Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Is depression a curable illness?"
My teenager has been diagnosed with depression. When is it considered cured? Will it come back later in life?
Depression is a disease that is not thought of as curable. With that said, it is considered to be a disease that is very treatable. Today's antidepressant medications help with the actual brain chemistry of depression correcting the mood disorder in the majority of cases. Usually when a patient is treated for depression, they are usually treated between one and two years. If their depression does not come back during that time, then they can wean off the medicines and see how they feel. There is a certain number of people in which the depression never returns. These people are said to be cured, though there is no way to be sure in a certain person that depression will not come back. There is also a certain number of people in which depression returns after treatment is stopped. In these people, treatment must be resumed and continued indefinitely. I suggest that you schedule an appointment for your daughter to see her primary care physician. The two of them can discuss how long treatment should continue for and what signs to look for that treatment is failing. In many circumstances, a patient would benefit from a referral to a psychiatrist. I would ask your daughter's doctor if this referral would be appropriate.
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