What is depression?

Depression (major depressive disorder) is a widespread medical illness that negatively affects the way you feel, how you think, and how you behave. 

Depression makes you feel intense and prolonged sadness and can lead to both emotional and physical complications. People who have depression frequently find it hard or even impossible to function either at work or at home. 

Severe depression can cause you to feel extreme hopelessness and despair. Thankfully, with the right treatment and support you can recover from depression.

What are the symptoms of depression?

Depression symptoms are likely to include:

  • Constant low mood
  • Changes in appetite 
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Loss of energy
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Hand-wringing or pacing
  • Slowed movements
  • Feeling worthless or guilty
  • Difficulty thinking
  • Problems concentrating 

Symptoms can vary; for example, while some people may lose their appetite, others may start to overeat. 

If you’ve experienced these symptoms for two weeks or more, you could have depression. However, it’s important to rule out other conditions that can cause similar symptoms, such as hypothyroidism or nutrient deficiencies.

What causes depression?

There are several possible causes for depression. An imbalance in neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin is a likely cause of depression, and there may well be a genetic link that makes some people more likely to develop depression. 

If you have low self-esteem or struggle to manage stress, that can make you more likely to experience depression. Environmental factors can also make you more vulnerable to depression, for example:

  • Violence
  • Abuse
  • Neglect 
  • Poverty

Depression is a common problem and can affect anyone at any stage in life, but many people experience their first episode during their teenage years.

How is depression treated?

There are two principal approaches Gwinnett Psychiatry takes to treating depression: medication and psychotherapy.


Addressing imbalances in your brain chemistry could make a significant difference in your recovery from depression. To achieve this, you might receive a prescription for an anti-depressant medication. There are many types of anti-depressants, and you may need to try several before finding the most effective for you.

You might feel some improvement in your symptoms within the first few weeks of starting a course of anti-depressants, but you might not see the full benefits for several months. If you feel no change, you may need a dose adjustment addition of another medication, or a new medication altogether.

You need to continue taking your medication for at least six months after your symptoms improve to prevent any relapse. In some cases, people who are vulnerable to depression need to continue taking anti-depressants longer term.


Psychotherapy, or talk therapy, is an invaluable tool in treating depression successfully. Gwinnett Psychiatry provides several types depending on what might be most helpful in your case.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of therapy that focuses on the present, and how you can solve problems you encounter every day. CBT helps you to recognize distortions in your thinking, and modify your reactions accordingly.

Psychotherapy can also help you deal with any underlying causes of your depression.

If your depression isn’t improving despite these treatments, Gwinnett Psychiatry may recommend alternative therapies such as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). 

If you have any symptoms of depression, Do not struggle on alone. Call Gwinnett Psychiatry today.


Suicidal ideation continues to increase among adults in the U.S.


A growing percentage of youth in the U.S. live with major depression

2.5 million

youth in the U.S. have severe depression, and multiracial youth are at greatest risk



Some of the conditions we treat