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June 3, 1992

Serious Depression

Author Affiliations

Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia


by Films for the Humanities & Sciences, Inc (The Doctor Is In), 1 VHS videocassette, color, 28 min, purchase $149, rental $75, Princeton, NJ, Films for the Humanities & Sciences Inc, 1991.

JAMA. 1992;267(21):2960. doi:10.1001/jama.1992.03480210122047

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


Major depression occurs in epidemic proportions (about 4% to 5% of the US population) yet remains one of the most underdiagnosed of medical illnesses. It also happens to be one of the psychiatric disorders most amenable to effective treatment. It is estimated that only a small minority (20%) of major depressives actually receive antidepressant treatment. The reasons that depression is so undertreated are complex. In part, this is the result of a failure to appreciate the diverse biological "symptoms" that characterize the tapestry of presentation of major depression and a lack of awareness of available treatment options.

This video aims to educate the layperson about various aspects of serious depression. Through a series of excerpted interviews, it focuses on depression's many different presentations. Those interviewed include a woman dealing with the death of her child, a young woman struggling with the aftermath of her childhood experiences, a suicidal teenager, and