Skip to main content
Health Management and Education

Health Management and Education

Healing from depression

What is depression?

Everyone occasionally feels blue or sad, but these feelings are usually fleeting and pass within a couple of days. When a person has a depressive disorder, it interferes with daily life, normal functioning, and causes pain for both the person with the disorder and those who care about him or her. Depression is a common but serious medical condition, and most who experience it need treatment to get better.


What are the different forms of depression?

There are several forms of depressive disorders. The most common are major depressive disorder and dysthymic disorder.

Depression is a common but serious medical condition. Major Depressive Disorder

Also called major depression, is characterized by a combination of symptoms that interfere with a person's ability to work, sleep, study, eat, and enjoy once–pleasurable activities. Major depression is disabling and prevents a person from functioning normally. An episode of major depression may occur only once in a person's lifetime, but more often, it recurs throughout a person's life.

Dysthymic Disorder 

Also called dysthymia [dis-thahy-mee-uh], is characterized by long–term (two years or longer) but less severe symptoms that may not disable a person but can prevent one from functioning normally or feeling well. People with dysthymia may also experience one or more episodes of major depression during their lifetimes.


What are the signs and symptoms of depression? 

People with depressive illnesses do not all experience the same symptoms. The severity, frequency and duration of symptoms will vary depending on the individual and his or her particular illness.                                                    

People with depressive illnesses do not all experience the same symptoms.

• Ongoing sad, anxious or empty feelings    
• Feelings of hopelessness
• Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
• Feeling irritable or restless
• Loss of interest in activities or hobbies that were once enjoyable, including sex
• Feeling tired all the time
• Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, or difficulty making decisions
• Not able to go to sleep or stay asleep (insomnia); may wake in the middle of the  night, or sleep all the time
• Overeating or loss of appetite
• Thoughts of suicide or making suicide attempts
• Ongoing aches and pains, headaches, cramps or digestive problems that do not go  away.

Not everyone diagnosed with depression will have all of these symptoms. The signs and symptoms may be different in men, women, younger children and older adults.