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Recurrent Depression | What You Need to Know

Major Recurrent Depression, MRD, Adult depression counseling, Carolinha Counseling Services, North Fayetteville office, Fayetteville NC, adult counseling

Recurrent Depression | What You Need to Know


Depression can be an unrelenting feeling of intense sadness and result in a fading interest in everything that matters the most to you – family, friends, career/job, hobbies/interests, etc. It can bring about intense symptoms that can paralyze your functioning and result in your sinking deep into helplessness, hopelessness, lethargy, and an overall feeling of worthlessness. Unfortunately, it can become worse.

What can be worse than depression? Depression relapse or recurrent depression. According to WebMD, this is the kind of depression that is episodic or can recur “more than once in a lifetime.” This not the only worrisome fact to fear about depression – this is so common, happening to about 40 to 60 percent of those affected. Thus, recurrent depression can become a continuing battle or a permanent emotional baggage you may carry with you for a long time throughout your life.

There is, however, another truth to embrace if you want to avert depression relapse. In order to prevent the condition’s recurrence or at least make the episodes less frequent, less severe, and shorter, it is critical to seek professional help. Remember, you have options. If you want to get help for recurrent depression the right way, see a counselor/therapist first. 


Understanding Major Recurrent Depression

Depression affects more than 11 million people in the United States. Of these, between four to six million are experiencing depression relapse. This means an average of four to six episodes in a lifetime. Technically, this is referred to as major recurrent depression (MRD) in the field of behavioral health and psychiatry/psychology. While depression of any kind is difficult, MRD can be more complex and harder to treat.

What is MRD? The condition is defined by behavioral health professionals as “… another episode of depression that happens fewer than six months after you’ve been treated for acute depression.” Depression which has recurred when the episode is considered “new,” six months (or longer) after the first episode has been successfully treated. The depressive symptoms are not different from other types of depression, but they are usually more severe and debilitating. People who fall into this group are at higher risk for self-injury and suicide.

Relapse comes “almost naturally” with depression. This means that if you (or a loved one) has the condition, the possibility of having another episode or episodes is high. It isn’t because you are emotionally unstable or weak. If you are genetically predisposed or you had a traumatic experience that triggered an episode, know that it can happen again. You are not totally helpless. Seeking early professional assistance can help keep depression from recurring.


Depression: The Return

Not all individuals who have experienced depression will experience MRD, but the chance of relapse is high if treatment is not being actively sought. It isn’t easy to say who will experience chronic or recurrent depression and who will not. Many neuromedical studies have been conducted in the field, but there is nothing specific that links the condition to a trigger. There are also several biological, behavior, emotional and social factors that may have a hand in starting a relapse.

Research reveals that relapse can be caused by a person’s emotional state or genetic makeup. The former points to the significance or impact of your life circumstances. Unfortunate circumstances in life – an unhappy marriage, poverty, unwholesome environment, stressful work, etc. – can set the stage for MRD.  The risk becomes higher with genetic predisposition.

The latter, behavior or emotional makeup, is genetic in nature and difficult to remedy on your own. If you have the recognized tendencies because it runs in the family, though, seeing a therapist before the condition manifest itself can help. If you have already experienced an episode, therapy can reduce the possibility of a recurrence. Other biological influences, such as personality and temperament can also contribute to depression and its relapse, but the exact connections are not very clear yet.


Counseling/Therapy: On the Front Line

Like any type of depression, MRD is considered a condition that can only be resolved with the proper diagnosis and interventions.  It did not develop because you are emotionally weak or flawed, and it cannot be corrected by sheer determination. For the symptoms to dissipate, there needs to be professional intervention. You have options. An important benefit from seeing a therapist is learning your treatment options. One option that veers away from the use of medication is counseling/therapy.

Research validates the usefulness of counseling in the treatment of depression, including the prevention of relapse. Since the condition is linked to intense feelings associated with unfortunate experiences, talking can help release the deep seated negative emotions. The process helps in exploring and understanding your feelings and what may have caused them.

There are several treatment options available for you. You can better choose when you know each option and its pros and cons. Remember that sometimes it takes time, even a “trial and error” approach, to find what may work for you best. It is wise to welcome alternative approaches and to stay participative during the process. If an alternative treatment has been decided upon, combining it with your therapy is a good decision.


Resolving Chronic Depression

It is more difficult to treat major recurrent depression because it is more complicated than the other types of depression. He/She will meticulously check out every detail of your medical/life history and your symptoms and explore the options to unravel what can work for you. Explore these options and work with your therapist to make sure that all the rudiments of treatment will work in synergy. Also, be certain to continue with your therapy in order to reap the greatest rewards.

Another important element in your depression treatment is choosing the right behavioral health professional. Your therapist will work with you very intimately as you explore your options and monitor your progress. Having someone you trust is a big advantage. You will be updated with your progress and learn more about the breakthrough developments in the field of depression treatment. For instance, by understanding the importance of treatment, you will most likely adhere to your continuation and maintenance therapy before the condition becomes lifelong.

To resolve your depression and reduce the risk of recurrent depression,  both continuation and maintenance therapy are important. The former is designed to suppress the symptoms of an ongoing episode, thereby reducing the risk of a relapse.  This is provided after an acute depressive episode. Conversely, the goal of maintenance therapy is to prevent the development of another episode. The latter is administered after continuation therapy and you may want it to be a lifelong treatment.


Preventing the Inevitable with CCS

For many people struggling with severe or major clinical depression, the recurrence of the condition can become a long-term trial they may experience. Even one episode can be excessively difficult, which you do not want to recur ever again. Unfortunately, that’s how depression is tends to be, as it takes an episodic course in life.

There is, however, a way to prevent its recurrence. Being determined and having a supportive family can help, but the most important thing in reducing the risk of major recurrent depression is through the proper treatment, such as counseling/therapy or another form of treatment combined with it. Learn more about continuing and maintaining treatment from a trustworthy and experienced counselor/therapist independently contracted with Carolina Counseling Services – North Fayetteville Office – Fayetteville, NC, so you can find the resolution you deserve.

Depression can establish a tight grip on your overall functioning for many years and from one episode to another, but only if you allow it. You are not helpless against MRD. If you have the predisposition for depression, do not wait too long. Seek help right away. If you are already experiencing an episode, act on it right away. Let a counselor/therapist independently contracted with Carolina Counseling Services – North Fayetteville Office – Fayetteville, NC assist you now before your depression becomes a chronic emotional condition.

Serving Areas: Carolina Counseling Services

Counties: Cumberland, Bladen and Sampson Counties, NC
Areas: Fayetteville NC, Ft Bragg NC, Pope Field NC, Sliver City NC, Linden NC, Autryville NC, Bunnlevel NC, Erwin NC, Dundarrach NC, Rex NC,and Wade, NC
Zip Codes: 28311, 28395, 28390, 28356

Counseling Information

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Carolina Counseling Services – North Fayetteville Office, Fayetteville, NC

422 McArthur Road, Suite 2
FayettevilleNC 28311

Our Mailing Address:

PO BOX 9909
Fayetteville, NC 28311

Choose your Therapist

  • Becky Clark, MSW, LCSW

    Specializes in: (Ages 18+) Anxiety, Depression, Individuals, Couples, Geriatrics, Criminal Justice, Stress Management, Loss and Grief related to death, disability, divorce, deployment, “empty nest”, retirement and other major life transitions
    Insurance: BCBS, Tricare, Medicare, and Cash

    Credit Cards: Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express

    Location: Fayetteville, NC