See Inside Scientific American Mind Volume 25, Issue 5

Depressed? Try the Social Cure

Your book club, card game or yoga class could be the key to lifting depression

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You can probably remember some morning you struggled to get out of bed. Maybe you kept thinking about the exam you failed, the party you were not invited to or the job you didn't get. If you are clinically depressed, every day is like this—but worse. Nothing you used to enjoy is fun anymore, and you lack the will to do what it takes—to exercise, say, or reach out to a loved one—to pull yourself out of your gloom.

Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. About 20 percent of people worldwide will experience it during their lifetime. This risk is highest for women, young adults and those living in disadvantaged communities or developing countries. If you let down your boss or your child because your misery overwhelms you, depression spreads outward to others and affects society.

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