifestyle changes.

Analyzing Analysts

In Shrinks, Jeffrey Lieberman reviews psychiatry's "tumultuous history," and its current emphasis on the medical treatment of mental illnesses. He maintains that psychiatry fares best when it avoids the extremes of reductionist neurobiology and the psychodynamic element in existential disease. That said, Shrinks does not address important questions about talk therapy.

5 Ways to Know When to Leave the Relationship

You don't want to go home anymore. You don't look forward to seeing or being in the actual company of the person with whom you are intimately involved. You prefer the idea of the relationship to the reality of it; you have an idealized image of the beloved that is far enough removed from the everyday, authentic person that being in his or her presence undermines, erodes an

Why I Can't..... or Why Can't I?

Our beliefs and thoughts impact our lives more than any relationship.It would be wise to evaluate how we came to them and whether they truly serve us.

Don't Overthink!

By Temma Ehrenfeld on April 20, 2015 in Open Gently
Be compassionate to yourself during writing exercises.

A Plea to Healthcare Professionals and Mamas in Distress

It's hard to admit outloud that having a baby doesn't feel good for some women. And for 1 out of 7 women who give birth, it makes them very sick.

I'm Having An Impossible Time With A Break-Up

Breaking Up in The Age of Social Media

3 Simple Steps to Control Anger and Frustration with Others

By Jennice Vilhauer Ph.D. on April 19, 2015 in Living Forward
The majority of anger and frustration in life, no matter what the situation, has at it’s basis one simple thought….It shouldn’t be this way. Learn what to do when other people don't play by our rules.

10 Tips to Change From Reactive to Proactive in Situations

All of us encounter experiences in life when we may be temporally overwhelmed by a negative emotion, be it anger, pressure, nervousness, despair, or confusion. In these situations, how we choose to “master the moment” can make the difference between proactive versus reactive, and confidence versus insecurity. Here are ten ways to be less reactive in difficult situations...

Helping Veterans with PTSD Using Yoga

Not only should the VA continue with pilot studies of holistic therapies, but evidence should be taken from related fields, such as addiction treatment, where these therapies have been used for years with great success.

The Expert's Guide to People Watching

The art of people watching most likely dates back to earliest civilization. Putting psychology’s knowledge about nonverbal behavior to use can help you become a pro at this basic human pastime.

Identifying with the “No-Self”

If we can live one moment at a time, we’ll free ourselves like a young child and we’ll discover life can be beautiful. The small changes add up and make a difference.

Alpha Brain Waves Boost Creativity and Reduce Depression

Neuroscientists have discovered that increasing alpha brain waves through electrical stimulation or mindfulness can boost creativity and minimize depression.

How Most Depression Can be Beaten With One Simple Method

By Clifford N Lazarus Ph.D. on April 17, 2015 in Think Well
Behavioral Activation Therapy or BAT might be the single best treatment for depression. Here is what it is, and why it works so well.

The Voice Inside Your Head

We all carry a voice inside our head. What if your internal voice is doing you no good; how do you change it?

Putting the Happiness Back in “Young and Happy”

By Ran Zilca on April 17, 2015 in Confessions of a Techie
Happiness is a by-product of the pursuit of success, rather than successful accomplishments. Individuals who are actively engaged in the pursuit of goals that are meaningful to them, experience a range of positive emotions and become happier.

Body Punishment

By The Book Brigade on April 16, 2015 in The Author Speaks
Obsessive-compulsive disorder takes many forms, but all of them involve repetitive behaviors that often create vicious cycles of anxiety and shame. Maggie Lamond Simone punished herself to maintain a public face—until the same disorder was diagnosed in her child. Only then did the healing begin.

Empathy

How do we come by what's morally right or wrong?

Treatments Available to Long Term Abduction Victims

A variety of therapeutic techniques that focus on empowerment and reconnecting with family can help abduction victims heal.

The Joy of Distraction

Negative affect is among the most important triggers of self-control failures.

5 Reasons to Go Meat Free Right Now!

In what ways can your mind, body, and spirit benefit from going meatless?

Screening Test for Mental Illness

In the past weeks as our sympathies turned to families of the victims of Flight 9525, many have asked how we can allow such evil to exist in our world. But the right question is “How can we allow a person with serious mental illness to fly a commercial airplane?”

Time to Tidy Up Your Head

By Susan B. Winston LMFT on April 13, 2015 in Shift Happens
When a book about tidying up your home hits the top of the best seller's list, there's got to be something worth reading in it. Or maybe this is just a wake up call for all of us to look at the kind of cleaning up we really need to do. The author asks that you completely empty your drawers and closets. I ask that you completely empty out your head.

When a Sociopath Is Hell Bent on Destroying You

By Carrie Barron M.D. on April 13, 2015 in The Creativity Cure
Sociopaths (anti-social personality, psychopath) can decimate a life. The mental, emotional or physical trauma can be stunning. The aftermath of sociopathic is unique because the assault instills a dim world view, a shaky sense of safety and a feeling that one has been visited by evil. Here are 16 points of focus to begin recovery.