- Depression goes away in some people but not others.
- Therapy or medication will greatly increase your chance of recovery.
- Clinical or chronic depression may never end without professional treatment.
Types of Depression and Recovery Prognosis
Some people suffer from depression for years, while others manage to minimize the symptoms. But does depression go away? It may, but for some, it will not. Let’s look at some types of depression and how likely full recovery is.
Postpartum depression is a form of depression that can occur in the weeks or months after childbirth. It’s normal for new moms to feel overwhelmed, tired, emotional, and anxious after having a baby. However, when these feelings last for more than two weeks or interfere with your ability to care for yourself or your baby, it may be postpartum depression.
- feeling restless or irritable;
- having difficulty sleeping (insomnia);
- feeling sad or empty;
- feeling hopeless or helpless;
- having no interest in activities you used to enjoy;
- withdrawing from friends and family members;
- experiencing changes in appetite or weight gain/loss;
- having difficulty concentrating or making decisions;
- feeling guilty or worthless; and
- thoughts of death or suicide.
Postpartum depression usually lasts for up to six months after delivery, but can persist for more than a year in some cases. Usually, it resolves itself once the child is older and less demanding.
Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)
Major depressive disorder (or clinical depression) is characterized by symptoms of sadness or loss of interest that last for at least two weeks. MDD is much more severe than just feeling sad. Besides lasting long sometimes, MDD interferes with daily activities such as eating and sleeping, as well as work and relationships.
Here’s a list of symptoms:
- fatigue or low energy levels;
- insomnia or sleeping too much;
- feelings of worthlessness;
- diminished ability to concentrate;
- recurrent thoughts of death/suicide;
- unexplained aches/pains;
- sudden weight gain/loss not related to dieting.
Major depressive episodes typically last anywhere from six months to years if left untreated. Sometimes, this kind of depression may go away on its own, but rarely if it’s this severe.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
Seasonal affective disorder is a type of depression that occurs in the fall and winter, when there’s less natural sunlight. SAD affects quite a big part of the population. This type of depression will go away on its own when spring arrives, but can come back every year during fall/winter.
Seasonal depression can manifest in:
- fatigue all day long;
- oversleeping but still feeling exhausted;
- trouble concentrating at work/school;
- social withdrawal;
- weight gain due to overeating comfort foods like breads and pasta;
- decreased libido.
These symptoms must last for at least two weeks before an official diagnosis can be made, but usually resolve within 4 to 6 weeks after treatment begins. Even though this disorder may come and go, it’s still essential to get help.
Can Symptoms of Depression Go Away on Their Own?
Does depression go away on its own? Well, while depression is a serious condition that should be treated, there are cases where symptoms go away on their own. Often, symptoms of depression are caused by a stressful event, such as the death of a loved one or losing a job. Once the event has passed and the person has moved on, the depression symptoms might go away as well.
Editor’s Note ✏️If you’re feeling down and are hesitant to seek depression treatment, there’s hope! Start with self-care tactics like exercise, quality sleep, journaling, and mindfulness – it could make all the difference in improving your mood. But if things don’t get better after trying these approaches out for a while, I strongly recommend contacting a mental health provider who can help you get back on track.
In-Between Periods of Recurrent Depressive Episodes
The in-between periods, or remission periods, of recurrent depressive episodes (common in bipolar disorder) are the times when a person isn’t experiencing active symptoms of depression. This is a time when they might be tempted to think their depression went away. But remission doesn’t mean that the person has recovered from depression; rather, it means that symptoms aren’t present at the moment.
The length of remission periods can vary greatly from person to person. Some people may experience only brief periods of remission between episodes, while others may have longer periods of time in which they’re free from symptoms. Sometimes it’s barely a week, and sometimes it’s a few months.
How Long Do You Treat Depression? Comparing Treatment Options
Depression is a treatable illness. The two most common types of treatment are psychotherapy (most often, cognitive behavioral therapy) and antidepressants.
Psychotherapy is done by talking with a therapist to explore the thoughts and feelings that contribute to depression. Cognitive behavioral therapy helps people to identify and change negative thinking patterns within 12–20 weeks. There’s also group therapy, which involves talking with other people who are dealing with depression.
Antidepressants, on the other hand, are medications that help to regulate the chemicals in the brain. Treatment typically takes at least 6–8 weeks, but some people may need to continue it for longer periods of time. In extreme cases, treatment is lifelong. Therefore, for certain people, the answer to “Does depression go away?” is: it doesn’t.
Does Severity of Depression Affect the Chance of Recovery?
Chronic depression (aka persistent depressive disorder, or PDD) may last longer than other forms of the illness. It may also take the person suffering longer to get help. In some cases, they’re also more likely to relapse.
However, the severity of depression doesn’t seem to affect how long treatment takes. For example, people with severe depression may require hospitalization and intensive treatment, but they’ll often respond just as well to it as people with less severe forms of the illness.
Does Depression Go Away?
Does depression go away? Depression is a serious condition that shouldn’t be taken lightly, but it’s also treatable. With the help of medication, therapy, and support from family and friends, many people are able to recover from depression and go on to lead happy and fulfilling lives. However, without treatment, depression will not go away on its own.
FAQs About Recovering From Depression
Is Depression a Permanent Problem?
People who suffer from chronic depression may find that symptoms always return, no matter what they do. Others manage their symptoms with medication and therapy, but say that depression is always a part of their lives. Still, there is hope. You don’t have to accept depression as a part of your life forever – seek support if you need it.
What Happens to Your Brain After Years of Depression?
The volume of some parts of the brain decreases. MRI scans have confirmed that the anterior cingulate cortex, orbitofrontal cortex, hippocampus, putamen, and caudate nucleus are all smaller in people who suffer from depression. Brain chemistry is also affected, with lower levels of serotonin and dopamine. With long-term treatment, many of these changes can be reversed.
What Happens If You Don’t Treat Depression?
Depression may progress into more serious issues like anxiety disorders or substance abuse – even potentially leading to suicidal ideation. Don’t go through this alone; with proper treatment, a brighter future awaits!
How to Live Without Antidepressants?
Talk therapy can be just as effective as medication. Look for a therapist who is well-versed in cognitive behavioral therapy and can help you identify the source of your depressive symptoms. Other lifestyle changes – like spending more time with friends, exercising, and eating healthy food – can also help. Additionally, consider supplements such as omega-3 fatty acids and St. John’s Wort, which have been shown to improve mood.
Is It OK to Take Antidepressants for Life?
Yes. If you need to take antidepressants indefinitely, you don’t have to feel ashamed. The decision to stay on medication is highly personal and should be discussed with your doctor. Taking antidepressants can help you lead a happy, fulfilling life – even if it requires some sacrifices like not drinking alcohol.
- How Long Does Depression Last? Types of Depression Compared
- What Is Crippling Depression? When Depression Feels Debilitating
- High-Functioning Depression Symptoms – 7 Signs and Diagnostic Criteria
- Double Depression: What Is It? Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment Options
- Can Depression Kill You? 3 Ways One Could Die From Depression