What is Depression?

Depression is a common and sometimes serious disorder of mood that can be quite intense.  It affects the mind and body at the same time.  It may be associated with an imbalance of chemicals in the brain that carry communications between nerve cells which control mood and other basic bodily functions, such as appetite and sleep.  Other factors may also come into play, such as negative life experiences such as stress or loss, medical illnesses, and genetic factors.

What are the Symptoms of Depression?

persistent sad or empty mood decreased energy or fatigue
loss of interest in usual activities difficulty concentrating or making decisions
changes in appetite or weight feelings of guilt, hopelessness, or worthlessness
inability to sleep or oversleeping thoughts of death or suicide
restlessness or sluggishness  

The Extent of the Problem

--Between 17 and 20 million Americans each year develop some form of depression

--One out of every five adults may experience depression at some point in their lives


Most people experience feelings of anxiety before an important event such as a big exam, business presentation, or first date.  Anxiety disorders, however, are illnesses that fill people's lives with overwhelming anxiety and fear that are chronic, unremitting, and can grow progressively worse.  Tormented by panic attacks, obsessive thoughts, flashbacks, nightmares, or countless frightening physical symptoms, some people with anxiety disorders even become housebound.  Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in America; more than 19 million Americans are affected by these debilitating illnesses each year.


--Antidepressant medications may take several weeks to be effective. 

--Therapy has multiple aims, from helping the person to develop new ways of thinking and resolving current and/or past conflicts.

--For most people, the combination of therapy and medication is the most effective treatment.