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Mental health is a major area of concern these days. Due to the kind of lifestyle and expectations a lot of people are experiencing bad mental health.
Most people ignore their bad mental health, thinking it will improve. But this is hardly the case.
One needs to take good care of their mental health to function properly only then will one be able to excel in life. If ignored for a long, bad mental health can be the reason for certain chronic issues like anxiety, depression, stress, and many other things.
Good mental health is equally required for functioning properly. Some people experience moderate depression and tend to ignore the symptoms. This ignorance for a long time eventually leads to major depressive disorder1.
It is also very important to keep yourself aware of issues related to mental health. So let us know what depression relapse means and how and when depression relapse occurs.
Depression relapse occurs when the depression symptoms 2begin to come back or are visible soon. A depression relapse occurs in a person who has already experienced depression in their life at any point in time.
This is Your Best Guide to Knowing All About Depression Relapse!
1. What is Depression?
Depression is a mental illness that negatively affects our lifestyle. In present times, a lot of people are suffering from depression. In some people, depressive symptoms are very clearly visible. However, some people might seem very normal.
What Are the Symptoms?
Depressive symptoms include feeling sad or hopeless, difficulty sleeping, anxiety, trouble thinking, less eating or overeating habits, and many other symptoms.
Stressful life events can cause depression. Sometimes depressive episodes occur from time to time.
That is why it is very important not to ignore the symptoms. It would be good to get in touch with a psychiatrist as soon as possible. Interpersonal therapy is very helpful for dealing with depression.3
However, if ignored for a long time, this might become a major depressive disorder.
2. What Is Depression Relapse and Its Cause?
Depression relapse is a mental condition that is experienced by people who have already had a history of depression.
Even after completing treatment for depression, there is always a risk for recurrence of depression. Depression relapse brings back the symptoms of depression.
Depression relapse triggers our mental health. People who experience depression relapse have to go through a lot of trouble. They begin to experience depressed moods again, and some might even have the risk of developing suicidal thoughts4.
Depression recurrence can take a lot of toll on people’s mental as well as physical health. Such people have to put too much effort into being good and happy again. People even go through a period where they don’t feel like eating, thus losing weight.
Depression relapse might be caused due to various reasons. Some of the common reasons that are widely found include: –
2.1. Loss of Family Members
Sometimes, depression relapse might be triggered due to the loss of family members.
The loss of a family member is no doubt very sad and depressing, especially for people who have already had depression and experience this pain differently and more disturbingly. Some of them might even get back to where they started.
2.2. Stressful Life Events
Depression relapse might also be caused due to stressful life events. A person has to deal with a lot of problems in their daily life. One of the other stressful life events might trigger depression relapse5.
Some examples of such events are family conflicts, issues at work, and many other things.
2.3. Incomplete Treatment
Incomplete treatment might also be the cause of depression relapse. When a person has not recovered completely from their depressive episode, there is a high chance of them suffering from a depression relapse.
2.4. Stopping the Depression Treatment
People might also trigger depression relapse if they stop their depression treatment in the middle, without completing it.
According to the diagnostic criteria, it is very important to complete one’s depression treatment.
However, some people get irritated due to other reasons and discontinue treatment which causes negative thought patterns.
2.5. Other Causes
There might be other small events that might cause depression relapse. For example, even a small fight with one’s co-workers might be enough to bring back depressive episodes.
3. Symptoms of Depression Relapse
Now we know what depression relapse is and some of the possible reasons that might trigger it. It is very important to know the symptoms of depression relapse6. If we know the symptoms, we might be able to help ourselves and our peers.
Recognizing depression relapse is not very difficult in most cases, but one needs to be very careful. The symptoms of depression and depression relapse are quite similar, with a fine line between them.
Some of the core symptoms of depression relapse are mentioned below:-
- Depression relapse affects the eating habits of a patient. Some people do not eat much; on the other hand, other people might start stress eating or overeating. This affects the physical health of the patients.
- Some of the patients with depression relapse also experience sleep disturbances and have trouble getting enough sleep in a single stretch. This also affects their mind as well as their entire body in a very negative manner. Our body only functions properly when it has had enough amount of sleep. However, in this case, due to a lack of proper sleep, one might experience a lack of interest and might not be able to concentrate properly.
- Social withdrawal is also one of the very important symptoms of depression relapse. People who are going through it might not want to socialize as much. They might not open themselves up to people. Some people even lock themselves in their rooms to avoid interactions and questions.
- People who are experiencing depression relapse might feel hopeless and very sad. For them, it is like the world has no meaning. They might not feel motivated enough to do their daily chores.
- Anxiety is another symptom of depression relapse. Patients always have an overwhelming feeling of fear and anxiety.
- People with depression relapse might have low self-esteem, and they might even look down upon themselves. They also experience low body confidence and might feel like they are not good at anything. We need to take special care of these people.
- Some people might also experience physical aches and body pain. They might feel tired most of the time. Some depressive episodes can be very straining and drain all the energy.
- Brain fog is another symptom of depression relapse. It hinders the ability of our minds to concentrate properly. This is why people have trouble memorizing stuff.
- Another symptom of depression relapse is the loss of interest in various activities that used to be previously interesting. For example, a person going through a depression relapse might have loved to paint earlier, but after the relapse triggers, they might not want to do it.
- Severe depression might also make some people suicidal. They might start having suicidal thoughts, which might make it worse for them.
These are some of the warning signs that must be noticed and prevented before they turn into affective disorders.
4. Best Treatment Options
Various new and advanced methods can be used to deal with a depression relapse. Some of them are joining a support group, seeking talk therapy, taking mood stabilizers and many other such things.
Some of them are elaborated on below: –
4.1. Talk Therapy
To prevent relapses, one of the best ways is taking talk therapies. In these therapies, the patient talks to a therapist. They discuss the patient’s issues and offer possible solutions.
The therapist might give various prompts to the patient for discussion. Reports state that a lot of people are healed with the help of these therapies. Their self-loathing tendencies can be brought under control.
Cognitive behavioural therapy is also very helpful in dealing with mental health struggles. This type of therapy lets the patient know about their thoughts and feelings, which might be the cause of their depression.
Another type of therapy is interpersonal therapy. In this type of therapy, a patient talks to his or her therapist. They talk about various issues, which helps the patient to know a lot about themselves.
Therapy is one of the best treatment methods that can help prevent depression relapse7.
Physical aches are one of the problems faced during a depression relapse. Indulging in physical exercises will help a lot in this case. Some people prefer going for morning walks, while others might prefer the gym.
Mental health is affected a lot by bad physical health. So it is mandatory to take care of your physical health as well.
Sleep disturbances should also be checked, and one can even take medications to sleep better. But this has to be done only after consulting a doctor.
Taking antidepressant medication is also very helpful in dealing with a depression relapse. Medicines help us in dealing with our depressed mood. Some people find mood stabilizers very useful.
Prescribed antidepressant medication is used as a tool by many patients. Doctors may also prescribe a patient selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors8 depending on their condition.
Some types of inhibitors are also useful in dealing with a depression relapse. However, it is very important to consult a doctor before starting the intake of medicines. Without consultation, taking medicines can be harmful.
4.4. Eat Healthy Food
Eating healthy food is what can help in dealing with a depression relapse. It will also help in preventing it from occurring at all. Healthy food with a good amount of physical activity will help the patients a lot in their healing journey.
Weight gain is one of the problems that some people face while they are in depression. Eating healthy food and doing exercises will help them.
Green vegetables and dry fruits are some foods that almost every doctor will recommend.
4.5. Stay Away from Substance Abuse
Drugs and alcohol are misinterpreted to be helpful. However, these are the things that can be a hindrance in the healing process. They will only prove bad for someone’s depressive episode.
It will only worsen the situation. This is why doctors and psychiatrists tell their patients to stay away from drugs and all sorts of alcoholic drinks.
5. Conclusion – Importance of Mental Health
Now it is clear that taking care of our mental health is very important. It is equally important as our physical health.
While dealing with mental health, we must be able to realize the problems faced by others as well. Empathy towards others as well as towards ourselves.
One thing that is very important and must be remembered always is that healing is a long process. It is going to take a lot of time, and one has to be patient throughout this journey. Not giving up is no doubt very difficult but that is the one thing that we can do.
Depression relapses are very difficult to manage or prevent. But with the right company and good medications, it can be prevented. Do not stop your medication in between because this would be a total waste of one’s resources.
Apart from that, there are a lot of suicide prevention programs out there. Search for some of them and get enrolled in any one of them that seems suitable. An extreme form of treatment could be electroconvulsive therapy; this will help in preventing depression relapse.
If you experience the symptoms that have been stated above, then you must immediately visit a mental health professional. If you take a lot of time to visit doctors, then things can get out of hand.
Besides, try focusing on the positive things happening in your life. Try to do things that keep you happy and satisfied.
- Otte, Christian, et al. “Major depressive disorder.” Nature reviews Disease primers 2.1 (2016): 1-20. ↩︎
- Fried, Eiko I., and Randolph M. Nesse. “Depression sum-scores don’t add up: why analyzing specific depression symptoms is essential.” BMC medicine 13.1 (2015): 1-11. ↩︎
- Manosso, Luana M., Morgana Moretti, and Ana Lúcia S. Rodrigues. “Nutritional strategies for dealing with depression.” Food & function 4.12 (2013): 1776-1793. ↩︎
- Franklin, Joseph C., et al. “Risk factors for suicidal thoughts and behaviors: A meta-analysis of 50 years of research.” Psychological bulletin 143.2 (2017): 187. ↩︎
- Segal, Zindel V., et al. “Cognitive reactivity to sad mood provocation and the prediction of depressive relapse.” Archives of general psychiatry 63.7 (2006): 749-755. ↩︎
- Paykel, E. S. “Partial remission, residual symptoms, and relapse in depression.” Dialogues in clinical neuroscience 10.4 (2008): 431-437. ↩︎
- Cruwys, Tegan, et al. “Social group memberships protect against future depression, alleviate depression symptoms and prevent depression relapse.” Social science & medicine 98 (2013): 179-186. ↩︎
- Hiemke, Christoph, and Sebastian Härtter. “Pharmacokinetics of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.” Pharmacology & therapeutics 85.1 (2000): 11-28. ↩︎