Depression Recovery

Depression recovery and treatment varies based on they type of depression one is suffering from. This article discusses the depression recovery and effectiveness of medication in non-pathological depression, major depressions, minor depressions, and dysthymia.

When speaking about depression, recovery is not a foregone conclusion. This article discusses depression in terms of what is known about recovery.

Non-Pathological Depression and Recovery

Non-pathological depression is the kind of depression that you get when something goes wrong in life and it affects you but does not become a mental disorder. Maybe you didn’t get the part in the play you tried out for, didn’t get called back for a second interview for the job you wanted, or lost the race. You might end up feeling depressed. Perhaps, for a short period of time, you would feel sad or despondent. You might feel guilty or like a failure, and your eating and sleeping might be disrupted. But, in most cases, after a period of time - minutes, or days, or weeks - you’d get over it and move on. The depression would have passed, and you would have made a full recovery. You might still have regrets, thinking back. But your normal patterns would be resumed and your feelings would again be responsive to your life, rather than set to one channel.

Recovering from Depression When It Is a Mental Disorder

Non-pathological depression is only one type of depression, however. Depression that is an inordinate response, that goes on and on after a relatively minor event, that comes out of nowhere is something different. The course of these other types of depression, and if and how they respond to treatment, differs.

            The Course of the Depression

Another consideration in speaking about a cure is a difference between major depression (also called clinical depression or unipolar depression) and minor depression (also called mild depression, dysthymic disorder, dysthymia, or chronic depression). Though more severe, major depression is episodic and of shorter duration. Minor depression, though it may be less debilitating, lasts two years or longer. And experts point out that spending that long with one’s thoughts running in depressed patterns creates and reinforces mental pathways. For these reasons, in the long run, it can be more debilitating than major depression.

Dysthymia can have rates as high as 50 percent in families in which the early-onset form is prevalent. In addition, a minimum of 75 percent of patients who have dysthymia have either another mental disorder or a chronic physical illness, possibly interfacing in a self-perpetuating cycle. Partly because depression can last so long, some experts would prefer to postulate a depressive personality disorder, and this typology gives more of an impression that some of the underlying thought patterns - such as pessimism - may be built-in, so to speak, and enduring. If we’re talking about a person’s nature, then “recovery” may not be an operative term.

            The Effectiveness of Medication

A new report, published in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in January, 2010, reviews earlier data and reports that the effectiveness of tricyclic antidepressants and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) is greatest for those who have the most severe depression symptoms. Neither drug offered much benefit, if any, to patients suffering from mild to moderate depression.

There seem to be two possibilities. On the one hand, perhaps patients with mild and moderate depression will need to seek other approaches to treat their depression. They might find psychotherapy, support groups, exercise, or other steps to be more helpful.

On the other hand, it may be that a certain subset of the patients who are not benefitting from antidepressants and SSRIs are those with what has been called atypical depression. Atypical depression has also been found to be unresponsive to antidepressants and SSRIs, but responds well to monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). Because the diagnosis is not standardized, no firm and fast conclusions can be drawn in this regard. (See the article “Atypical Depression” for more information.)

            Hopeful Cases

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression about which new research is still turning up ideas. White light therapy is fairly new, and more than half the people who try it find it effective. But having found that it doesn’t work for everyone, there are now researchers studying the use of blue light.

SAD is also interesting for the reason that a cure may possibly be had by moving to a different geographical location. Though this is not something that everyone can or wishes to do, it puts the disorder in a different class from other types of depression, for which there is no comparable remedy.

Postpartum depression is another type of depression from which many people have found relief. When postpartum depression is treated, it usually is ended within several months.


Related Article: Depression Types >>