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5 Causes of Depression Relapse

Depression can be an ongoing disease that requires a person to constantly be vigilant about following recommended treatment. Sometimes, despite their best intentions, they end up experiencing a depression relapse. When this happens, it’s imperative to recognize what’s going on and not give up hope. Depression can recur even long after a person feels they’ve got control of the condition, and the right treatment can help correct the course and return them to healing.

What Is Depression Relapse?

Sometimes a person reaches the state of being recovered from depression, then experiences a new episode of depression. This is called a recurrence of depression and is different from a relapse. Depression relapse is the term used when a person has reached a stage of being in remission from their depression but is not yet recovered from it. 

Both depression recurrence and relapse commonly occur in many individuals. About half of all people who experience at least one episode of major depression end up having another one. Despite depression being highly treatable, 35% of adults do not seek treatment for it. If you are at risk for depression relapse or worry that it may already have occurred, it’s important to understand some of the common causes of it happening.

Leaving Treatment Too Early

When a person receives treatment for depression, they can’t help but celebrate reaching the point where their mood has elevated. Unfortunately, sometimes the person believes they are now cured and jumps the gun by quitting treatment. Leaving treatment before the therapist and client agree that a reliable plateau has been reached and the person is in remission from depression is dangerous. Symptoms often begin to return, and a relapse into depression takes hold.

Stopping Medications

Similar to leaving treatment too early, sometimes a person stops taking medications that help control their depression and alleviate symptoms. They may feel they don’t need it anymore or can take it at irregular intervals but fail to consult the prescribing clinician for guidance. Going off or intermittently using depression medications in this manner can quickly cause a depression relapse. 

Experiencing a Traumatic Event

Even if someone feels strong in their efforts to handle their symptoms of depression, something traumatic can take place that throws them for a loop. Traumatic events can include things like physical or sexual assault, the death of a loved one, a long-term illness, a military action, or a natural disaster. Dealing with trauma is trying for even those who are stable in their mental health. For those dealing with recovering from depression, trauma can cause a relapse.

Alcohol and Drugs

The misuse or abuse of alcohol and drugs can bring on new depressive feelings or trigger the recurrence of old symptoms. Many people stop using substances as part of their recovery from depression. When progress occurs in their treatment, they may feel it’s safe to drink alcohol or use drugs again. Alcohol is a depressant and many drugs end up causing depressive symptoms. This can cause a person to spiral back down into depression.

Hormonal Changes

Depression does not occur equally among men and women. While 5.3% of men experience depression, 8.7% of women do. For many women, hormonal changes that occur in their bodies contribute to having a depression relapse. Hormonal events can include menopause, puberty, and post-partum depression. Any of these changes in the female body can contribute to the onset of depression for the first time or a relapse. 

Symptoms of a Depression Relapse

While some symptoms of depression relapse are the same as those experienced during the original onset of the disease, many people experience different ones. It’s important to pay attention to any changes that may indicate a depression relapse has occurred or is imminent. These symptoms can include: 

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Sleeping too much or too little 
  • Lack of energy or exhaustion
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Isolating from others
  • Loss of interest in hobbies and pastimes
  • Lack of interest in personal hygiene
  • Diminished sexual libido
  • Feeling hopeless and despondent
  • Feeling irritable or moody
  • Feeling unworthy
  • Suicidal thoughts

What to Do If You Experience Depression Relapse

If a person knows or suspects that depression relapse has happened or they are at risk of it occurring, they need to return to treatment to help get it under control. Many methods used during previous depression treatment may work again. For many, trying new treatment modalities can also help stem the damage and return a person to remission.

Common methods for treating depression include individual therapy, group therapy, support groups, and medications. Holistic treatment can also help a great deal with depression. Holistic methods include yoga, meditation, acupuncture, massage, art therapy, and music therapy. Incorporating eating a healthy diet and getting consistent exercise also helps improve symptoms of depression.

Treatment for Depression Relapse in Los Angeles

If you are struggling with depression or are facing a depression relapse, it’s important to know that help is available. Riviera Recovery in Los Angeles treats young adults dealing with depression and other mental health challenges. We also treat substance use disorders and failure to launch. Our gender-specific sober living houses are modern, comfortable, and pet-friendly. Con

tact us today and let us help you or someone you love face your depression head-on. 

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