Step 4: Read and complete the decision guide to learn more about your symptoms.
Major depression, single episode: This category applies when a person has only one severe episode of depression.
Someone who has had an episode of major depression is at increased risk of having a second episode, but some people do have just one isolated episode of the illness.
It is always hard to predict from one episode what will happen next.
A mental health professional will probably try to match the treatment to the intensity of the symptoms or the level of difficulty with functioning. Sometimes a short course of supportive psychotherapy is enough. But when symptoms are severe, as they often are even in one episode of depression, it may make sense to treat it with an adequate course of antidepressant medication. The goal is to reduce symptoms and to prevent relapse.
If treatment brings relief, clinicians usually recommend continuing that treatment for a period of several months to reduce the risk of recurrence. For example, if antidepressant medication has been helpful, it does not make sense to stop the medicine when the symptoms go away. In fact, most experts recommend continuing them for a period in order to keep the symptoms at bay.
These are decisions that should be made in consultation with a healthcare provider.
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