Depression is an illness that involves the body, mood, and thoughts and affects the way a person eats and sleeps, the way one feels about oneself, and the way one thinks about things. Depressive disorders are characterized by pervasive mood changes that affect all aspects of an individual's daily functioning. A depressive disorder is not the same as a passing blue mood and is more than a case of persistent sadness.
Symptoms of depression also include
- feelings of worthlessness,
- lack of interest in daily activities,
- loss of energy,
- loss of appetite,
- sleep problems,
- self-loathing, and
- thoughts of suicide.
Depression can happen for unknown reasons. Depression can also be caused by medications, pregnancy, postpartum state, abuse, associated illness, chronic stress, seasonal affective disorder, and other conditions.
Symptoms of depression also include feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, guilt, lack of interest in daily activities, and even thoughts of suicide. Depression is not a sign of personal weakness or a condition that can be wished away. People with a depressive disease cannot merely "pull themselves together" and get better. Without treatment, symptoms can last for weeks, months, or years. Appropriate treatment, however, can help most people with depression.
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.
Pictures, Images, Illustrations & Quizzes
Depression Myths: Overwork, Recklessness and More in Pictures
Explore the myths and facts about depression. See how folk remedies and half-truths still prevent many from getting treatment for...
Depression Quiz: Signs & Symptoms
Many people do not recognize the symptoms and warning signs of depression and depressive disorders in children and adults. With...
Depression Therapy: Myths, Facts, and More in Pictures
False ideas scare many depression suffers away from therapy and the quick relief and help these pros can provide. Let our experts...
Depression Tips: Exercise, Diet, Stress Reduction, and More in Pictures
The right exercise, diet, and activities -- even playing with a pet --can help you recover from depression. Learn simple...
Foods That Help Fight Depression
Food cannot prevent depression, but a healthy diet may boost your mood. Foods like salmon, carrots, Brazil nuts and even...
Healthy Aging: Sneaky Depression Triggers in Pictures
There are many causes and triggers of depression. From too little vitamin B12 to too much time alone, look at these surprising...
Learn to Spot Depression: Symptoms, Warning Signs, Medication
What is depression? Get information on symptoms, signs, tests, and treatments for many types of depression including major...
Physical Symptoms of Depression in Pictures
Depression can cause physical problems such as insomnia, chest pain, fatigue, headaches, and more. Learn the signs of depression...
Postpartum Depression: Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment
Postpartum depression is a treatable medical illness which affects women after giving birth. Learn about the symptoms, diagnosis...
Causes of Depression
Adult ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)
About 2%-6% of adults have ADHD, a common behavioral problem. Symptoms include impulsivity, hyperactivity, and inattention....
Alcoholism is a disease that includes alcohol craving and continued drinking despite repeated alcohol-related problems, such as...
Antisocial Personality Disorder
Antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) has many symptoms, signs, and causes. Therapy is one treatment option for antisocial...
Bipolar disorder (or manic depression) is a mental illness characterized by depression, mania, and severe mood swings. Treatment...
Bipolar Disorder in Children and Teens
Bipolar disorder, or manic-depressive illness, is a disorder that causes unusual and extreme mood changes. Symptoms of bipolar...
Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)
Borderline personality disorder is a serious mental illness characterized by pervasive instability in moods, interpersonal...
Bullying is repeated physical or verbal aggression that involves an imbalance of power. Types of bullying include physical,...
Approximately 40 million children suffer abuse every year around the world, and more than 1,500 children die of abuse in the U.S....
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS or SEID)
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) or systemic exertion intolerance disease (SEID) is a debilitating and complex disorder...
Cocaine and Crack Abuse
Cocaine is an addictive stimulant that is smoked, snorted, and injected. Crack is cocaine that comes in a rock crystal that is...
Date Rape Drugs
Date rape drugs such as GHB, rohypnol, and ketamine are sometimes used to assist in a sexual assault. Symptoms and signs of...
Depression in Children
Childhood depression can interfere with social activities, interests, schoolwork and family life. Symptoms and signs include...
Depression in the Elderly
Depression in the elderly is very common. That doesn't mean, though, it's normal. Treatment may involve antidepressants,...
Duck syndrome is a situation initially coined at Stanford University whereby a college student may seem to be calm on the surface...
Emotional eating can be detrimental to one's efforts at weight loss. Learning to identify the situations and emotions that...
Encephalopathy means brain disease, damage, or malfunction. Causes of encephalopathy are varied and numerous. The main symptom of...
Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain condition characterized by symptoms such as fatigue, sleep disturbances, and tender points. Stress...
Hashimoto's Thyroiditis (Symptoms, Diet, Treatments, Pregnancy)
Hashimoto's thyroiditis or chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis, is an autoimmune disorder causing inflammation of the thyroid gland....
Head and Neck Cancer
Head and neck cancer is cancer of the oral cavity, salivary glands, paranasal sinuses and nasal cavity, pharynx, larynx, or lymph...
Holiday Depression, Anxiety, and Stress
Though the holidays are a fun time for most, for others, they're a sad, lonely and anxiety-filled time. Get tips on how to avoid...
Hypothyroidism (Symptoms, Diet, Natural and Medical Treatments, Tests)
Hypothyroidism is any state in which thyroid hormone production is below normal. Normally, the rate of thyroid hormone...
Lyme disease is a bacterial illness, which is spread by ticks when they bite the skin. Initially the disease affects the skin...
Mental health is an optimal way of thinking, relating to others, and feeling. All of the diagnosable mental disorders fall under...
Migraine headache is a type of headache associated with a sensitivity to light, smells, or sounds, eye pain, severe pounding on...
Misophonia is defined as the hatred of sound. Symptoms of this condition include a negative emotional response to certain trigger...
Morgellons disease is a rare condition causing delusions the sufferer has parasites under his or her skin. The disease has a...
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, Life Expectancy
Multiple sclerosis or MS is an autoimmune disorder in which brain and spinal cord nerve cells become demyelinated. This damage...
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder that causes a person to suffer repeated obsessions and compulsions....
Parkinson's disease is a slowly progressive neurological disease characterized by a fixed inexpressive face, a tremor at rest,...
Polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) is a disorder of the muscles and joints that causes pain and stiffness in the arms, neck, shoulders,...
Postpartum depression is a form of depression that occurs within a year after delivery. It is thought that rapid hormone changes...
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a psychiatric condition, can develop after any catastrophic life event. Symptoms include...
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a combination of physical and emotional disturbances that occur after a woman ovulates and ends...
Psychotic disorders are a group of serious illnesses that affect the mind. Different types of psychotic disorders include...
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease that causes chronic inflammation of the joints, the tissue around the joints,...
Rheumatoid Arthritis vs. Fibromyalgia
Though rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and fibromyalgia have similar symptoms, RA is an autoimmune disease and fibromyalgia is a...
Schizoaffective disorder is a mental illness that features schizophrenia and a mood disorder, either major depression or bipolar...
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
Seasonal affective disorder is a type of depression that tends to occur as the days grow shorter in the fall and winter. Symptoms...
Sick Building Syndrome
Multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) or also referred to as sick building syndrome or environmental illness is the name given by...
Sleep apnea is defined as a reduction or cessation of breathing during sleep. The three types of sleep apnea are central apnea,...
Stress occurs when forces from the outside world impinge on the individual. Stress is a normal part of life. However,...
Suicide is the process of intentionally ending one's own life. Approximately 1 million people worldwide commit suicide each year,...
Depression in teenagers may be caused by many factors. Symptoms of teen depression include apathy, irresponsible behavior,...
Vitamin D Deficiency
Vitamin D deficiency has been linked with rickets, cancer, cardiovascular disease, severe asthma in children and cognitive...
West Nile Virus
West Nile virus (West Nile encephalitis) is a brain infection caused by a virus. People become infected with the virus after...
Other Causes of Depression
- Serious Medical Illness
Examples of Medications for Depression
- amitriptyline (Elavil, Endep)
- bupropion (Wellbutrin, Wellbutrin SR, Wellbutrin XL, Zyban, Aplenzin, Fortivo XL, Zyban)
- buspirone, Buspar (Discontinued brand in the US)
- citalopram, Celexa
- clomipramine (Anafranil)
- desipramine, Norpramin
- fluoxetine, Prozac, Sarafem, Prozac Weekly
- fluvoxamine (Luvox and Luvox CR have been discontinued)
- gabapentin (Neurontin)
- imipramine, Tofranil, Tofranil-PM
- Lexapro (escitalopram)
- lithium, Lithobid
- methylphenidate (Ritalin, Ritalin SR, Ritalin LA, Concerta, Methylin, Methylin ER, Daytrana)
- mirtazapine (Remeron, Soltab)
- nefazodone, Serzone
- nortriptyline, Pamelor, Aventyl - has been discontinued in the U.S.
- paroxetine, Paxil, Paxil CR, Pexeva
- Sertraline (Zoloft)
- St. John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum)
- Stimulants (ADHD)
- trazodone (Desyrel - discontinued brand)
- trimipramine (Surmontil)
- venlafaxine, Effexor XR (Effexor has been discontinued in the US)
- vortioxetine (Trintellix - formerly known as Brintellix)