Clinical depression is more than just feeling blue or down after a bad day at work. People who are clinically depressed feel down, sad, or hopeless all the time, for weeks on end. They often become disinterested in things they used to enjoy. In addition to feeling low all the time, depressed persons often have trouble sleeping or eating. They find that they have trouble with their thinking; they may not be able to concentrate well enough to read or even watch television. Depressed persons often spend a lot of time thinking about death, or thinking that they would be better off dead. These symptoms are similar to those experienced by someone who is grieving the death of a loved one. However, in depression, these feelings arise without such a loss, or they last much longer than normal grief.
Behavior therapy, cognitive therapy, and interpersonal therapy have all been well-established as beneficial treatments for major depression. In addition, some evidence suggests that brief dynamic therapy, self-control therapy, and social problem-solving therapy are useful in the treatment of major depression. Finally, some evidence from studies with older adults suggests that cognitive therapy and reminiscence therapy are useful in the treatment of geriatric major depression. While other psychotherapies may be helpful in the treatment of depression, they have not been evaluated scientifically in the same way as the treatments listed here. Many medications are also helpful for depression, but we do not cover medications in this website. Of course, we recommend a consultation with a mental health professional for an accurate diagnosis and discussion of various treatment options. When you meet with a professional, be sure to work together to establish clear treatment goals and to monitor progress toward those goals. Feel free to print this information and take it with you to discuss your treatment plan with your therapist.
For more information about depression, advice on obtaining treatment, and support from other sufferers, click on Wing of Madness: A Depression Guide. Another informative site with information on depression symptoms, treatment, and online resources is maintained by Mental Health Net.