What is Depression?

Everyone occasionally feels blue or sad, but these feelings are usually fleeting and pass within a few hours or a couple of days. When people have a depressive disorder, they feel really sad for a long time and cannot shake this feeling. They also often have problems with sleeping, trouble with appetite, feel tired a lot of the time, and have problems concentrating. Depressive disorder interferes with their ability to do things in their lives that they normally can do well; and it causes pain for both the people with the disorder and those who care about them. Depressive disorder is a common but serious illness. Many people never seek treatment for their depression, but most people who experience depression feel better if they get treatment.

How can I help myself if I am depressed?

If you are unsure where to go for help, ask your family doctor or mental health professional. You can also check the phone book under ‘mental health,’ ‘health,’ ’social services,’ ‘hotlines,’ or ‘physicians’ for phone numbers and addresses. There are many useful online resources as well, including:

An emergency room doctor also can provide temporary help and can tell you where and how to get further help.