How is depression commonly treated?

The most commonly used treatment for major depression is antidepressant medication. It is relatively cheap, and easy for family practitioners (who treat the majority of depressed people) to use. However, once the episode has past, and you have stopped taking the antidepressants, depression tends to return, and at least 50% of those experiencing their first episode of depression find that depression comes back, despite appearing to have made a full recovery. After a second or third episode, the risk of recurrence rises to between 80 and 90%. Also, those who first became depressed before 20 years of age are particularly likely to suffer a higher risk of relapse and recurrence.

The main method for preventing this recurrence is the continuation of the medication, but many people do not want to stay on medication for indefinite periods, and when the medication stops, the risk of becoming depressed again returns. People are turning to new ways of helping them stay well after depression. To see what is most helpful, we need to understand why it is that you may remain at high risk, even when you’ve recovered.