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Questions and Answers About Depression

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7. Why are women more likely to get depression?

Women develop depression twice as often as men. One reason may be the various changes in hormone levels that women experience. For example, depression is common during pregnancy and menopause, as well as after giving birth, suffering a miscarriage, or having a hysterectomy -- these are all times when women experience huge fluctuations in hormones. Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), an extreme form of PMS, may also cause depression.

8. Do most people with depression commit suicide?

No. Most people who suffer from depression do not attempt suicide, but according to the National Mental Health Association, 30%-70% of suicide victims have suffered from some form of depression. This figure demonstrates the importance of seeking professional treatment for yourself or someone you love if you suspect depression.

9. Will someone who has had depression get it again?

Having experienced an episode of major depression does put a person at greater risk for future episodes, but not everyone who has recovered from depression will experience it again. Sometimes depression is triggered by a major life event, illness, or a combination of factors particular to a certain place and time. Depression can also occur for no obvious ''reason." Getting the proper treatment for the correct amount of time is crucial to recovery and in helping prevent or identify any future depression.

10. How long does depression last?

If left untreated, various types of depressive disorders can last for months or sometimes years. A major depressive episode is characterized by a set of symptoms that typically lasts for a few months. Seasonal depression, or SAD, usually extends throughout the winter months and continues to improve during spring and summer. Bipolar disorder is characterized as "ups" (periods of mania) and "downs" (periods of extreme depression). Though these phases may change rapidly or slowly, bipolar depression may last until an effective treatment is found. Dysthymia is mild and more difficult to identify and may last for years if left untreated.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Joseph Goldberg, MD on October 30, 2014
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