Depressive episode – how long does it last? Symptoms of episodic depression

A depressive episode is a state of depressed mood that lasts at least for a period from about two weeks to even two years. It is one of the affective disorders, i.e. disorders related to the emotional sphere.

What is a depressive episode?

A depressive episode often resembles a common bland and is sometimes confused with it. Duration is the basic criterion for the diagnosis of a depressive episode. When depressed mood lasts two weeks or more, consult your doctor about the problem and start treatment as soon as possible.

Related article: TMS Therapy for anxiety

The causes of a depressive episode


A depressive episode is a common condition in patients diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome. It also affects the elderly and in their case is sometimes confused with the symptoms of senile dementia. Symptoms similar to those of a depressive episode can also be caused by some medications – specificity for hypertension, severe systemic diseases or hypothyroidism.

What are the types of disorder?

Depressive episode, depending on the type, takes the form of either chronic sadness and melancholy, or almost complete detachment from reality and focus only on your sadness and negative emotions. There are several types of depressive episode reported:

mild depressive episode – characterized by a depressed mood that lasts for at least two weeks, most of the day and almost every day. In addition, the patient loses interest and satisfaction with the activities that he has been enjoying so far. General fatigue and a decrease in energy are noticeable,

moderate depressive episode – in this type of disorder, additional symptoms appear, such as a feeling of unjustified guilt, suicidal thoughts, problems with concentration, sleep disturbances, increase or decrease in appetite, problems with maintaining weight,

severe depressive episode without psychotic symptoms – in episodes of severe depression the suffering of the sick person is clearly visible. Suicide attempts appear, the patient suffers from chronic stress and is unable to perform daily work and duties,

severe depressive episode with psychotic symptoms – it is characterized by all of the above symptoms, and in addition, there are behaviors such as hallucinations, hallucinations, delusions or irrational thinking.

How to treat a depressive episode?

People who suspect a depressive episode in themselves should seek help from a psychologist or psychotherapist. The occurrence of a depressive episode is diagnosed by:

  • observation of the patient,
  • psychiatric interview,
  • psychological evaluation.

The therapy is selected according to the severity of the disease as well as the general health condition of the patient.

Read more about depression treatment

As in most depressive disorders, psychotherapy is also used in the treatment of depressive episodes. Treatment is most often based on cognitive-behavioral therapy, which teaches the patient to cope with anxiety and helps him to constructively deal with problem situations. Antidepressants are prescribed in small doses in the presence of bothersome symptoms of a depressive state.

Maintaining a hygienic lifestyle will certainly help in the course of mild depression. The patient should take care to maintain the appropriate proportions between sleep, work and rest. It should also reduce stressful situations as much as possible. Playing sports may help. In addition, recovery will be easier when the patient has the support of their relatives.

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