When someone enjoys good mental health, they often take it for granted. However, when a mental health disorder happens, life can really feel like it’s slowed down. Developing depression is a prime example. How long does depression last? For it to be diagnosed, symptoms must occur for a minimum amount of time. From there, the question many have is how long will they have to deal with these symptoms. Professional, quality care from a program that specializes in depression treatment can drastically cut down the time someone has to deal with untreated depression.
What Is Depression?
Depression is a mental health disorder that impacts a person’s overall ability to feel, think, and function in life. Also known as major depressive disorder, this condition can develop during childhood or adulthood. The onset most commonly occurs from the teenage years to the mid-20s. Depression is not about just having the blues or being in a bad mood, nor does it go away if a person just tries to be patient. The symptoms of this condition make a person unable to fully enjoy their life. They often have difficulty taking care of daily responsibilities, eating healthy, and sleeping well.
Someone wondering about how long does depression last should seek a professional diagnosis. Physicians, therapists, and psychiatrists can perform an evaluation and determine if the person has depression. From there, they can devise a plan to seek help for this treatable condition.
Types of Depressive Disorders
“Depression” can be an umbrella term for different types of this mental health disorder. The answer to “How long does depression last?” can be influenced by which type the individual has. The different types of depression include:
Major Depression: This type must include symptoms that last a minimum of two weeks.
Persistent Depressive Disorder (Dysthymia): Symptoms for this type are less severe than those of major depressive disorder. They last for two years or longer.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): SAD happens when a new season begins and affects a person’s mood. It most commonly happens during late fall and early winter, although it can happen at any time during the year.
Perinatal Depression: This type happens to women during their pregnancies.
Postpartum Depression: This type occurs after a woman has given birth and is sometimes mistaken for “the baby blues”.
Depression With Symptoms of Psychosis: Along with the usual symptoms, this kind also causes symptoms of psychosis. They include hallucinations and delusions.
What are the Signs of Depression?
When receiving a diagnosis of depression, the doctor or therapist will look for the existence of certain signs. While not everyone experiences the exact same symptoms, common ones exist. These include:
- Lingering feelings of sadness and hopelessness
- Suicidal thoughts or feelings
- Difficulty making decisions or staying focused
- Trouble doing well on the job or at school
- Feeling like a burden on others
- No longer feeling joy or satisfaction from activities and hobbies
- Change in weight
- Using alcohol or drugs to self-medicate
As well, many people experience physical problems that have no explanation. This includes stomachaches, headaches, digestive difficulties, and body aches.
How Long Does Depression Last?
Someone going through a depressive episode often asks themselves “How long does depression last?” The answer depends on a few factors. First is the type of depression a person has. Some may have flare-ups that cause them to feel depressive feelings more intensely than at other times. For others, the depressive episodes last for months at a time. They may cycle through periods of heavier symptoms, followed by milder ones.
For some, depression is a lifelong illness that can be managed but not cured. For others, it can be overcome with appropriate treatment. SAD, perinatal, and postpartum depression prove to be short-lived. With all types, it’s important to seek help. Treatment programs, therapy, and the use of medications can have a real impact. Without treatment, this disorder can be chronic and cause the person to suffer needlessly.
How long depression lasts can also be influenced by things like genetics, how much support the person has, and their particular personality. Furthermore, any ongoing stressful events in a person’s life or their history with trauma can influence how long they experience symptoms. Abuse of alcohol or drugs can contribute to this, too.
How Is Depression Treated?
Depression requires professional treatment in order for the person to learn to minimize their symptoms or overcome the disorder. Some people require residential care in order to help them with this often challenging mental health disorder. Residential treatment requires the person to live in a facility and receive care 24/7.
As an alternative, many people seek outpatient care for their disorder. This allows them to go to therapy sessions during the day, but they do not have to live in a facility. Some therapy sessions can be conducted in a virtual setting. An assessment by a qualified clinician will determine which type of treatment is best for each person.
One of the most important aspects when it comes to treatment is receiving a variety of types of care. A combination of several therapeutic modalities provides people with the best chance to improve their mental health. Types of therapy include individual, group, and family. Additionally, services such as psychiatry, ACT therapy, genetic testing, and medications can help tremendously.
Seek Professional Mental Health in Atlanta, GA
If you have been asking yourself “How long does depression last?”, you may be at the point of needing professional intervention. We provide outpatient programs designed to help people understand the origin of their depressive disorder. From there, our skilled therapeutic staff helps you manage your symptoms and enjoy a brighter outlook on life. Don’t let depression stop you from living the life you’re meant to enjoy.
If you would like to talk about getting treatment, visit our admissions page now. New View Wellness in Atlanta welcomes your phone call and can answer any questions you have about our program.