Does it mean that we will recovery faster if diagnosed with only a mild depression?
Several types of depression exist. Each is characterized by a specified symptom presentation. The most common types of depression are major depressive disorder, dysthymic disorder, and bipolar depression. Major depressive disorder is given a qualifier of mild, moderate, or severe, depending on the number of symptoms. In a mild major depression, treatment is essentially the same as for a moderate to severe depression, but the response to the treatment may not necessarily be better. Certainly, the required interventions may not be as intense as those used for a severe depression (e.g., hospitalization or twice a week or more therapy).
Dysthymic disorder is also considered a mild type of depression, but its course is more apt to be chronic; thus, recovery may be more difficult than for someone who has a discrete episode of major depression. In particular, some individuals with dysthymia have a major depressive episode as well (called “double depression”), which may complicate the treatment.
Although dysthymia is not associated with the same degree of morbidity and mortality as major depression, it does cause functional impairment and thus affects a person’s well-being. Dysthymic disorder is generally treated the same as a major depression, but again, treatment interventions may not need to be as intense, depending on the level of functional impairment. For example, hospitalization is not likely necessary for dysthymic disorder. In terms of time to recovery, it typically takes 4 to 6 weeks for depression to go into remission once medication therapy is initiated. It may take longer if psychotherapy is the only intervention. The type of depression present does not signify the likelihood of response to treatment, although it may inform as to prognosis. For example, bipolar depression may require longer maintenance treatment than one episode of major depression.