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Can Depression Go Away on Its Own?

Does depression go away
Written by:

Rabia Khaliq

MSc in Applied Psychology

Umar Javed



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The medications listed on this website are provided for informational purposes only. Their inclusion does not guarantee that they will be prescribed to any individual, as treatment decisions are ultimately at the discretion of healthcare providers. This list is not exhaustive, and healthcare providers may prescribe other medications, including non-stimulant options, based on the patient’s unique health circumstances and needs.Read more

The symptoms and duration of depression vary widely from person to person, depending on multiple factors. For some, the depressive episode is usually transient, resolving after only a few days. However, others experience a protracted battle with this mental health disorder and only see depression getting worse. The varying nature of experiences makes it challenging to predict whether your depression will go away on its own or require treatment. Nevertheless, the greater the severity of the disorder, the higher the chances that it will not go away without proper help.

Instead of waiting for the depression symptoms to resolve spontaneously, it is important to seek treatment. Besides helping you feel better quickly, prompt treatment averts the potentially devastating consequences of depression. Therapists and doctors usually customize treatments for each person, depending on the precipitating and perpetuating factors.

Consult a doctor in 24 hours and receive a personalized treatment plan that will help you feel better.

Understanding Depression

Depression is a serious psychological disorder that causes low mood and feelings of hopelessness, guilt, and anxiety. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that depression affects nearly 5 percent [1*] of adults, making it the leading cause of disability worldwide.

According to the DSM-5, depression meets the diagnostic criteria only when the symptoms last for not less than two weeks. Typically, the symptoms of a depressive episode include:

  • Low mood or feeling of sadness.
  • Lack of interest in previously enjoyed activities.
  • Changes in appetite and weight.
  • Sleep disturbance.
  • The feeling of guilt and worthlessness.
  • Fatigue or lack of energy.
  • Problem-making decisions.
  • Difficulty maintaining focus or concentrating.
  • Agitation or irritability

The symptoms often vary in severity from person to person and can last from a few weeks to a lifetime, leading to different forms of depression. For instance, if the symptoms are not severe but persist for more than two years, the doctor will label it persistent depressive disorder (PDD). Each type of depression has a unique prognosis.

How is Depression Treated

Receiving the proper treatment reduces the length and severity of depression, helping to resume normal activities quickly. The treatment options are numerous, with the major ones being:


Referred to as antidepressants, these medications are the first-line [2*] treatment for moderate to severe disease. Generally, they modify the brain chemistry to restore the balance of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine responsible for various body functions, including mood. You should take the drugs as directed by the doctor to reduce the feelings of sadness, guilt, and hopelessness.

The antidepressant medications usually take up to four weeks before the full benefits appear. Do not stop taking or alter the dose even if the symptoms improve unless directed by the doctor. You might have to continue taking the medications for up to six months after symptom resolution.


Although the medications alleviate the symptoms of depression, they are not the only option to manage the disorder. To help achieve better results, psychotherapy [3*] can accompany pharmacological treatment, or it can be used on its own.

For example, cognitive-behavioral therapy is the form of psychotherapy often employed in treating mild depressive disorders. It challenges negative thought patterns and encourages positive behavioral responses to different situations.

Other remedies for depression include electroconvulsive therapy [4*] , acupuncture, physical activity, transcranial magnetic stimulation, and meditation.

Discuss your symptoms and concerns with a mental health expert at MEDvidi and get prescribed depression meds online.

Will Depression Go Away or Will It Worsen Without Treatment? Three Main Factors

Depression symptoms can improve without treatment, especially if the trigger is temporary and the disorder’s severity is mild. But according to research, a depressive episode might last up to 10 months or more [5*] if untreated. Since the condition can worsen and lead to more complications, many people opt to treat their depression with psychotherapy, medications, and self-help techniques.

Whether depression will resolve on its own or worsen when not treated is usually dependent on factors such as:

  • Type of Depression

Some depressive episodes are mild and last only a few weeks, requiring no long-term treatment. On the other hand, others last several months to years and must be treated to prevent complications. For example, seasonal affective disorder occurs during winter and eases as spring sets in, unlike persistent depressive disorder (PDD), which persists regardless of the season unless treated.

  • Etiology

The cause [6*] of depression also determines whether it goes away on its own. If the trigger is transient, the disorder might not last long. Depression associated with certain health conditions often resolves upon treating the underlying disease, while those without an identifiable cause tend to last longer and are more difficult to treat. Pregnancy and delivery can sometimes cause postpartum depression in women, which usually goes away with appropriate treatment.

  • Severity

Mild depression might go away without formal treatment, unlike moderate to severe depression, which requires treatment to subside. Regardless of the severity, the remedies, including psychotherapy and medications, are highly effective, with more than 80 percent [7*] of treated patients reporting symptom improvement.

With the right treatment, it is possible to achieve remission. Our doctors are ready to support you and tell you how to make remission last longer.

Can depression go away

Can Depression Be Cured?

While depression is not curable, it is still one of the most treatable mental disorders. With proper treatment with antidepressants, remission is possible. However, antidepressant medications temporarily modify the brain’s chemistry to improve symptoms. Even though they can bring relief and have proven efficacy, they usually may not eliminate the underlying cause of depression, which can lead to relapse in the future when pharmacological treatment is stopped. So, to learn how to deal with depression triggers effectively and make remission long-term, one may consider supplementing medications with psychotherapy.


So, does depression ever go away? This serious mental health disorder can be managed with the help of certain interventions. Still, waiting for the symptoms to disappear on their own is not recommended. While it is possible for mild depression, moderate and severe cases require a person to get professional help.


7 sources
  1. Depressive disorder (depression). (2023)
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  2. Which first-line antidepressant? (2019)
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  3. Effectiveness of Psychological Treatments for Depressive Disorders in Primary Care: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. (2015)
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  4. What is Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)?
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  5. Duration of major and minor depressive episodes and associated risk indicators in a psychiatric epidemiological cohort study of the general population. (2017)
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  6. The Etiology of Depression
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  7. What Is Depression?
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Written by:

Rabia Khaliq

MSc in Applied Psychology

Umar Javed



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Evidence Based

This article is based on scientific evidence, written by experts and fact checked by experts.

Our team of experts strive to be objective, unbiased, honest and to present both sides of the argument.

This article contains scientific references. The numbers
in the parentheses (1, 2, 3) are clickable links to peer-reviewed scientific papers.