After been treated for depression in the past. Can a future depression episode be prevented?
Although many people who recover completely from a depressive episode never become depressed again, more than half of people who have been depressed will have another episode at some point in the future. The risk for future episodes increases with more episodes of depression. Although there are no specific preventive measures that can be taken, there are ways to lower the risk for recurrence, including reducing stress levels and developing problem-solving strategies.
Exercise, good nutrition, and adequate sleep promote a healthy sense of wellness, which can ward off negative effects of stress. In addition, a lack of adequate sleep can be associated with increased irritability, malaise, and poor functioning during the day, which may precipitate depression in someone who is vulnerable. Some people find that the use of relaxation techniques such as meditation or yoga reduces stress levels. Psychotherapy helps an individual develop new coping styles and insights into his or her responses to negative events. With increased self-awareness and self-esteem, there is a reduced vulnerability to situations that could precipitate depression. Also, early recognition of the signs and symptoms of depression allows for early treatment intervention, which can hasten recovery.