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What is depression?

20 million Americans have depression, so know that you’re not alone

Depression is a mental health disorder experienced by nearly 20 million Americans, so remember, you’re not alone in this.

It’s a brain disorder that manifests as more than just typical feelings of sadness. It can significantly affect your daily functioning, making tasks like working, studying, or even performing daily routines difficult.

Feeling sad or having ‘down’ days is a part of life. However, if you find yourself feeling hopeless, unmotivated, or losing interest in activities you once loved for more than two weeks, and these feelings start to interfere with your daily life – you might be suffering from depression. But there’s no need to panic, depression is a treatable condition. If you’re experiencing symptoms of depression, assistance is available, and with the right care, you can improve.

How can I identify depression?

Individuals with depression typically experience persistent sadness for at least two weeks. They also exhibit at least one of the following symptoms: Loss of interest or pleasure in activities they once enjoyed. Feeling consistently sad, hopeless, or irritable throughout the day, nearly every day.


Depression may also manifest through various other symptoms:

Significant weight loss or gain.

Excessive sleeping or insomnia.

Fatigue or low energy levels.

Feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt.

Forgetfulness or confusion.

Thoughts of death or suicide.

If you suspect you may be experiencing depression, it is crucial to consult a healthcare professional trained in mental health to receive an accurate diagnosis. Immediate action for thoughts of self-harm or suicide: If you ever feel inclined to harm yourself or others, take the following steps:


Contact your doctor or nurse immediately and explain the urgency.

Call for an ambulance (in the US and Canada, dial 9-1-1).

Visit the emergency room at your local hospital.

Reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:

Phone: 1-800-273-8255 or dial 988 or text the word Home to 741741


What are the available treatments for depression?

Individuals with mild to moderate depression can benefit from medication or counseling with a mental health professional.

Those with severe depression often require medication and may also benefit from counseling.

In cases where profound sadness persists, “shock treatment” known as electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) may be considered. ECT involves safely passing an electric current through the brain.

When can I expect to feel better?

Both treatment options require time to take effect.  Medication: Many individuals begin to experience improvements within two weeks, but it may take four to eight weeks for the full effect. Counseling: People often notice positive changes within a few weeks, but the maximum benefit may take eight to ten weeks. If the initial treatment does not yield desired results, do not lose hope. Inform your doctor or nurse, as different or combined treatments may be necessary. They can help you find the right approach and support you throughout the process.

How do I choose the appropriate treatment?

Collaborate with your doctor or nurse to select the most suitable treatment .Medication may provide faster relief but can have side effects, and some individuals may prefer alternative options. Counseling involves discussing your emotions with a professional, which may be challenging for some people.

Is depression different for teenagers?

Yes, depression symptoms in teenagers can differ from those in adults.Teenagers often exhibit frequent moodiness or sadness, making it difficult to distinguish between normal teenage behavior and genuine depression.Depressed teenagers may appear irritable, easily annoyed, or prone to picking fights.When treating teenagers, healthcare providers usually recommend counseling as the initial approach before considering medication due to the slight possibility of medication-related complications. However, some depressed teenagers may require medication. Most experts agree that depression medication is safe and appropriate for teenagers who genuinely need it.

What if I take depression medication and want to get pregnant?

Certain depression medications can pose risks to unborn babies. However, untreated depression during pregnancy can also have adverse effects. If you are planning to get pregnant, inform your doctor, and do not stop taking your medication without guidance. Together, you can create a plan ensuring the safest pregnancy and medication management approach.We serve clients in Atlanta, Georgia, and Kansas, interested in improving their mental health. If you believe you may have depression, a screening is the first step. 

Please fill out this free screening form for depression: Fostering Resilience Screening for Depression

A screening is not diagnostic. We will be in touch with you related to your free screening but you can reach out to us at