A person who appears depressed


Clinically significant depression is marked by persistent sadness, a depressed mood, diminished interest in previously enjoyable activities, and other symptoms that interfere with the ability to function in daily life.

The condition often arises from a complex combination of factors that can include genetics, family history, trauma, stress, and illness. It is one of the most common mental disorders, impacting an estimated 7.1% of all adults in the U.S. each year.

Fortunately, effective treatments are available including medications, psychotherapy, or a combination of the two. Self-help strategies can also help people better cope with their symptoms and begin to feel better.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do you cope with depression?

    Appropriate treatment for depression is essential, but self-help strategies can also help you feel better. Some things that can help you cope with feelings of depression include getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, finding social support, and engaging in regular physical activity. While depression can make these things more challenging, tackling one or two tasks each day can help improve your well-being.

  • How can you help someone with depression?

    Some ways that you can support a friend or loved one with depression include offering support and avoiding judgment. Offer to help with tasks that your friend might be struggling with. Let them know you care, ask them what you can do to help, and encourage them to talk to their doctor. Learn more about depression so you can better understand ways you can help.

  • Is depression genetic?

    While depression appears to have some genetic risk factors, there is no identifiable gene for depression. However, research suggests that it is the interaction of genetics and environmental factors that contribute to the condition’s onset. You may have a genetic predisposition to depression, but this does not necessarily mean that you will develop the condition.

  • Is there a cure for depression?

    While there is no “cure” for depression, it is a treatable condition that can often be alleviated with the use of medications, psychotherapy, and lifestyle modifications. Antidepressants can be effective, but they often take some time to begin working. While such medications may be used alone, they are also often prescribed in conjunction with psychotherapy.

Key Terms

Close-up of sad woman lying on sofa at home
What You Need to Know About CNS Depression
Person lying in bed, texting their manager
'I Don't Feel Good': Why This Phrase Is Important For Mental Health
Causes for birthday depression
Birthday Depression: Why Some People Feel Sad On Their Birthdays
Male postpartum depression symptoms
Fathers Experience Postpartum Depression, Too
Lone pregnant woman sitting on the bed looking out at the window in the morning
How Depression During and After Pregnancy May Impact Children
Mother consoling crying son while therapist giving tissue box to patient at home office
Should You Tell Your Parents About Your Depression?
Man winning employee of the month, doubtful
What Is the Fear of Success?
Ways to talk to your partner about depression
How to Talk to Your Partner About Your Depression
Closeup view of a girl holding an inhaler on her face. She has an empty look in her eyes and seems tired.
Do You Have Respiratory Depression?
Upset couple sitting in bedroom.
What Is Agitated Depression?
Prescription medication from pharmacy
What Are Anticholinergics?
Woman taking pill with a glass of water
Everything You Should Know About Neurontin (Gabapentin)
Potential reasons for a headache
What's Causing Your Head Pain?
Woman taking a pill.
Everything You Should Know About Deplin (L-methylfolate)
A woman looking sadly out the window
Why You Shouldn't Feel Embarrassed About Your Depression
Sad boy looking out the window.
How to Talk to Your Kids About Depression
how to make yourself feel better
Feeling Down? 6 Ways to Feel Better Right Now
What to do when you need someone to talk to
How to Find Connection When You Really Need It
Man awake staring at alarm clock
Is Melatonin Safe In High Doses?
What to do when you feel irritable
8 Things to Try When You Feel Irritable
What to do when you feel hopless
9 Things That Can Help When You're Feeling Hopeless
how to cope with feeling unappreciated
What to Do When You Feel Like No One Appreciates You
Things to do when you feel emotional
7 Things That Can Help You Get a Handle on Intense Emotions
Functional depression
Here's What People With High-Functioning Depression Want You to Know
COVID-19 and Seasonal Affective Disorder: How This Year Is Different
A man with depression gazing out of a window
How Moderate Depression Differs From Mild and Severe Depression
Man sitting with head in his hands.
Do People with Asperger's Tend to Have Depression?
Getting a tattoo in a tattoo shop
Would You Choose One of These Tattoos for Depression?
Woman looking at ceiling in bedroom
7 Facts Everyone Should Know About Depression
help hotlines to call
National Helpline Database
Avoidant personality disorder can lead to isolation.
What Is Avoidant Personality Disorder?
Rumination: Why Do People Obsess Over Things?
what to say to someone who is depressed
What to Say When Someone Is Depressed
Dirty Dishes
Keeping Your House Clean When You're Suffering From Depression
Older woman talking to doctor
The Best Way to Tell a Doctor About Your Depression
depressed looking man reading at counter and uninterested woman drinking coffee
What to Do When Your Loved Ones Aren't There for You
signs of smiling depression
Could You Have Smiling Depression?
Woman looking at bread
Which Foods Can Help Fight Depression?
Tense woman leaning against a wall
How Long Does Withdrawal From Wellbutrin Last?
There are many types of depression tests.
Is There a Test That Determines If You Have Depression?
Depression Support Group
The 5 Best Depression Support Groups of 2021
small ways to feel better if you're depressed
Small Ways to Feel Better When You're Depressed
Woman laying with her dog.
But..You Don't Look Sick: What Is an Invisible Illness?
loss of interest
How to Cope When You've Lost Interest In Everything
What to do when you feel helpless.
7 Things You Can Do If You Feel Helpless
anger management strategies
What to Do When You Feel Angry
Man talking about depression with his doctor.
How to Talk to Your Doctor About Depression
A depressed young man.
Vitamin D Deficiency and Depression: What's the Connection?
Vagus nerve
All You Need To Know About Vagus Nerve Stimulation Therapy
Sad BIPOC woman looking out the window
How Does Double Depression Develop?
Woman looking out of window
How to Identify Complicated Grief
mental health effects of social media
How Social Media Impacts Your Mental Health
a woman wearing a straw hat and sunglasses sunbathing at the beach on a lounge chair
The Mental Health Benefits of Sunlight
BIPOC woman with yoga mat
How Exercise Can Help Reduce Depressive Symptoms
how to help someone with anxiety
How to Help a Friend or Loved One With Anxiety
a couple in bed, the man is asleep, the woman is awake
What Is Insomnia?
what depression feels like
What Does Depression Feel Like?
A person pressing a hand to their chest.
What Can You Do to Manage Situational Anxiety?
Man looking irritated at his phone
Why Irritability Can Be a Symptom of a Mental Condition
Depressed woman looking out the window in the winter
How to Beat the Winter Blues
Page Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. National Institute of Mental Health. Major depression. Updated February 2019.