Clinical depression goes by many names -- depression, "the blues," biological depression, major depression. But it all refers to the same thing: feeling sad and depressed for weeks or months on end -- not just a passing blue mood of a day or two. This feeling is most often accompanied by feelings of hopelessness, a lack of energy (or feeling "weighed down"), and taking little or no pleasure in things that once gave a person joy in the past.
Depression symptoms take many forms, and no two people's depression are exactly alike. A person who's depressed may not seem sad to others. They may instead complain about how they just "can't get moving," or are feeling completely unmotivated to do just about anything. Even simple things -- like getting dressed in the morning or eating -- become large obstacles in daily life. People around them -- their friends and family -- notice the change too. Often they want to help, but just don't know how.
Depression is different from normal sadness -- like when you lose a loved one -- as it envelops a person in their day-to-day living. It doesn't stop after just a day or two -- it will continue on for weeks on end, interferring with the person's work or school, their relationships with others, and their ability to enjoy life and just have. Some people feel like a huge hole of emptiness when experiencing depression.
Our library of depression resources can help you better explore what depression is about. We encourage you to print out things you'd like to read more carefully, and bring anything you have additional questions about to your family doctor or a mental health professional.
Depression is readily treated nowadays with modern antidepressant medications and short-term, goal-oriented psychotherapy. No matter how hopeless things may feel today, people with depression can get better with treatment. Continue reading this introduction to depression...
What's Depression Feel Like?Certainty that an acute episode [of depression] will last only a week, a month, even a year, would change everything. It would still be a ghastly ordeal, but the worst thing about it -- the incessant yearning for death, the compulsion toward suicide -- would drop away. But no, a limited depression, a depression with hope, is a contradiction. The experience of convulsive pain, along with the conviction that it will never end except in death -- that is the definition of a severe depression.
Depression in the News
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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 31 Jan 2016
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