Updated: June 20, 2008

The first step to overcoming the devastating effects of depression is to see it as a disease, not a personal failing. Like other chronic diseases, depression wreaks havoc on the person who suffers as well as on her or his friends and family. The social costs of depression are also huge: Depression is a leading cause of disability worldwide.

However, there is a lot of positive news about depression treatment: New approaches to psychotherapy and antidepressant medications help millions live with or recover from depression. And a growing network of support groups and online resources are helping to break the stigma of mental illness.

As you'll discover on this Health Journey, successful treatment is best achieved with a patient who is involved, resourceful, questioning—at precisely a time when you probably don't feel like being any of those things. Take comfort in the stories of patients who have found their way out of mental illness and be inspired by the therapists, doctors, and caregivers who have helped.

Our Depression Health Journey team includes editorial adviser Kenneth Robbins, MD, MPH; editor Amy O'Connor; research editor Michael Gollust; lead writer Mary Pinkowish; and many contributing journalists.

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