Will depression happen again?
Some people experience an episode of depression once only in their lives and never again. For the majority, however, depression is a chronic (recurrent) illness. It is wise therefore to bear these guidelines in mind. Write down your own particular set of symptoms and how you feel when you are depressed, so that when you are better, you can refer to it if necessary. It is not easy for us to spot a recurrence of the illness in ourselves, because we tend to forget how things were when we were ill and because, when we start to fall ill again, we lose insight into our own condition.
Life guidelines for depression
- Be careful not to allow too much stress into your life, for this can trigger depression.
- When you are, unavoidably, going through a stressful period, make sure that you eat, sleep and exercise regularly so that you can counteract some of the adverse effects.
- Take extra care of yourself during and after illness for this is when you may be most vulnerable.
- Always keep a balance in your life between you work life, your home life and your personal time.
Facts and figures on depression
- More than half the people who have one attack of depression necessitating treatment will have at least one further episode of depression at some time in their lives.
- About one-quarter of patients relapse within one year and three-quarters will experience a recurrence within ten.
- Depression is twice as common in women as in men.
- More than one-third (37 percent) of people treated for depression by primary care physicians suffer recurrent depression within 19 months.
- Women who have had one episode of puerperal psychosis have a 50 percent chance of recurrence.
- The more severe the first depression and the greater the number of episodes, the greater the probability of relapse.
Ill and/or Depressed
- Don’t forget that you can be ill as well as depressed. Some conditions, such as flu and high blood pressure, may produce symptoms similar to those of depression.
- Because some of the symptoms of depression coincide with the symptoms of other conditions, it may be that you are not suffering from depression at all.
- Take care not to attribute all illness to depression at the risk of neglecting your physical health.
What you really need to know about depression
- Depression can often recur.
- You can reduce the possibility of another attack of depression.
- You can and will get well again.
- Depression does not confer immunity from all other illnesses, so feeling unwell may be owing to a physical illness, not depression.
- Depression can trigger important and positive changes in your life.
Key Facts: If you experience any of the familiar symptoms of depression, consult your family doctor. Write down how you feel when you are ill, so that you can refer to it if necessary in the future. Try to keep a balance in all aspects of your life – work, family and your own needs.