June 15, 2024

How Long Does Depression Last?

Individuals who have depression often have to deal with constant fatigue, headaches and loss of interest in favorite hobbies.  Add to this list rapid weight gain and it becomes easy to see why someone with depression would want to know how long it lasts.  Few people who are currently depressed want to stay that way, but there is no clear-cut answer to the duration of depression.

Why Everyone is Different

Current medical knowledge still does not completely understand how the mind works.  A treatment that works well for one person may not work at all for someone else.  As a result of this, treating depression with medication can involve a great deal of trial and error.  For individuals with severe depression, it can take weeks, months or even years to find a treatment method that works for them.  Human beings are very intricately designed creatures and no two individuals are exactly the same.  Due to this, doctors cannot always treat two people with the same medication and therapy options.

Mild and Moderate Depression

For individuals with mild or moderate depression, treatment can be quite effective in a short period of time.  Mild and moderately depressed patients can use alternative treatments like acupuncture, exercise and a healthy diet to aid their healing.  Many of these patients will be able to make a complete recovery within a few months of initiating treatment.

Severely depressed patients will require medication and some form of therapy to begin their path of recovery.  Since the disorder is heightened in these individuals, alternative treatment options are often not as effective.  Doctors will have to decide on which medication works best for the patient.  After the medication is started, it can take several months before it really starts to take effect on the individual.  This delayed reaction is caused by the way the medication operates.  Enough has to accumulate in the person’s body for it to begin to change the way their mental processes operate.  As new mental pathways are created and dopamine receptors healed, the patient can return to normal life.

Most people will be cured of their depression within weeks or months of seeking treatment.  The sooner they seek medical help, the sooner they will recover.

People who try to tough out their depression alone will often face an extended period of time where they will remain depressed.  Almost half of individuals with depression will suffer a relapse later in life.  If this is the case, the patient should return to their treatment program so they can get back to living their normal life.


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