The Signs of Depression Relapse and Steps to Overcome It

Over 14.8 million American adults have had at least one major depressive episode. It’s a misunderstood condition that does much more than make you sad or lonely. Depression also has a high reoccurrence rate. It jumps to 50% after the first episode, 70% after the 2nd, and 90% after the third. The symptoms of depression aren’t the same for every patient or even during each episode. You may notice differences in your mood, body, or thoughts. Learn the signs of depression relapse and how to receive outpatient depression treatment.

What Is a Depression Relapse?

A depression relapse is a recurrence of depression symptoms after a previous episode. It can happen days, months, or even years later. Some depression-like disorders are more likely to reoccur, such as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

Stopping treatment too early is one of the most common reasons for depression relapse. Other risk factors include:

  • Family history of depression
  • Medical conditions such as diabetes, obesity, and heart disease
  • Significant life changes
  • Death of a loved one
  • Personal or worldwide traumatic events
  • Hormonal fluctuations
  • Addiction
  • Lack of social support
  • Having another mental health condition

Having these risk factors means that you should be on your guard for another depressive episode. Look out for the changes in your body and mind that it causes and get treatment as soon as possible.

Signs of a Depression Relapse

Looking for the signs of a depression relapse means looking for the signs of depression. You may not experience the same symptoms during each episode, but there are changes to monitor. Mood changes are a typical result of depression. You may begin to feel down, irritable, or anxious. You may have frequent mood swings or lash out at your loved ones. A condition known as anhedonia is another telltale sign of depression. It refers to a disinterest in hobbies or activities you used to enjoy.

Depression can change the way you think about yourself. You may begin to feel worthless and guilty or even consider suicide. Depression may make you want to eat or sleep too little or too much. Mood changes are part of why it also makes it difficult to concentrate and remember information. Depression also causes physical symptoms. You may have strange, persistent aches and pains in your head, stomach, or muscles.

A true relapse lasts for weeks or even months. Get help if you notice long-lasting changes that resemble any of these signs for a long time.

Preventing a Relapse

Depression is an insidious mental disease, and there’s no foolproof way to keep it from coming back once you’ve had it. A few simple changes in your lifestyle can prevent the symptoms from returning.

Changing the way you think to make it more positive is easier said than done, but it can help fight depression. Mindfulness techniques such as meditation may make it easier because they get you in touch with your feelings.

Exercise is a natural way to get more mood-boosting endorphins. If you’re not feeling like yourself, you may want to move more often and create a fitness routine that fits your schedule.

Improving your diet can also help. Depression may make you want to eat too much or too little, but you need to fight against this so that your body and mind have enough energy to return to normal.

You must also resist the urge to isolate yourself when you feel depressed. Speak to your friends and family about how you’re feeling and ask them to watch out for signs of a relapse.

Get help as soon as you or your family notice your symptoms returning. The earlier you do, the sooner you’ll begin to feel like yourself again.  

Treatments Options

Slightly more than half of U.S. adults who’ve experienced a major depressive episode receive treatment. Don’t be part of the group that hasn’t gotten help. It can be discouraging if a treatment method doesn’t work, but other treatment options are available. There is no perfect treatment for everyone. 

Talk Therapies 

Interpersonal therapy (IPT) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) are examples of talk therapies. Do your research to find the right therapist for you. You have a positive relationship with your therapist and understand your needs. You may also try several types of talk therapy before you find one that works.

Medication

Antidepressants or mood stabilizers are the most common medication for depression treatment. One of the most popular is selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs. They regulate how your brain uses certain chemicals, especially serotonin. You may have to try a few prescriptions before finding the right one. Medications take 2-4 weeks to regulate your mood. Side effects include nausea, indigestion, diarrhea, constipation, dizziness, blurred vision, and dry mouth.

Where to Find Outpatient Depression Treatment

Depression is one of the most common mental health conditions in the world. It’s also one of the most likely to reoccur. The best way to get back to yourself is to know what to look for during a relapse. You may become more irritable, lose interest in your favorite activities, isolate yourself, or begin to see yourself as worthless.

Prevention methods include exercise and social support. Treatments include medication, talk therapy, and electroconvulsive therapy. Comprehensive Wellness Centers is ready to help with all your mental health needs. Visit us for outpatient depression treatment today.

Medically Reviewed: July 21, 2022

Dr Ashley

Medical Reviewer | CWC Recovery Staff

Clinical Team

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All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

Content on this page has been reviewed by CWC Medical Staff for accuracy.


All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

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