7 Depression Research Paper Topic Ideas

Zsuzsanna Kilian/sxc.hu

If you are writing a depression research paper and you don't feel quite sure where to begin, the following are some topics which you may want to consider including in your paper. Links are included to relevant articles on the Verywell.com Depression site which will help you gather basic information for your paper; and, hopefully, trigger some ideas for topics which you can research further in the library and elsewhere on the Internet.

Unfortunately, I cannot grant personal interviews to students who are writing research papers.  You should, however, have plenty of good ideas for what you would like to include in your research paper after looking over this list of topics.

1. What Is Depression?

Everyone experiences times when they feel a little bit blue or sad.  This is a normal part of being human.  Depression, however, is a medical condition which is quite different from everyday moodiness.

2. What Types of Depression Are There?

There are several different types of depression, depending upon how an individual's depression symptoms manifest themselves.  Depression symptoms may vary in severity or in what is causing them.  They may also be part of an illness called bipolar disorder, which includes fluctuations between depression and a state of extreme elation called mania.

3. What Causes Depression?

The possible causes for depression are many and not yet well understood.  However, it is most likely that depression results from an interplay of genetic vulnerability and environmental factors.

4. Who Is at Risk for Depression?

Certain risk factors may make a person more prone to developing depression, such as a family history of depression, adverse childhood experiences, stress, illness and being female.

  This is not a complete list of all risk factors, however, it's a good place to start.

5. What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Depression?

The signs of depression are those outward manifestations of the illness that a doctor can observe when she examines a patient, for example, a lack of emotional responsiveness.  On the other hand, symptoms are those subjective things about the illness that only the patient can observe, such as feelings of guilt or sadness.  In an illness such as depression, which is often invisible to the outside observer, it is very important for patients to make an accurate accounting of all of their symptoms so that their doctor can diagnose them properly.

6. How Is Depression Diagnosed?

In some ways, the diagnosis of depression is more an art than a science.  Doctors must generally rely upon the patient's set of symptoms and what they can observe about him during their examination in order to make a diagnosis.  While there are certain laboratory tests which can be performed to rule out other medical illnesses as a cause of depression, there is not yet a definitive test for depression itself.

7. How Is Depression Treated? 

The first choice for depression treatment is generally an antidepressant medication, with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) being the most popular choice due to them being quite effective and having relatively fewer side effects than certain older antidepressants.  Psychotherapy, or talk therapy, is another effective and popular choice.  It is especially efficacious when combined with antidepressant therapy.  Certain other treatments, such as electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) or vagus nerve stimulation (VNS), are most commonly used for patients who do not respond to the other two.


Ferri, Fred F. Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2009. 1st ed. Philadelphia: Mobsy, 2009.

Moore, David P. and James W. Jefferson, eds. Handbook of Medical Psychiatry 2nd ed. Philadelphia: Mosby Elsevier, 2004.

What Type of Depression Are There?