Depression is like cancer -- but that doesn't mean there's no hope

Mayo Foundation
I know it's been a while since I've last written a blog entry. I promise that will change. When you write all the time for your job, when you get home -- well, the last thing you want to do is write. But my title for The Oakland Press has officially changed this week to Community Engagement Editor. With that, I promise, I will blog more.

I received my first comment to my blog this week, which I was pretty excited about — Understanding Teen Depression Workshop.

I was told that there's no point in treating depression like sadness, like it will just pass like a head cold. Instead, this person compared depression to cancer instead.

I completely agree that depression is like cancer. But that doesn't mean there's no hope. That doesn't mean it won't pass.

Even with cancer, there is hope. Statistics show that 43 percent of men and 56 percent of women live for more than five years after a cancer diagnosis and may be cured. For children, the percentage is more than 50 percent.

So if you're a child or teen or adult experiencing depression, does that mean you will have to suffer from depression until the day you die, and you will ultimately die from the diagnosis? The answer is no.

According to an article by Psychology Today:
"Experts find that complete remission (of depression) requires treatment for a minimum of nine months—and that's for an acute first episode. Beyond the disappearance of symptoms patients should experience a minimum of two months of well-being before treatment is stopped.

Guidelines drawn up by psychiatrists themselves state that people who have chronic depression—an episode lasting two years or more— need to be treated for two years after full remission has occurred. And if you have recurrent depression, marked by multiple depressive episodes, treatment should last indefinitely. Just as with chronic disorders like hypertension and diabetes, maintenance treatment is necessary."

But it's imperative that those suffering depression do seek help. If you found an abnormal lump on your body, what would you do? Hopefully you would go to the hospital to get it checked out.

Why is it that people don't treat their brain with the same care?

I feel like the brain is as important, if not more important, than checking out the body. And just like cancer or disease of the body, depression is a disease of the mind — a disease that you can't control, a disease that you did not choose.

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    1. Thanks, Niccolo! I appreciate it! I will check out that site!

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