by Tory Wolk, blogger
There are many ways to treat depression: therapy, medication, shock therapy, and more. Many who suffer from depression experience relief after using these treatments, and the depression can go away. New research shows that even after depression goes away in adolescents, it has a high chance of returning, especially in females.
The study was published earlier this month in the Archives of General Psychiatry. Two hundred adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17 were treated for depression with either medication, therapy, both, or a placebo. Those who took anti-depressants recovered the fastest, and researchers predicted that this group of adolescents would be least likely to experience another depression.
Surprisingly, five years later, 47 percent of the participants had suffered another major depression, no matter what treatment they had used originally. The adolescents who had originally recovered fastest were just as likely to be affected again, though those who recovered the slowest had a higher chance of a reoccurrence.
The age of the participant did not seem to be a factor, but there was a huge difference between the reoccurrence rates of girls and boys. Girls are already more prone to depression in the first place, but 57 percent of the girls in the study became depressed again after recovery. Only 33 percent of the boys became depressed again.
Dr. John Curry of the Duke University School of Medicine, the study’s lead researcher, explained that the difference may be caused by the stress that girls face during adolescence. They may also experience more hormonal changes, he said.
Another factor that made the adolescents more prone to a reoccurrence was their level of anxiety. Those who suffered from anxiety were more likely to face depression after recovery.
The research demonstrates that a new kind of aftercare is needed to prevent reoccurrence. The treatments that are in place now do not lend enough support after the depression has subsided, thus allowing the depression to return. The researchers plan to look further into the adolescents who faced another depression, and to look for ways to keep depression from coming back.