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

No Longer at the Mercy of Our Moods

By Tom Wootton on October 08, 2015 Bipolar Advantage
As a culture, we are learning to separate thought from action and stimulus from response. This makes it less likely, less acceptable, and less necessary that any of us be at "the mercy of our moods."

Do Your Expectations Get In the Way Of Your Happiness?

With every job you’ve ever taken, have you noticed a stark difference between what you initially thought the job was going to be like and what it actually turned out to be like six months later?

Medications and Weight Gain: We Need Support

Have you gained weight from taking medications for bipolar disorder? Are you getting support or feeling stigmatized?

How Has Postpartum Depression Impacted You?

Stressful events hold the possibility of change, both positive and negative.

After a Stillbirth, Interpersonal Support Facilitates Coping

Finding support is key for emotional recovery after a stillbirth

Meet the Free Online Tool that Assesses Your Depression Risk

Today is National Depression Screening Day, which means you can take a free online test to determine if you have any early warning signs of depression.

Leslie Pietrzyk: Grief and Condolences

By Jennifer Haupt on October 07, 2015 One True Thing
After my husband died I needed help but didn't know how to ask. A funeral is many things, including that giant to-do list, but repairing a shattered life is pretty much only one thing: hard work. The paradox is that no one else can do it for you, yet you can’t do it alone.

Why You Can't 'Just Say No' to Stress

With mental health awareness month upon us, there's lots of information circulating that can either help or hinder our understanding of our emotions and reactions to stress. We need to weed through the messages to ensure we don't assume it's only a matter of will power, but something requiring all hands on deck across our social institutions to avoid becoming fried.

Can Your Birthday Predict Your Mental Health?

Despite debunking the myth of astrology, however, scientists have found that a person’s projected health can be linked to his or her birthday. The month in which people are born can influence their future, from their longevity to their future profession.

Overcome Feeling Like a Fraud or Failure

Success often brings unexpected anxieties and feelings of being a fraud. When this happens, you may press for more accomplishments or accolades. But this only seems to perpetuate your anxieties. Despite what it seems, there is a way out of the seemingly unending self-doubt and self-criticism.

Journalists Can Be Nearly as Prone to PTSD as Combat Vets

By Eric Newhouse on October 06, 2015 Invisible Wounds
Recent studies show that war correspondents and photojournalists covering combat may have five times the normal rate of PTSD. Some national and international news organizations are now offering counseling to employees who are having trouble processing what they've seen on the job.

Suicide as a Form of Homicide

There are as many reasons for killing oneself as there are for killing other people.

10 Ways to Appreciate Your Life More

Appreciating your life is not supposed to be work. It’s a way of allowing yourself to forgive any transgressions and make the promise that you won’t go down that path again. It’s easy if you do things that you know will be appreciated.

Preventing Regret

What people tend to regret the most near the end of their lives is that they have not been more compassionate, loving, and supportive to those they love. A presage of this kind of regret comes with the untimely death of a loved one. The common self-doubt, even in relationships that were very close and loving, is something like: “Did she really know how much I loved her?”

Face-to-Face Social Contact Reduces Risk of Depression

Having limited face-to-face social contact can nearly double someone's risk of depression, according to a new study.

5 Reasons Suffering People Don’t Want to Try Medication

By Karen L Smith MSS, LCSW on October 04, 2015 Full Living
While it is true that we live in a world that too quickly turns to medication, it doesn't mean people with anxiety and depressive disorders should go without. This may be our one and only life; it is worth removing barriers to our contentment.

Depression Treatment Stinks. What Next?

Reinventing the wheel has not produced better wheels. The treatment options for depression need to become widened and opened up - with the emphasis on improving overall health.

7 Reasons Why Laziness Is a Myth

Debunking the Myth of Laziness. 7 reasons “slackers” don’t exert effort. Laura D. Miller, LCSW

Christopher Harper-Mercer fits the profile

By Clark McCauley Ph.D. on October 03, 2015 Friction
Could we have predicted violence from Christopher Harper-Mercer?

Inside The Mind of the Mass Killer

Knoll wonders if the true solution to mass murder might involve a three pronged approach - better media responsibility over reporting these incidents, tighter gun regulation and improved mental health services.

The Difference between Sadness and Depression

By Guy Winch Ph.D. on October 02, 2015 The Squeaky Wheel
Because we associate depression with its primary symptom of pervasive sadness, many of us struggle to tell the difference between these two common psychological states. And that is a huge problem.

Get in Touch With Your Core Value

The rewards for staying true to your deepest values are great: Authenticity, conviction, long-term wellbeing. And the reminders for violating them are terrible: guilt, shame, anxiety, regret, feeling inadequate or unlovable.

Therapy and Meds Fight Depression

By Temma Ehrenfeld on October 01, 2015 Open Gently
Therapy can help you beat depression, even those its effectiveness has been overestimated.

The Essence of Managing Anxiety

Stress, anxiety and worry make us uneasy and can derail efforts to stay calm. Here are 10 simple ways to keep calm can make it possible to carry on even in difficult situations.

Detection and Management of Depression and Bipolar Disease

By Julie K Hersh on October 01, 2015 Struck By Living
On September 1, 2015, the Center for Depression Research and Clinical Care at UT Southwestern under the direction of Dr. Madhukar Trivedi was officially launched. Dr. Trivedi, an internationally recognized expert in depression and mood disorders, received the 2015 American Psychiatric Association Award for Research, the Association’s most significant award for research.

Dreadful Companions Called Fear, Guilt and Shame

Along with anger comes companion emotions that need to be examined as you heal from your eating disorder or disordered eating. Anger can be an immediate response to pain in your life. Fear, guilt and shame, however, follow close behind.

The Secret to Keeping Your Cool When You’re Really Mad

By Emma M. Seppälä Ph.D. on September 30, 2015 Feeling It
Anger costs us a lot, but it's also helpful. Here's a science-based secret to reaping the good while avoiding the bad.

Antidepressants and Violence: A Link in Search of a Cause

A controversial study links higher youth crime rates with antidepressant use. Before making broad conclusions, however, it’s worth reading the fine print.

Is Your Diet SAD?

By Peter Bongiorno ND, LAc on September 29, 2015 Inner Source
Do you think your getting all the nutrients you need? You eat right, right? Mmmm… maybe not. See what the research is saying, and check these 7 steps to make sure you covering the bases.

Diet Coaching Can Stave Off Depression

By Temma Ehrenfeld on September 29, 2015 Open Gently
Diet coaching can prevent depression.