Monday, July 15, 2024

How Long Can A Depressive Episode Last

How Long Does Depression Last What You Need To Know

Depressive and Bipolar Disorders: Crash Course Psychology #30

Depression comes in many forms. It might be mild or severe, temporary or long-lasting. It can affect your relationships, work, and ability to cope with daily tasks.

Clinical depression is one of the more common and severe forms of depression and is more than simply feeling sad or down. It’s a treatable medical condition, diagnosed by a doctor or mental health professional.

Clinical depression can cause painful physical and emotional symptoms. For some people, depression may fade away over time and not come back. However, it’s uncommon for depression to get better on its own and without treatment, the symptoms of clinical depression can become more severe¹.

Many people also experience recurrent episodes of depression, meaning that if you’ve had a depressive episode, it’s more likely that you’ll experience another one in the future.

How long a depressive episode lasts will vary from person to person. For some people, the symptoms might only last a few weeks. For others, they may experience the symptoms of depression for years. In either case, treatment can help reduce the length and severity of depressive episodes and prevent them from appearing again.

Have you considered clinical trials for Depression?

We make it easy for you to participate in a clinical trial for Depression, and get access to the latest treatments not yet widely available – and be a part of finding a cure.

How To Tell If You Have Depression

Depression affects people in different ways and can cause a wide variety of symptoms.

They range from lasting feelings of unhappiness and hopelessness, to losing interest in the things you used to enjoy and feeling very tearful. Many people with depression also have symptoms of anxiety.

There can be physical symptoms too, such as feeling constantly tired, sleeping badly, having no appetite or sex drive, and various aches and pains.

The symptoms of depression range from mild to severe. At its mildest, you may simply feel persistently low in spirit, while severe depression can make you feel suicidal, that life is no longer worth living.

Most people experience feelings of stress, anxiety or low mood during difficult times. A low mood may improve after a short period of time, rather than being a sign of depression.

Why Treatment Is Important

Treatment for any of these kinds of depression is paramount. Depression can make it extraordinarily difficult to accomplish otherwise daily responsibilities, such as ones own personal hygiene routines or even going to work. These feelings of isolation can cause difficulty creating and maintaining important relationships, as well as leading to other poor health practices, such as malnutrition and a pervasive feeling of helplessness or loneliness. If depression continues to persist without being properly addressed, these feelings can become overwhelming, and an individual may even turn to self-harm or suicidal ideology in an effort to ease their own mental, emotional, or even physical pain.

Treatment can also help prevent those suffering from depressive episodes from turning to their own coping strategies. It is common that depressive episodes may cause an individual to seek immediate relief, regardless of long-term effects, and may turn to the use of drugs or alcohol in an attempt to escape from their pain. This relationship can cause the development of the dangerous use of addictive substances, even leading to addiction, which can further complicate the difficult healing process.

You May Like: Anxiety And Depression Of America

Does Depression Go Away

This question is more geared towards those wondering how to get rid of it once and for all, and might be followed with other questions such as, Can it be cured? Unfortunately, there is no clear answer here. While it is possible to overcome it, there isnt any kind of cure for it. Rather, depression is a very individualized experience, and two individuals who are overcoming their depressive episodes may have vastly different approaches.

Depression is unlikely to simply vanish on its own without treatment or dedicated care. Time is not a reliable way to try to overcome ones it. It also isnt confined to a single time, and those who experience depression disorders may feel that depression comes and goes. This cyclic nature can make it seem as if feelings of depression are finally lifting, only for symptoms to come back if an individual does not address them in a dedicated setting.

Bipolar Disorder And Suicide

How Long Does Depression Last? 3 Red Flags to Look Out for!

The depressive phase of bipolar disorder is often very severe, and suicide is a major risk factor. In fact, people suffering from bipolar disorder are more likely to attempt suicide than those suffering from regular depression. Furthermore, their suicide attempts tend to be more lethal.

The risk of suicide is even higher in people with bipolar disorder who have frequent depressive episodes, mixed episodes, a history of alcohol or drug abuse, a family history of suicide, or an early onset of the disease.

Suicide warning signs include:

Recommended Reading: Supplements For Mood And Depression

How Long Does Depression Last With Treatment

Depression affects an estimated 350 million people around the world, most of which do not seek treatment. However, treatment is one of the most effective ways to rid sadness. When considering your options, many wonder how long depressions lasts with treatment, and when they can expect to feel better. This depends on several factors: the type of depression, the patients previous experience with depression, the type of treatment, and response to treatment.

Also Check: Did Blair Waldorf Have An Eating Disorder

What Are The Long

Bipolar disorder is a life-long and often recurring illness. You may need long term support to help manage your condition.

What medication options are there?

Your doctor will look at what medication worked for you during episodes of mania or depression. They should ask you whether you want to continue this treatment or if you want to change to lithium.

Lithium usually works better than other types of medication for long-term treatment. Your doctor should give you information about how to take lithium safely. If lithium doesnât work well enough or causes you problems, you may be offered:

Your doctor should monitor your health. Physical health checks should be done at least once a year. These checks will include:

  • measuring your weight,
  • checking your liver and heart, and
  • checking your pulse and blood pressure.

What psychological treatments are recommended?

You should be offered a psychological therapy that is specially designed for bipolar disorder. You could have individual or group therapy.

The aim of your therapy is to stop you from becoming unwell again. This is known as relapse. Your therapy should help you to:

If you live with your family or are in close contact with them, you should also be offered family intervention.

Family intervention is where you and your family work with mental health professionals to help to manage relationships. This should be offered to people who you live with or who you are in close contact with.

Recommended Reading: Va Rating For Major Depressive Disorder Recurrent Moderate

What Treatments Make Depression Go Away

Clinical depression is a serious medical condition. It’s unlikely that depression will go away on its own. Without treatment, the symptoms might become much worse.

Like many other medical conditions, early treatment can result in a better outcome. With treatment, your depression symptoms can become easier to manage. Treatment can also shorten the length of your depressive episodes, or even prevent them from happening again.

There are many treatment options for depression. None of these options are guaranteed to make depression go away, but they may help you find relief and build skills to manage symptoms more successfully. Some treatment options include:


Cognitive behavioral therapy is the most common type of therapy recommended for people with clinical depression. It can help you challenge negative thoughts associated with depression, and create new, healthy thought patterns and beliefs. CBT can also reduce the chances of experiencing another depressive episode³.


Finding the right medication, dosage, and combination can take time, but there are many options available for the treatment of depression. You can work with your health care provider or a psychiatrist on finding the medication that works best for you.

Lifestyle changes

Look for ways to expand your support network, either through family and friends or by joining a support group.

What Is Bipolar 2 Disorder

Depression is an Illness, Not a Weakness

Bipolar 2 disorder involves a major depressive episode lasting at least two weeks and at least one hypomanic episode . People with bipolar 2 typically dont experience manic episodes intense enough to require hospitalization.

Bipolar 2 is sometimes misdiagnosed as depression, as depressive symptoms may be the major symptom at the time the person seeks medical attention. When there are no manic episodes to suggest bipolar disorder, the depressive symptoms become the focus.

As mentioned above, bipolar 1 disorder causes mania and may cause depression, while bipolar 2 disorder causes hypomania and depression. Lets learn more about what these mean.

Read Also: Signs Depression Is Coming Back

Whats The Difference Between Borderline Personality Disorder And Bipolar Disorder

While borderline personality disorder and bipolar disorder have similar symptoms and are often confused for each other, theyre distinct conditions.

BPD involves a longstanding pattern of abrupt, moment-to-moment swings in moods, behavior and self-image that are often triggered by conflicts in interactions with other people. Nonsuicidal self-injury is also common in BPD but not in bipolar disorder.

Bipolar disorder is different from BPD because it involves distinct, longer-lasting episodes of mania/hypomania and/or depression. Several things can trigger manic or depressive episodes, such as sleep changes, stress, medications and substance use.

Major Depression Vs Dysthymia

Major depressive disorder and dysthymia overlap in some ways. But there are key differences.

Dysthymia, now usually called persistent depressive disorder , involves fewer symptoms. But they last longer, at least 2 years. You can be diagnosed with MDD if you have symptoms for 2 weeks.

Both mood disorders are serious. Sometimes dysthymia can disrupt your life more, even with fewer symptoms.

Also Check: Things To Do To Get Rid Of Depression

Depressed Mood And Loss Of Interest

Either depressed mood or a loss of interest or pleasure must be present for the diagnosis of a major depressive episode. Depressed mood is the most common symptom seen in major depressive episodes. Interest or pleasure in everyday activities can be decreased this is referred to as anhedonia. These feelings must be present on an everyday basis for two weeks or longer to meet DSM-V criteria for a major depressive episode. In addition, the person may experience one or more of the following emotions: sadness, emptiness, hopelessness, indifference, anxiety, tearfulness, pessimism, emotional numbness, or irritability. In children and adolescents, a depressed mood often appears more irritable in nature. There may be a loss of interest in or desire for sex, or other activities once found to be pleasant. Friends and family of the depressed person may notice that they have withdrawn from friends, or neglected or quit doing activities that were once a source of enjoyment.

You May Like: Depressed No Appetite

How To Cope With A Depressive Episode

Been having a rough time dealing with a major depressive episode so ...

At the onset of a major depressive episode, it can feel hopeless, as if there is nothing that can be done. An individual facing this may feel like there is no point in trying to do anything to lessen the severity of the episode or turn it around. There are things that can be done, though. It is important to take these steps to cope with a depressive episode, because they can limit the symptoms and even reduce the duration of the episode:

Major depressive episodes are most often part of a recurring, chronic mental illness. Some people may only ever experience one episode in their lives, but most people have multiple episodes. Understanding what it feels like to go through one of these episodes, as well as what may trigger one, is important. Being more aware allows an individual to take steps to check back in with a therapist, seek out support from family, and to engage in proper self-care to mitigate the severity of an episode.

Donât Miss: The Fear Of Spoons

Recommended Reading: How To Get Your Life Back On Track After Depression

Duration Vs Cause Of Depression

The cause of your depression symptoms might also affect how long they last if they go untreated.

In most depression cases, seeking the support of a health professional can shorten the duration and intensity of your symptoms.

There are several causes of depression, ranging from genetic to environmental. Common causes include:

  • Biology. indicate that some people with depression have a smaller hippocampus and/or less active frontal lobe. However, scientists dont yet know if this causes depression or is a result of it.
  • Drug use. A history of substance use disorder may lead to depressive disorders.
  • Hormone changes. Menstrual cycles, pregnancy, and giving birth can lead to depression. In some of these cases, symptoms will subside or improve when the root cause is addressed.
  • Environment. Exposure to traumatic events, social isolation, prolonged stress, and poverty can make some people more vulnerable to long-term or recurrent depressive episodes.
  • Family history. Depression can run in families. You might have a higher chance of developing the condition if your family members live with the condition.
  • Medications. Blood pressure medication and sleeping aids may lead to symptoms of depression that will last for the duration of your treatment.
  • Psychology. If you worry a lot, have low self-esteem, or are self-critical and negative, you may experience recurrent depressive symptoms.

Intensity of depression symptoms is classified as:

Understanding Manic Episodes Of Bipolar Disorder

The way bipolar disorder symptoms manifest, the duration of symptoms, and the overall effect on a person may vary greatly from person to person. The manic symptoms of bipolar disorder may be especially difficult for some people to understand as people may react differently during these episodes. For example, when manic episodes occur, one person may experience mania or hypomania episodes with feelings of frustration or irritability while another may exhibit a decreased need for sleep, accelerated thinking, or hyperactivity.

When manic symptoms of bipolar disorder emerge, its not uncommon for one to experience feelings of creativity, heightened energy, or euphoria. Some people may feel they are destined for greatness or are invincible.

While the overall feeling of increased energy and euphoria may feel good at first, manic episodes can cause a spiral in emotions. For instance, during this phase, some people engage in dangerous or inappropriate behavior. They may become sexually promiscuous, gamble, or go on spending sprees. Some people are easily angered, may start fights or lash out at others, or blame those who criticize their behavior.

Some common symptoms of manic episodes include:

  • Sleeping less, but feeling extremely energetic
  • Racing thoughts that jump from one subject to another quickly
  • Talking rapidly

Recommended Reading: Can I Get Rid Of Depression

What Are The Symptoms Of Bipolar I Disorder

During a manic episode in someone with bipolar disorder, elevated mood can manifest itself as either euphoria or as irritability.

Abnormal behavior during manic episodes includes:

  • Flying suddenly from one idea to the next
  • Rapid, “pressured” , and loud speech
  • Increased energy, with hyperactivity and a decreased need for sleep
  • Inflated self-image
  • Substance abuse

People in manic episodes may spend money far beyond their means, have sex with people they wouldn’t otherwise, or pursue grandiose, unrealistic plans. In severe manic episodes, a person loses touch with reality. They may become delusional and behave bizarrely.

Untreated, an episode of mania can last anywhere from a few days to several months. Most commonly, symptoms continue for a few weeks to a few months. Depression may follow shortly after, or not appear for weeks or months.

Many people with bipolar I disorder experience long periods without symptoms in between episodes. A minority has rapid-cycling symptoms of mania and depression, in which they may have distinct periods of mania or depression four or more times within a year. People can also have mood episodes with “mixed features,” in which manic and depressive symptoms occur simultaneously, or may alternate from one pole to the other within the same day.

What Are Depressive Episodes

How Long Does Depression Last?

As their name suggests, depressive episodes are phases throughout your life where youll experience significant bouts of depression.

Its important to note that with major depressive disorder, the symptoms are far beyond feeling down in the dumps.

Its a severe mental illness that can come with thoughts of suicide, isolation, and the inability to care for oneself.

The episodes you experience can flare up and down, just like other ailments such as arthritis.

Individuals in an episode are likely to experience depressive symptoms at an increased scale for an extended period.

With that said, the total length of a depressive episode can vary considerably.

When an episode subsides, an individual may begin to feel fewer symptoms, or their symptoms may go away entirely.

However, this does not mean that the depression has magically cured itself.

The signs will likely return at a future date, causing another depressive episode.

Don’t Miss: Does Depression Come In Cycles

Conditions That Can Co

Many people with bipolar disorder also have other mental disorders or conditions such as anxiety disorders, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder , misuse of drugs or alcohol, or eating disorders. Sometimes people who have severe manic or depressive episodes also have symptoms of psychosis, such as hallucinations or delusions. The psychotic symptoms tend to match the persons extreme mood. For example, someone having psychotic symptoms during a depressive episode may falsely believe they are financially ruined, while someone having psychotic symptoms during a manic episode may falsely believe they are famous or have special powers.

Looking at symptoms over the course of the illness and the persons family history can help determine whether a person has bipolar disorder along with another disorder.

Popular Articles
Related news