Depression

Sadness touches our lives at different times, but usually comes and goes. Depression, in contrast, often has enormous depth and staying power. It is more than a passing bout of "the blues." Depression can leave you feeling continuously burdened and can squash the joy you once got out of pleasurable activities.

When depression strikes, doctors usually probe what's going on in the mind and brain first. But it's also important to check what's going on in the body, since some medical problems are linked to mood disturbances. In fact, physical illnesses and medication side effects are behind up to 15% of all depression cases.

Depression isn't a one-size-fits-all illness. Instead, it can take many forms. Everyone's experience and treatment for depression is different. Effective treatments include talk therapy, medications, and exercise. Even bright light is used to treat a winter-onset depression known as seasonal affective disorder. Treatment can improve mood, strengthen connections with loved ones, and restore satisfaction in interests and hobbies.

New discoveries are helping improve our understanding of the biology of depression. These advances could pave the way for even more effective treatment with new drugs and devices. Better understanding of the genetics of depression could also usher in an era of personalized treatment.

Depression Articles

More evidence that exercise can boost mood

Researchers found that regular exercise seems to prevent depression. The study used genetic data to answer the question of whether a lack of movement causes depression or if depression causes people to move less. Moving more, even when just performing ordinary daily activities, such as walking or gardening, can reduce the risk of depression. More »

The mental side of recovery

A major health issue, like surgery, an injury, or even a heart attack is hard enough to deal with without having to also confront the stress, anxiety, and even depression that often comes with it. Yet taking care of one’s mental health is just as important as physical health when it comes to recovery. Relying more on social support, focusing on being more active, and using past successful strategies can help. (Locked) More »

Grief can hurt — in more ways than one

The emotional side of grieving can affect the whole body and all organ systems, and maybe even the immune system. Grief is associated with stress; heart problems; depression; and depression-related symptoms such as insomnia, social withdrawal, and a loss of appetite. Though it may feel difficult, it’s important to maintain healthy habits during a period of grief, such as eating right and exercising. Social connections—seeing friends and family—are also crucial for good health, even when grieving. More »

The no-drug approach to mild depression

While antidepressants can relieve and control symptoms of mild or moderate depression, they are not the only option. Fortunately, many nondrug options are available to help manage depression symptoms and prevent future episodes, such as exercising regularly, avoiding unhealthy foods, expressing gratitude, and staying socially active. More »

Updated exercise guidelines showcase the benefits to your heart and beyond

The 2018 exercise guidelines say that even short bouts of activity lasting just a few minutes can count toward the recommended goal of 150 minutes of moderate activity per week. The steepest drop in heart disease risk occurs at the lowest, initial levels of activity. In addition, a single bout of exercise seems to confer immediate benefits in four factors linked to heart health, including blood pressure, anxiety, insulin sensitivity, and sleep. More »

Finding hidden risk for heart disease

Most men are familiar with the common factors related to a higher heart disease risk, like cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, poor diet, and inadequate exercise. But there are other signs of risk men may not recognize, such as erectile dysfunction, abdominal fat, gum disease, and depression. The good news is that once these issues are recognized, they can be addressed and managed. (Locked) More »

The head-heart connection: Mental health and heart disease

People with high levels of psychological distress, including symptoms of anxiety and depression, may be more likely to have a heart attack or a stroke. Mood disorders and heart disease may have shared, underlying causes that begin even before birth that are carried throughout life. A fetus exposed to its mother’s immune or inflammatory responses may experience changes that affect specific brain regions that regulate both mood and cardiac function. (Locked) More »

From street drug to depression therapy

Ketamine is a treatment option for people with depression whose condition has not responded to other medications. Use of the drug, however, remains somewhat controversial, and not everyone is a candidate. Providers should conduct an assessment to determine if the medication is appropriate for the individual, and conduct monitoring and follow-up to ensure safety. More »

Feeling young could signal a younger brain

People who feel younger than their age scored higher on memory tests, rated themselves as healthy, and were less likely to have symptoms of depression compared with those who did not feel younger. More »

Strengthen your mood with weight training

Resistance training exercises aren’t just good for your body and your cardiovascular system. They might also boost mood, according to a new study. People who participated in resistance training between two or more days a week had fewer symptoms of depression than those who did not. (Locked) More »