Is depression a mental illness?
Yes, clinical depression is a serious, but treatable, medical condition; it is not a personal weakness.
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. Getting the right treatment is crucial to recovery and in helping prevent or identify any future depression.
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 characterised 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 characterised as “ups” (periods of mania) and “downs” (periods of extreme depression). Though these phases may change rapidly or slowly, bipolar depression can last until an effective treatment is found. Dysthymia is mild and more difficult to identify and may last for years if left untreated.
Are there any alternatives to the traditional treatments for depression that I can try?
Alternative therapy describes any treatment or technique that has not been scientifically documented or identified as safe or effective for a specific condition. Alternative therapy involves a variety of disciplines that include everything from diet and exercise to mental conditioning and lifestyle changes. Examples of alternative therapies include yoga, acupuncture, guided imagery, chiropractic care, hypnosis, biofeedback, aromatherapy, relaxation, herbal remedies, massage and many others. If you are interested in trying any of these options, talk to your doctor.