How Long Does Depression Last
Depression, or major depressive disorder, is a mood disorder. Different than just feeling blue or down in the dumps, clinical depression is believed to be caused by imbalances of chemicals in the brain.
To be diagnosed with major depressive disorder, you must experience at least five depression symptoms, once a day, for at least two weeks. Symptoms include being less interested in most activities you once enjoyed, feeling worthless or guilty , feeling unusually tired and lacking energy, and more.
Major depressive disorder can be highly recurrent, with at least half of the people who experience one episode having one or more additional episodes in their lifetimes.
How long your depression lasts depends on lifestyle factors and whether or not you receive prompt treatment. It can last for several weeks, months, or years.
Current Status Of Bipolar Depression
Adequate understanding, timely diagnosis, and effective short- and long-term treatment of depressive episodes in BD patients are critically important but remarkably insufficiently resolved . Clinical significance of bipolar depression is underscored by strong association with overall morbidity, other co-occurring psychiatric conditions , disability, and excess mortality owing largely to suicide in young patients and intercurrent medical illness in older patients .
Bipolar Disorder Causes Mood Episodes
Bipolar disorder, which was previously called manic depression, is a mood disorder that causes , lasting a couple of weeks or longer, of depression or mania, and sometimes psychosis. This is a mood disorder because it causes changes in mood that are not healthy and that can disrupt a persons life significantly. It causes abnormal patterns of thinking, behavior, and thoughts and moods that do not align with someones reality.
For instance, a person with bipolar disorder may have a great life with a loving family and a nice job, but during a depressive episode cannot shake the feeling that he or she is worthless. These abnormal moods usually shift between depression and mania, the latter being the opposite of depression but just as destructive and unhealthy. In severe instances, some people will also go through episodes of psychosis in which they lose touch with reality and may hallucinate or have disturbing delusions. These mood episodes can be very damaging, but they are fortunately manageable with appropriate treatment.
You May Like: Copper Iud Depression And Anxiety
Duration Of Major Depressive Episodes In The General Population: Results From The Netherlands Mental Health Survey And Incidence Study
Published online by Cambridge University Press: 02 January 2018
- Affiliation:Netherlands Institute of Mental Health and Addiction, Utrecht and De Galderse Roos, Institute for Mental Health Care, Arnhem
- Ron De Graaf
- Netherlands Institute of Mental Health and Addiction, Utrecht
- Rob V Bijl
- Research and Documentation Center of the Ministry of Justice, The Hague
- Aartjan T. F. Beekman
- Netherlands Institute of Mental Health and Addiction, Utrecht and Department of Psychiatry, University of Amsterdam
- Johan Ormel
- Department of Psychiatry, University of Groningen
- Willem A. Nolen
- University Medical Centre, Utrecht and Altrecht Institute for Mental Health Care, Utrecht, The Netherlands
- Jan Spijker, Netherlands Institute of Mental Health and Addiction , PO Box 725, 3500 AS Utrecht, The Netherlands. Tel: +31 302971100 fax: +31 302971111 e-mail:
Data on the duration of major depressive episodes in the general population are sparse.
To assess the duration of MDE and its clinical and socio-demographic determinants in a study group drawn from the general population with newly originated episodes of major depression.
The Netherlands Mental Health Survey and Incidence Study is a prospective epidemiological survey in the adult population , using the Composite International Diagnostic Interview. Duration of MDE over 2 years was assessed with a Life Chart Interview.
Seven Classes And The Key Findings That Shaped Them
The seven phenoclasses, as the U-M team has dubbed them, include standard measures doctors already use to diagnose and track the progress of bipolar disorder.
Changes in cognition, which includes thinking, reasoning and emotion processing
Psychological dimensions such as personality and temperament
Measures of behaviors related to substance use or abuse called motivated behaviors
Aspects of the persons life involving family, intimate relationships and traumas
Patterns of sleep and circadian rhythms
Measures of how patients symptoms change over time and respond to treatment
Some of the key findings the U-M team made in the Prechter cohort include:
Although bipolar disorder tends to run in families, the long-term study revealed no one gene explains it, says McInnis, who is the Woodworth Professor of Bipolar Disorder and Depression in the U-M Medical Schools Department of Psychiatry.
If there was a gene with a strong effect like what we see in breast cancer, for instance, we would have found it, he explains. We hope this new framework will provide a new approach to understand this disorder, and other complex diseases, by developing models that can guide a management strategy for clinicians and patients and give researchers consistent variables to measure and assess.
Read Also: What Do People Do When They Are Depressed
Progression Of Psychosis In Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar psychosis moves along a continuum. Explanation, examples of how psychosis progresses in bipolar disorder.
The following section explains how bipolar disorder with psychosis progresses. There are three terms you need to know:
Euphoric Mania: This mania includes expansive, grandiose, upbeat and on top of the world feelings.
Dysphoric Mania: In this episode, the person is agitated and depressed as well as manic. This is also called a mixed episode.
Up to 70% of people with severe euphoric or dysphoric mania have psychosis. Psychosis is more common in euphoric mania.
Psychotic Depression: Its so easy to confuse the negative, hopeless and often suicidal thoughts of depression with psychotic thoughts- but depression is not psychotic unless there are specific hallucinations and delusions associated with the depression. Up to 50% of people with bipolar depression have some form of psychosis.
Try To Practice Gratitude
When youre in the middle of a depressive episode, being grateful is probably one of the last things you want to do. But by identifying the good things in your life, the negatives can seem less overwhelming. And for anybody, there are a lot of benefits that get taken for granted every dayhaving a home, being healthy, and even just being alive.
Recommended Reading: How To Get Back From Depression
It Took Over A Month For Me To Return To My Stable Self
This is a month AFTER the two week depressive episode. As my dear friend Jay Carter, the author of always says, it takes a very long time for our brains to get back on track chemically when we have an episode. This is especially true for longer episodes. The longer the episode- the longer the recovery time. This makes sense when we read it, but when were going through it, we often expect life to magically get back to normal once the mood swing ends.
If it took me 30 days to recover from two weeks of depression, what does it take to recover from a massive manic and psychotic episode? It can take a year for some people. No one wants to hear this, but I believe we need to be honest with ourselves in order to survive bipolar disorder.
If we know that recovery takes time, we can go easier on ourselves.
I want to be nice to myself when I get sick. I want to and need to give myself time to recover.
Patience doesnt come naturally for me. I tend to put myself down for not being able to work much, but wow, this is a pretty darn serious illness. I need to respect what my body experiences when I get sick and give it time to heal.
We have to be ready for recovery time after an episode. We dont just bounce back.
We can come back. We can flourish- we can get better and back to our stable selves, but its a process and it always takes longer than we
What Can I Do If I Have Depression
If you have symptoms of depression, see your healthcare provider. They can give you an accurate diagnosis, refer you to a specialist or suggest treatment options.
If you or someone you know is thinking of hurting themselves or taking their own life:
- Go to the emergency department of your hospital.
- Contact a healthcare provider.
- Speak to a trusted friend, family member or spiritual leader.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Depression is a common condition that affects millions of Americans every year. Anyone can experience depression even if there doesnt seem to be a reason for it. Causes of depression include difficulties in life, brain chemistry abnormalities, some medications and physical conditions. The good news is that depression is treatable. If you have symptoms of depression, talk to your healthcare provider. The sooner you get help, the sooner you can feel better
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 12/31/2020.
Don’t Miss: Living Away From Family And Depression
How Long Depression Lasts Depends On Many Factors
Depression affects everyone differently.
Even though there are a few established symptoms of the condition, not everyone experiences them in the same way.
For some people, depression symptoms are persistent over the years. For others, symptoms will come and go at times.
Some research suggests that the symptoms of clinical depression can last an average of 10 months if no other mental health conditions are present.
But this is not always the case. Because there are different types of depression, symptom duration varies greatly.
For example, a depressive episode caused by mourning might last a few days or weeks and often resolves on its own.
In most cases, however, depression requires the support of a health professional.
There are many types of depression, and the type youre experiencing may impact how long or intense your symptoms are.
Why Do Depressive Episodes Last That Long
Everyone is affected differently by depression. Even while the disorder has a few well-established symptoms, not all encounters them in the same manner. Depression symptoms might last a long time for some people. Symptoms may appear and disappear for others. According to some reliable sources, clinical depression symptoms can linger for up to ten months when no other mental health problems are prevalent.
This isnt always the case, though. The duration of symptoms varies widely depending on the type of depression. A depressed episode brought on by grief, for example, may last a few days or weeks and usually fades on its own. Depression, on the other hand, almost always necessitates the assistance of a medical expert.
Although the etiology of depression is yet unknown, biological, mental, and social elements are thought to be involved. Variables such as socioeconomic position, lifestyle, and personality traits all have an influence on the development of depression and may raise the likelihood of a major depressive episode. There are numerous hypotheses about how depression develops. One theory is that the brains neurotransmitters are out of equilibrium, resulting in emotions of unworthiness and despair.
Read Also: Major Depressive Disorder Disability Rating
What Are The Symptoms Of Depression
Depression can affect your emotions, mind and body. Depression symptoms include:
- Feeling very sad, hopeless or worried.
- Not enjoying things that used to give you joy.
- Being easily irritated or frustrated.
- Eating too much or too little.
- Changes in how much you sleep.
- Having a difficult time concentrating or remembering things.
- Experiencing physical problems like headache, stomachache or sexual dysfunction.
- Thinking about hurting or killing yourself.
If you or someone you know has thoughts of hurting themselves, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800.273.8255. This national network of local crisis centers provides free, private emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Who Has Rapid Cycling
Anyone with bipolar disorder can experience rapid cycling, but it is more likely to affect women than men.
According to the Mood Disorders Association of Ontario, around 1020 percent of people with bipolar disorder experience rapid cycling. Between 7090 percent of these are women.
It can happen at any time during a persons experience of bipolar disorder, and it can come and go. Not everyone with rapid-cycling will experience changes four times every year.
A study published in 2014 in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry also suggests that rapid cycling might be more likely to affect those who:
- have had bipolar symptoms for a longer period of time
- were relatively young when bipolar symptoms first appeared
- are more prone to substance and alcohol abuse
- have a higher risk of suicide
This does not mean that these factors cause rapid cycling, only that they are more likely to occur with this type of disorder.
Rapid cycling involves extreme changes in moods four or more times in a 12-month period.
These changes can be mentally and physically exhausting.
Licensed therapist Harold Jonas explains that rapid-cycling bipolar disorder:
Makes a person literally live life at its extreme ranges of emotion and pushes their mental and physical endurance to the brink. Its a literal rollercoaster where the emotional highs are very high, and the lows are dangerously low.
The following symptoms can occur when a person has rapid-cycling bipolar disorder.
Recommended Reading: Why Do I Feel So Depressed In The Morning
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.
Depressive Episodes With Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder is a different type of mood disorder that is characterized by a cycle of depressive episodes and manic episodes. Manic episodes are essentially the opposite of depression, during which a person feels euphoric, energized, and sleeps little and acts recklessly. The depressive episodes that precede or follow manic episodes can feel a lot like an episode of major depression.
Certain symptoms are more common in episodes of bipolar depression than major depression. Someone going through bipolar depression is more likely to feel irritable and guilty, to be restless and agitated, and to have unpredictable mood swings. Bipolar depression is also more likely to cause psychotic symptoms, such as hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia. Another important difference is that antidepressants may not help treat someone with bipolar disorder. In fact, these drugs may make periods of mania more likely. Instead, bipolar disorder is more often treated with mood stabilizing drugs.
Don’t Miss: How Bad Is Major Depressive Disorder
What Is Bipolar 2 Disorder
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.
Understanding Whats Happening To You
If youre in the middle of a depression episode, it may seem nearly impossible to know whats happening. However, there are a few ways you can track such attacks so you can take action to get the help you need.
- Start to chart your mood or use a journal to record your thoughts and feelings. Write down reactions to things that occur daily.
- Use that information to recognize triggers that could influence episodes, such as fighting with a spouse or employer.
- Talk to friends and family while youre feeling good. Ask them to let you know when you seem down. Have a circle of people you trust to help with this.
- Meet routinely with your doctor. Be sure you are receiving the proper medication and care.
- Meet with a therapist who can offer guidance about whats happeninghaving someone to speak to right away can be very empowering.
You may not be able to stop your episode from occurring, but youre recognizing whats happening and getting the help you need to manage it. Thats critical.
Recommended Reading: Will I Always Be Depressed
How Does It Affect People
Bipolar disorder affects both men and women. For many people, the first symptoms show up in their early twenties. However, research has shown that the first episode of bipolar disorder is occurring earlier: It often shows up in adolescence, and even children can have the disorder.
Recent research suggests that kids and teens with bipolar disorder dont always have the same behavioral patterns that adults with bipolar disorder do. For example, kids who have bipolar disorder may experience particularly rapid mood changes and may have some of the other mood-related symptoms listed below, such as irritability and high levels of anxiety. But they may not show other symptoms that are more commonly seen in adults.
Because brain function is involved, the ways people with bipolar disorder think, act, and feel are all affected. This can make it especially difficult for other people to understand their condition. It can be incredibly frustrating if other people act as though someone with bipolar disorder should just snap out of it, as if a person who is sick can become well simply by wanting to.
Bipolar disorder isnt a sign of weakness or a character flaw its a serious medical condition that requires treatment, just like any other condition.