is a serious medical illness; it’s
not something that you have made up in your head. It’s more
than just feeling "down in the dumps" or "blue" for
a few days. It’s feeling "down" and "low" and "hopeless" for
weeks at a time.
is an illness that involves the body, mood and thoughts. It affects
the way a person eats and sleeps,
the way one feels about
oneself and the way one thinks about things. Depression 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 depression
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 who suffer from
Depressive disorders come in different forms, just as is the case
with other illnesses such as heart disease. Three of the most common
types of depressive disorders are major depression, dysthymia, and
bipolar disorder. However, within these types there are variations
in the number of symptoms, their severity, and persistence.
Many forms of
psychotherapy, including some short-term (10- to 20-week) therapies,
can help depressed individuals. "Talking" therapies
help patients gain insight into and resolve their problems through
verbal exchange with the therapist, sometimes combined with "homework" assignments
between sessions. "Behavioral" therapists help patients
learn how to obtain more satisfaction and rewards through their own
actions and how to unlearn the behavioral patterns that contribute
to or result from their depression.