How Long Does Depression Last? & Will it Go Away on Its Own?
While sadness is a common emotion that everyone experiences from time to time, depression is a mental health disorder characterized by more persistent and severe feelings of sadness.
There are several different types of depression and the symptoms of these disorders can interfere with a person’s daily life.
How Long Does Depression Last?
For someone to be diagnosed with depression, their symptoms must last for at least two weeks.1
How long depression lasts after these two weeks can vary drastically from person to person and will depend on a variety of factors including the type of depressive disorder. Some people may have depression that fades, but others may struggle with depression on and off their whole life.
Some types of depression go away with time and are more short-lived by nature. For example, seasonal affective disorder or winter depression is depression that recurs during a certain season each year. As the seasons change and the days pass, the symptoms begin to go away. Similarly, postpartum depression occurs shortly after birth and typically does not last more than a few weeks.1
In other cases, depression can be chronic. Major depressive disorder is a severe form of depression with depressive episodes that last months or sometimes even more than a year, especially without mental health care
. These severe depressive episodes may come and go and are often followed by periods of more mild symptoms.2
Some people with major depressive disorder will repeat this cycle of severe and mild depression throughout most of their life.
Does Depression Go Away Without Treatment?
While more severe cases of depression usually require professional mood disorder treatment
to see improvement in symptoms, some depression may go away without treatment. This is usually the result of more mild cases or types of depression that tend to only be temporary in nature such as postpartum depression.
Although there is a chance that some depression will go away without treatment, the best way to decrease the amount of time that depression lasts is to get professional help. Especially in the case of major depressive disorders, a professional depression treatment center
could reduce the severity and duration of symptoms drastically. Treatment usually includes a combination of psychotherapy techniques and medications.
Left untreated, some depression can become more severe or lead to other secondary problems. Other mental health problems may arise, or depression could also snowball into suicidal ideation
. In some cases, people will turn to drugs and alcohol to self-medicate and develop a substance abuse problem on top of their depression. When this occurs, dual diagnosis treatment
At Banyan Mental Health, we help people move past their mental health problems and learn how to better manage their symptoms.
To get help for yourself or a loved one, call us now at 888-280-4763.
- NIH- Depression
- Harvard Health Publishing- Major Depression