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

When the arrival of menopause brings symptoms of depression

The odds of experiencing symptoms of depression go up as women reach perimenopause and early postmenopause. Hormone therapy has been shown to help ward off these symptoms. But experts say despite the findings, hormone therapy should be used for prevention only in limited circumstances, because the treatment brings its own risks. More »

How to overcome grief’s health-damaging effects

Grieving over the death of a spouse, friend, or family member exposes people to many months of constant stress that can lead to anxiety, depression, trouble sleeping, and general aches and pains. This can place people at a greater risk for a heart attack, stroke, or even death, especially in the first few months of losing someone. Adopting several mind-body strategies designed to help lower and manage stress can help people get through the grieving process. (Locked) More »

Is your drinking becoming a problem?

Statistics show that drinking among older women is on the rise. Many women suffer from alcohol use disorder. Identifying and accepting it can lead to successful treatment. (Locked) More »

Antidepressant side effects: Feeling better, but not quite right?

Antidepressant medications can be a godsend for people struggling with the dark mantle of depression. Yet like all drugs, they can cause side effects, which is why it's important to be aware of any changes in your body when you begin any new medication. If you have any uncomfortable or worrisome antidepressant side effects, tell your doctor immediately. But for many of the mildly distressing side effects, a few simple steps may help. Here are some suggestions for managing side effects of antidepressants. More »

The healing power of art

Creative activities, particularly when undertaken with the direction of a trained art therapist, can relieve stress and aid communication in people with cancer, dementia, or depression. Doing arts and crafts can help arrest cognitive decline in healthy older people. (Locked) More »

The finer points of acupuncture

The ancient practice of acupuncture has been used to help heal and manage ailments such as chronic pain, low back pain, and arthritis. The treatment involves inserting hair-thin needles into specific points on the body to help release energy that may be blocked because of illness or other imbalances. While the supporting research is ongoing and mixed, men may benefit from the treatment either by itself or as part of traditional pain therapy. (Locked) More »

How depression affects your thinking skills

Often, one of the first signs of depression in people ages 70 or older is a change in thinking. This may show up as trouble with attention, memory, decision making, information processing, or executive function. Because the symptoms of depression are similar to those of other conditions, depression is often overlooked. When these symptoms occur, a primary care physician should do a depression screening. Treating depression leads to marked improvement in thinking, memory, and executive function. (Locked) More »