JOHN M. KANE, MD: A patient may really kind of go from one extreme to the other in terms of mood. What we call a manic episode is where someone is overactive, feeling overly expansive or overly irritable. Their mood is abnormally elevated; they have grandiose thoughts, thoughts of having special powers or abilities. They may also be prone to doing things that are somewhat reckless, and people with this illness can at times experience the manic episodes and then at other times be experiencing the depressive episodes. And they can both be quite severe.
ANNOUNCER: A third type of serious depression is called dysthymic disorder, when someone is chronically depressed.
JOHN M. KANE, MD: It may not be quite as severe as what we categorized as a major depression, but it has some of the same qualities. The difference being that it can persist for a year, or two years and so forth, and so that describes someone who is more persistently and chronically unhappy: dysphoric.
ANNOUNCER: No matter which type of depression a person may suffer from, depression seriously interferes with lives.
JOHN M. KANE, MD: It affects people's ability to function, to work, to go to school. It affects their ability to enjoy life. It can have a devastating affect on social or marital relationships. There is also a high risk of suicide.
ANNOUNCER: Good treatments are available for depression. But it's important for people to recognize the condition, and to seek help.
JOHN M. KANE, MD: I think the first key in treating depression is the person's ability to recognize the possibility that something is wrong. And once that's the case, I think it's very important that they consult with a mental health professional or with their primary care physician. The overwhelming majority of people with depression can be successfully treated either with psychotherapy or with medication or with a combination of the two.
ANNOUNCER: Studies show that the condition improves for a significant majority of people, when they seek treatment for depression. So the first steps are important ones: Recognize the problem and seek help.