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Can a Person Be Cured of Depression?

Ask a Doctor

My parents took me to a psychologist because I’m not doing well in school and staying in bed all day. She told me I have clinical depression and put me on SSRIs and a benzodiazepine for sleep. I’m only 15 years old and I don’t want to be on pills for the rest of my life. Can you cure depression?

Doctor’s Response

Depression is a serious illness that can cause serious symptoms including profound sadness, loss of interest in activities, sleep problems, restlessness, fatigue, feelings of worthlessness or guilt, and thoughts of suicide.

Currently there is no specific test to determine if depression has been cured. Treatment for depression usually includes a combination of antidepressant medication and psychotherapy. Other treatments include electro-convulsive therapy and IV medication infusions. Combining these treatments is more effective than using them on their own. An advantage of including psychotherapy in treatment is that it can help people develop coping skills that can persist even after treatment ends.

Complete remission of an acute first episode of depression requires treatment for a minimum of nine months or until symptoms disappear, and a patient should experience a minimum of two months without symptoms before treatment is stopped. Chronic depression that lasts two years or more will require treatment for two years after remission has occurred. If depression is recurrent, treatment should continue indefinitely.

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Learn to Spot Depression: Symptoms, Warning Signs, Medication See Slideshow

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References
Gregory Simon, MD, MPH. Patient education: Depression treatment options for adults (Beyond the Basics).
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Marano, Hara Estroff. When Is Depression Cured?
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Psychology Today.
14 November 2018
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