When in the depths of a period of depression, it can feel as though there is no way out. For some people, depression may have developed later in their adult life whilst others may have lived with depression for as long as they can remember – and for this reason, this is a complex question to answer. Furthermore, depression is not a static concept and is experienced uniquely by every individual.
However, there are many therapies and interventions that have been shown to work very well in treating depression including medication and talking therapies. But what might work for you will be personal to your own unique story.
For some people, depression has occurred as a result of some stressful or difficult life events: loss, bereavement, physical illness, work related stress, having a baby, significant life changes, bullying or trauma are all very common factors that can precipitate a period of depressed mood. For many people, engaging in some simple but effective strategies can be enough to help them to feel better. However, some other people find that they need some extra support including medication or therapy. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) has been proven to work very well in helping people overcome a period of depression as well as giving them the tools to try and prevent or minimise future reoccurrences. But, as with any other kind of health difficulty, it can come back given the right (or wrong) circumstances.
For those whose depression is more longstanding, or very severe, treatment may need to be longer and may require more attempts to find the most helpful approach. For example, some people need to try a variety of medications before finding one (or a combination) that works for them. Sometimes depression occurs as part of another diagnosis or difficulty, for example Bipolar Disorder or Psychosis, which can mean a different approach to treatment. And for those who have always been depressed, a therapy that is longer term and relies on the client-therapist relationship may be most appropriate.
With all therapy and treatment for depression, the aim is to alleviate the symptoms and to increase wellbeing and quality of life, so this will look different for every individual. But the aim would be to help people understand their own unique risk factors and vulnerabilities and to look for ways in which to protect against these to minimise the risk of relapse.