Depressive Episode

What is a depressive episode?

The definition of a depressive episode is a period of depression that persists for at least two weeks. During a depressive episode, a person will typically experience low or depressed mood and/or loss of interest in most activities, as well as a number of other symptoms of depression, such as tiredness, changes in appetite, feelings of worthlessness and recurrent thoughts of death. The length of a depressive episode varies, but the average duration is thought to be six to eight months.

Depression is a common illness, and many people will experience one or more episodes of depression in their lifetime. While people of all races and ages can experience depressive episodes, they tend to be more common among women than men. People who have a history of depression, other mental health conditions such as bipolar disorder or anxiety, or chronic physical conditions such as diabetes, chronic pain or multiple sclerosis, also have a higher risk of experiencing a depressive episode.

The severity of a depressive episode varies; it may be classified as major or minor, depending on the number of symptoms and degree of impairment (social, domestic and work) experienced. Regardless of the severity, all depressive episodes should be taken seriously and treated promptly by a professional healthcare provider. Effective treatment, which typically involves medication and/or therapy, for depression is available.

Without appropriate treatment, the risk of experiencing further episodes of depression is thought to be higher. The risk of another depressive episode occurring seems to increase with every new episode, with each one likely to last longer and be more severe than the previous one. Timely treatment can alleviate the symptoms of depression and help shorten the duration of any future episodes.  read more

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