Depression (major depressive disorder) is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. Fortunately, it is also treatable. Depression causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease a person’s ability to function at work and at home.
Depression symptoms can vary from mild to severe and can include:
Feeling sad or having a depressed mood
Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
Changes in appetite — weight loss or gain unrelated to dieting
Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
Loss of energy or increased fatigue
Increase in purposeless physical activity (e.g., hand-wringing or pacing) or slowed movements and speech (actions observable by others)
Feeling worthless or guilty
Difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions
Thoughts of death or suicide
Symptoms must last at least two weeks for a diagnosis of depression. Also, medical conditions (e.g., thyroid problems, a brain tumor or vitamin deficiency) can mimic symptoms of depression so it is important to rule out general medical causes.
Depression affects an estimated one in 15 adults (6.7%) in any given year. And one in six people (16.6%) will experience depression at some time in their life. Depression can strike at any time, but on average, first appears during the late teens to mid-20s. Women are more likely than men to experience depression. Some studies show that one-third of women will experience a major depressive episode in their lifetime.
--American Psychiatric Association
Children and Adolescents
Child Mind Institute
Families for Depression Awareness
Families USANational Child Traumatic Stress Network
Selective Mutism Group
Selective Mutism Foundation
Teens and College Students
Minding Your Mind
National Eating Disorders Association
Promoting Student Mental Health
Student Mental Health: A Guide to Identifying Disorders and Promoting Wellness
The Jed Foundation
Food and Drug Administration Office of Women's Health provides these links:
Depression--Medicines to Help You. Use this information to help you talk to your doctor.
Women in Clinical Trials: Why should women participate in clinical trials? Medical products can affect men and women differently. Sometimes women have different side effects. It is important that women participate to show if products are safe and work well in both men and women. En Español
Pregnancy Registries: Many women need to take medicine while they are pregnant. Enrolling in a pregnancy exposure registry can help improve safety information for medicines used during pregnancy and can be used to update drug labeling. Learn more about how you can help.
Military and Military Families
Helping Children Cope During Deployment — Real Warriors Campaign, Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE)
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
American Psychiatric Association
American Psychological Association
Brain and Behavior Research Foundation
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA)
Mental Health America
NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness)
National Institute of Mental Health