Depression is a serious mental health concern that will touch most people’s lives at some point in their lifetime (either directly or through someone close they know).
The suffering endured by people with depression and the lives lost to suicide attest to the great burden of this disorder on individuals, families, and society.
Improved recognition, treatment, and prevention of depression are critical public health priorities.
Organizations such as the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), one of the world’s leading mental health biomedical organizations, conducts and supports research on the causes, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of depression in the United States.
Evidence from neuroscience, genetics, and clinical investigation demonstrate that depression is a disorder of the brain.
Modern brain imaging technologies are revealing that in depression, neural circuits responsible for the regulation of moods, thinking, sleep, appetite, and behavior fail to function properly, and that critical neurotransmitters — chemicals used by nerve cells to communicate — are perhaps out of balance.
Genetics research indicates that vulnerability to depression results from the influence of multiple genes acting together with environmental factors.
Studies of brain chemistry and of mechanisms of action of antidepressant medications continue to inform the development of new and better medical and psychotherapy treatments.