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How Long Does Depression Treatment Last?

Your healthcare provider generally separates depression treatment into two stages. The first stage treats the symptoms until a person feels well. The second stage is used to prevent symptoms from returning. The first stage of depression treatment most often involves medication. This stage may last up to 12 weeks. Once symptoms have improved, the medications may be continued for up to nine months. In depression research studies, continuing medicines has been shown to decrease the chances that the depression will return.
For some people, treatment for depression may be needed only once during their lifetime. However, for a lot of people, depression is a lifelong disease requiring ongoing treatment. It is impossible for your healthcare provider to know whether treatment will be short-term or long-term in your situation. Fortunately, in either situation, effective depression treatment is now available.
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Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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