Depression can be an ongoing battle. Even when you have successfully fought your demons, they may return after a while. When this happens, it is known as a relapse.1*
Relapse can be a scary and frustrating experience, but rather than letting it consume you, you can use it as an opportunity to learn and evolve. Remember, you have beaten this once and so you know you can do it again; you may even come out the other side even stronger than before.
If you have relapsed, you are not alone. At least 50% of people with depression will relapse at some point in their life.2
To help you make it through the dark days, this article from Hope to Cope has some advice to help you manage a relapse, and recover from the setbacks it may bring.
Spot the signs
Each person with depression will experience the condition differently, and may experience different triggers. Being able to spot when you are beginning to feel its effects is crucial to finding the right treatment.
Some symptoms to look out for include:3
Even if you think your symptoms are mild, it is important to keep an eye on them to prevent it turning into a full-blown relapse.
For more information on signs and symptoms of depression, click here
Change the course
The re-emergence of symptoms means that your current management strategy is not working. As soon as you think you might be relapsing, speak to your doctor. Together, you can devise a treatment strategy that works for you.
There is no such thing as failure, there is only feedback
Accept the situation
Trying to fight your depression may actually make the problem worse, as it could prevent you from seeking the help that you need. By accepting the fact you have relapsed you can start to make active changes in your life to start getting you back on track.
If you would like some more information about relapse and some advice on how to cope during the episode, Esperanza, a magazine focussed on coping with anxiety and depression, has some articles which you may find useful. You can find them here.
Frank E et al. Arch Gen Psychiatry 1991; 48: 851–855.
Burscua S, Iacono W. Clin Psychol Rev 2007; (8): 959–985.
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – Fifth Edition (DSM-5). American Psychiatric Association. 2013.