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Depression Health Center

Glossary of Depression Terms

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Antidepressant. A drug used to treat depression. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are a class of antidepressants that includes drugs like Celexa (citalopram), Lexapro (escitalopram), Paxil (paroxetine), Prozac (fluoxetine), and Zoloft (sertraline.)

Anxiety disorder. A chronic condition that causes anxiety so severe it interferes with your life. Some people with depression also have overlapping anxiety disorders.

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WebMD's Symptom Finder: Physical Symptoms of Depression - Stomach

Digestive problems, stomach pain, and appetite changes are caused by many things. They can be signs of medical problems such as ulcers, gallbladder problems, and reflux disease. They can also be caused by dietary problems and too little exercise. Often, they occur when we're under stress. But they may also be symptoms of depression. See a doctor for a medical evaluation to determine the cause of your symptoms. When people are depressed, they sometimes develop digestive problems, including diminished...

Read the WebMD's Symptom Finder: Physical Symptoms of Depression - Stomach article > >

Bipolar disorder. A type of depression that causes sometimes extreme mood swings between depression and mania (or hypomania.) This condition used to be called manic depression.

Dysthymia. A type of chronic, low-grade depression that is less severe than major depression. It can also last for years. Dysthymia may not disable a person, but it prevents one from functioning normally or feeling well.

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). A treatment for depression that uses an electric current to create a brief, controlled seizure. It is safe and often effective for depression that hasn't responded to drugs or therapy.

Hypomania. A milder form of mania.

Major depression. The medical diagnosis for depression that lasts for at least two weeks and interferes with daily life. It causes symptoms like low energy, fatigue, and feelings of hopelessness.

Mania. A symptom of bipolar disorder, mania is a period of intense energy, euphoria or irritability, sleeplessness, or recklessness. It is so extreme that it interferes with a person's life and can involve false beliefs (delusions) or perceptions (hallucinations).

Mood stabilizers. A class of drugs used to treat some types of depression, like bipolar disorder. They include lithium and some drugs originally used for seizures called anticonvulsants. These include Depakote (divalproex), carbamazepine (Tegretol), and Lamictal (lamotrigine).

 Neurotransmitter. A chemical in the brain, like serotonin or norepinephrine, that sends messages between brain cells. Medicines that treat depression often alter the levels of these chemicals.

Panic attack. A sudden feeling of intense fear or anxiety, accompanied by physical symptoms, that isn't triggered by real danger. Panic attacks are common in many anxiety disorders.

Postpartum depression. Depression that affects women who have recently given birth. Many new mothers experience a brief episode of mild mood changes known as the "baby blues," but some will suffer from postpartum depression, a much more serious condition that requires active treatment and emotional support for the new mother.

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