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How Long Do Depressive Episodes Last (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 6-8 Months

A depressive episode is a duration of poor mood and other emotional distress that lasts two weeks or longer in the course of a major depressive disorder. Whenever an individual is suffering from a depressive episode, they can try to alter their feelings and actions to help them feel better.

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America reported a few years ago that 16.1 million people in the United States had a minimum of one serious depressive episode. A depressed episode’s symptoms might last for weeks or even months. Depressive episodes can persist for up to a year, but this is uncommon.

How Long Do Depressive Episodes Last? 

Depressive EpisodesDuration
Minimum6 Months
Maximum8 Months

Taking care of depression as soon as symptoms appear can help patients recover faster. Even people who have been depressed for a long time may find that changing their mindset and behaviour helps them feel better. Depression, often known as major depressive disorder (MDD), is a type of mood disease. Chemical abnormalities in the brain are thought to be responsible for clinical depression.

You must have at least 5 depressive indicators daily for at least 2 weeks to be identified with major depressive disorder. Indications include a loss of interest in most activities you used to love, feelings of worthlessness or guilt (often for reasons that would not typically cause you to feel that way), unusual exhaustion and decreased energy, and more.

Major depressive disorder is highly recurring, with at least half of those who have one incident going on having one or more episodes throughout their lives. The length of your depression is determined by factors such as your habits and whether or not you seek prompt medical attention. It might persist for weeks, seasons, or even years at a time.

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If remains unaddressed, the symptoms can worsen over time, causing substantial disability, interfering with relationships and work, and even leading to self-harm or suicide. Those with serious depression may undergo a partial or complete remission, in which their symptoms fade or disappear entirely. When you’re at threat for persistent depression, treatment can help you manage your symptoms and prevent depressed episodes from occurring again.

Everyone’s treatment will be different. Individual features, symptoms, and events should all be taken into account while developing a treatment plan. The most successful treatment is frequently a blend of treatments, although everyone is different. Medication, psychotherapy, hospitalisation, and electroconvulsive therapy are all options for treatment.

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 isn’t 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 brain’s neurotransmitters are out of equilibrium, resulting in emotions of unworthiness and despair.

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The minds of people with depression look completely different than the minds of individuals who aren’t depressed, according to magnetic resonance imaging. The likelihood of being diagnosed with depression is increased if you have a family history of the disease. Psychological stress appears to play a bigger impact in the initial 1-2 depressive episodes, but less so in subsequent episodes, according to studies. Adults who have a serious depressive episode are more likely to suffer from various mental illnesses.

Conclusion

Depression is a widespread and dangerous medical disorder that affects the way a person feels, believes, and acts, according to the American Psychiatric Association. Although the length of a depressive episode varies, it is generally estimated to last six to eight months. Individuals can have one or many episodes of depression throughout their lives. The indications of these episodes might range from minor to severe.

Depressive episodes can strike anyone at any age, but they are most common in people aged 18 to 29 and some other age groups as well. Sadness and/or a lack of interest in previously appreciated activities are symptoms of depression. It can cause a variety of mental and physical issues, as well as a decrease in a person’s ability to function normally and at home.

References

  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0165032709001256
  2. https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/psychological-medicine/article/life-events-difficulties-and-onset-of-depressive-episodes-in-later-life/CB6C0273D2313C2F790C2C2B984F1A4D
  3. https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/the-british-journal-of-psychiatry/article/clinical-and-psychosocial-origins-of-chronic-depressive-episodes/FB910B91FC7E9F8BFFF24755FE1BC4CB
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