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How Can I Prevent Clinical Depression Recurrence?

By: Ian Murnaghan BSc (hons), MSc - Updated: 28 Mar 2016 | comments*Discuss
 
Antidepressant Therapy Clinical

Q.

Is it possible to prevent clinical depression recurrence by taking antidepressants lifelong?

(Mr Arun Varghese, 11 September 2008)

A.

In short, yes – it is possible to prevent clinical depression from recurring by taking antidepressants long-term. However, long-term use would need to be monitored by your doctor and is not suitable for all people with clinical depression. While some people find that a short course of antidepressants is sufficient to improve their mood and reduce the symptoms of depression, others respond well to long-term use of antidepressants.

The average patient who has one episode of depression will usually undergo a six to twelve month course of antidepressant therapy. Their antidepressant is then tapered off to prevent withdrawal symptoms. Counselling and other similar forms of therapy may also be used in conjunction with antidepressant therapy, which are thought to help prevent recurrence when a patient is no longer on antidepressants. For people experiencing a single episode of depression, they can usually manage without antidepressants after they have completed a standard course of antidepressant therapy.

Alternately, there are those individuals who experience numerous episodes of depression and ultimately find that their condition becomes chronic. In this situation, a person may need to maintain the benefits of antidepressant therapy by continuation of the drug for an extended period of time – for life.

To date, there is no evidence to suggest that long-term use of antidepressants poses a significant risk to patients. However, patients who do take antidepressants long-term may develop unrelated health conditions for which the antidepressant is contraindicated. In this case, your doctor would more likely switch you to another medication rather than halting the specific antidepressant therapy.

The idea of taking a drug for life can be one that doesn't sit well with people but in the case of a depressive illness, it may be necessary to continue taking antidepressants to help keep mental health stable and positive while preventing a recurrence of clinical depression. Keep in mind that depression is far more than just a poor, low mood. Depression is very much a biological condition, which means that patients can't just snap out of it through their own willpower and choice. Medical attention is important and if the depression is chronic, lifelong antidepressant treatment may be the best choice.

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Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Anrie - Your Question:
I have been working in construction (Hong Kong MTR station box) for almost 4 months now. I have high frequency of absence mainly due to zero interest in my job. I see it this way I believe because I do not see any connection of this job with my passion or career. I am merely doing this to bring food to the table and pay our bills. Whenever it is time for me to go work I feel fearful and do not want to go. What do I need to do? Please advise.

Our Response:
Sounds like you could do with looking for another job as the first step in trying to improve your wellbeing.
OvercomeDepression - 31-Mar-16 @ 12:27 PM
I have been working in construction (Hong Kong MTR station box) for almost 4 months now. I have high frequency of absence mainly due to zero interest in my job. I see it this way I believe because I do not see any connection of this job with my passion or career. I am merely doing this to bring food to the table and pay our bills. Whenever it is time for me to go work I feel fearful and do not want to go. What do I need to do? Please advise.
Anrie - 28-Mar-16 @ 11:10 PM
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