What is depression?

Depression is more than just feeling sad or unhappy. It’s feeling overwhelming sadness or a loss of interest and pleasure in your usual activities. Depression can affect almost every aspect of your life, including your behavior, your relationships, and your physical health. It’s one of the most common mental health conditions, and people of all ages and backgrounds experience it. The good news is that, with the right plan, many people can and do get better.

There is no single cause of depression, but traumatic events, genetics, life circumstances, chronic diseases, and drug and alcohol use can trigger or worsen depressive symptoms. To be diagnosed with depression by a health care provider, you need to have symptoms for at least two weeks.

Common symptoms include:

  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Change in appetite
  • Trouble concentrating or making decisions
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Feeling hopeless or worthless
  • Physical aches and pains
  • Suicidal thoughts

Most depression can be managed with a treatment plan, which can include therapy, medication, and self-care strategies.

Not sure where to start? Your health care provider can help.

Read more

Facing Stress with Self-Care by Monica Campbell, Ph.D.

Additional resources