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Questions and Answers About Depression

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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 09, 2012
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