DEPRESSION: Out of the Shadows
Take One Step: A PBS Health Campaign
DEPRESSION: Out of the Shadows + TAKE ONE STEP: Caring for Depression, with Jane Pauley  

Ask an Expert: The Causes of Depression
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Read Dr. Richard Friedman's bio >

Learn more about the causes of depression:

Depression Fact Sheet: English version (PDF, 748k); Spanish version (PDF, 796k)
National Alliance on Mental Illness:
American Psychiatric Association:


What are the differences between depression and "the blues"?

DR. RICHARD FRIEDMAN: A typical patient with depression who's functioning in the world, who's working, but feeling miserable, has no pleasure in life, feels tired, has trouble sleeping, isn't enjoying anything, is feeling like life is a big drag, everything they do feels like a chore, they're pleasure-less. I mean, the thing that most people don't understand about depression is they think it means that you're sad or blue. But more often, the core problem is depression is absence of feeling and lack of pleasure. It's flatness.

It's something that exists on a spectrum. And so I think that's why it's confusing to people because how do you know whether you're depressed or you just have everyday unhappiness? Well, one way to know is whether or not there's something that's actually going on in your life. Let's say there's absolutely no event precipitant or stress or something that you can actually point your finger at that's making you unhappy. Then it should be pretty clear to you that it's not just unhappiness.

More Topics

Suicide | Depression in Youth | Depression in Elders | Depression in the World | Depression Treatment

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