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Depression is different for everyone.
For some people, a bout of depression begins with symptoms of anxiety (such as worrying a lot), sadness, or lack of energy. This may go on for days or months before you or others think you are depressed. And other people may feel depressed suddenly. This may happen after a big change in life, such as the loss of a loved one or a serious accident.
It's possible to have periods of both energy and elation (mania) and depression. This may be bipolar disorder. If this happens to you, tell your doctor. The treatments for depression and bipolar disorder are different. For more information, see the topic Bipolar Disorder.
How long does depression last?
If you don't get treated, depression may last from months to a year or longer.
A small number of people feel depressed for most of their lives and always need treatment.
Depression can return, which is called a relapse. At least half of the people who have depression once get it again.1 How likely you are to get depression again increases each time you have a bout of depression. You can make having another bout of depression less likely by following your treatment plan and using your medicines.
Depression and other health concerns
Depression is linked with many health concerns. These include other diseases, drug or alcohol use, and pregnancy. If you have depression and another health concern, you need to deal with both of them.
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