Thirty-nine percent of formerly depressed adults have achieved complete remission and report leading happy, flourishing lives, according to a study published in Psychiatry Research. The study explored specific factors that increase the likelihood a person with depression will be able to overcome symptoms and achieve happiness and psychological well-being.
Is Complete Depression Recovery Possible?
Researchers gathered their data from the nationally representative 2012 Canadian Community Health Survey on mental health, which included 20,955 people. They then looked at mental health outcomes in 2,528 participants who had a history of depression. The study’s authors compared people with a history of depression to those without a history of depression, controlling for factors such as physical health, lifetime mental health, and socioeconomic status.
They found 78% of those with no history of depression had achieved “complete mental health,” which is defined in the study as near-daily happiness and satisfaction; freedom from depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and thoughts of suicide for at least one year; and psychological and social well-being. Length of depression made no difference in ability to reach complete mental health. Among the group that had experienced depression, about two in five participants achieved complete mental health.
What Factors Increase the Odds of Happiness After Depression?
- Being married
- Having a confidant
- Having no disabling pain
- Quality sleep marked by a lack of insomnia
- No childhood adversity
- No history of substance abuse
- Regular exercise
- Using spirituality to cope with stress
Though many factors associated with recovery were outside of participants’ control, the study’s authors say their research may offer hope to those struggling with depression. Not only does it demonstrate the possibility to achieve complete mental health after experiencing depression, it also shows lifestyle choices matter. The study did not explore treatment methods, but because certain health issues—such as insomnia and disabling pain—are associated with depression, the researchers point to the value of treating these conditions as a first step.
- Fuller-Thomson, E., Agbeyaka, S., Lafond, D. M., & Bern-Klug, M. (2016). Flourishing after depression: Factors associated with achieving complete mental health among those with a history of depression. Psychiatry Research, 242, 111-120. doi:10.1016/j.psychres.2016.04.041
- Two in five formerly depressed adults are happy, flourishing. (2016, June 7). Retrieved from https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/06/160607120808.htm
© Copyright 2016 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved.
The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.