Can depression be cured permanently?

In this guide we will be answering the question of whether depression can be cured permanently and what are some treatments for depression that has been found effective. 

Can depression be cured permanently?

The direct answer to this question is that depression cannot be “cured” permanently. For an illness to be “cured” it means that its symptoms are alleviated for good. However, depression and various mental illness symptoms don’t simply go away. 

Mental illness such as depression often recur even after treatment is alleviated, Infact, the more episodes of depression you have the more likely you will become depressed again. 

There is no permanent cure for depression- an individual who has neurobiological factors that is a cause of depression might have to continue drug treatments for the rest of their lives along with making lifestyle changes and managing symptoms through therapy.  

While depression cannot be cured, it can be effectively managed in ways that can help a person live full satisfying lives. 


Depression is classified as a mood disorder. It may be described as feelings of sadness, loss, or anger that interfere with a person’s everyday activities.

Major depressive disorder or depression can cause a variety of symptoms that may be ongoing, or come and go. Theses symptoms include:

  • mood, such as anger, aggressiveness, irritability, anxiousness
  • feeling empty, sad, hopeless
  • Loss of interest, no longer finding pleasure in favorite activities, ‘
  • feeling tired easily, 
  • thoughts of suicide
  • inability to concentrate
  • delayed responses
  • Maladaptive sleep patterns, such as insomnia

These symptoms can manifest differently across genders and ages. A child might manifest mood fluctuation by excessive crying while ment may indulge in alcohol or drug consumption and other addictive behaviors. 

Depression or any other mental illness is a subjective experience, each individual may experience the symptoms differently however to be diagnosed with depression these symptoms must persist for more than two weeks and must cause disruption in social and occupational aspects of their lives. 

Types of depression

The Diagnostic and statistical manual for the diagnosis of mental disorders published by the APA (American psychological association) have categorised various types of depression apart from Major Depressive disorder these include:

  • Persistent depressive disorder (also called dysthymia) is a depressed mood that lasts for at least two years. A person diagnosed with persistent depressive disorder may have episodes of major depression along with periods of less severe symptoms.
  • Postpartum depression where women experience full-blown major depression during pregnancy or after delivery (postpartum depression). The feelings of extreme sadness, anxiety, and exhaustion that accompany postpartum depression may make it difficult for these new mothers to complete daily care activities for themselves and/or for their babies.
  • Psychotic depression occurs when a person has severe depression plus some form of psychosis, delusions and hallucinations. 
  • Seasonal affective disorder is characterized by the onset of depression during the winter months, when there is less natural sunlight. This depression generally lifts during spring and summer. 

Recurrence of depression

While not everyone who experiences a depressive episode experiences a relapse, many individuals do experience another episode. In Fact the more episodes you have the more likely it is for you to have another one. 

Various studies are unable to come up with an universally agreed upon cause of this relapse. However some factors have been found to increase the likelihood that one will experience another episode.

These factors include stressors like losing a job, a serious illness, the loss of a loved one, or substance use. Other times, a recurrence can happen because the medication or drug therapy does not suit you well.

Treatments for depression

The fact that depression cannot be cured can seem like a bleak statement, especially if you are diagnosed with this condition that has reduced your quality of life, impacted your relationships, your career, and your ability to take care of yourself. 

It can be frustrating to accept that this condition might never go away and that is enough to make you feel hopeless.

You have to understand that people with depression can live fulfilling lives, they can have happy relationships, and successful careers. They can attain this by undergoing treatment. 

The intent of any mental disorder treatment plan and strategy is to help you manage your symptoms and attain remission. 

When we say remission, we are talking about remission similar to people undergoing cancer treatment. It means that the symptoms of hour depression would have diminished or disappeared altogether however there is a large probability that it is still in your body with the risk of returning. 

Which is why treatment of depression involves not only pharmaceutical treatments but also psychotherapy and active effort to change lifestyle choices. It is not about getting rid of the disorder but to treat it till it no longer holds a large part of your life and eventually manage it till it diminishes. 

Some of the treatment options for you include:


Your healthcare provider such as your physician or your psychiatrist  may prescribe antidepressants, antianxiety, antipsychotic medications based on your diagnosis.  

Each type of medication that’s used to treat depression has benefits and potential risks which is why it is important that you are assessed thoroughly by your physician. It is also important that your visits to your doctor are consistent and any side effects noticed are informed to them immediately.


Speaking with a therapist can help you learn skills to cope with various depression related symptoms and maladaptive patterns of thinking, feelings, and behavior which might be making the problem worse. 

Your therapist can guide you to evaluate your belief systems, process grief and trauma, and also help you make effective lifestyle changes that can help you cope better.  You may also benefit from family therapy which can help bring to light unresolved issues within the family which could be a causal factor.

Engaging with a therapist with the intent to uncover, acknowledge, accept and change various aspects of yourself and your patterns of behaviour can be an effective treatment plan alongside drug therapy to treat depression.

Light therapy

Exposure to doses of white light can help regulate your mood and improve symptoms of depression and it is commonly used in seasonal affective disorder or major depressive disorder with seasonal patterns.

However, it is important to know that the effectiveness of light therapy as a stand alone  treatment is not known, therefore it is important that you and your physician assess your condition thoroughly. 

Alternative therapies

Speak to your physician or psychotherapist about acupuncture or meditation as part of your treatment plan, Though they might not be effective strategies on their own, they could benefit you in some way. 

It is also important that you talk with your healthcare provider before taking a supplement or combining a supplement with prescription medication because some supplements can react with certain medications. 

Brain stimulation therapy: 

A last report treatment plan includes Brain stimulation therapy that can help people who have severe depression or depression with psychosis. Types of brain stimulation therapy include electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and vagus nerve stimulation (VNS).

These are intrusive treatments that are often used only when every other treatment plans has been observed to be ineffective. 


In this guide we have discussed the fact that there is no cure for depression but that it can be managed through various treatment plans and strategies. 


Frequently asked questions related to “can depression be cured permanently?”

Can a mental illness be cured?

Most mental illnesses cannot be cured, but they can be treated effectively to minimize symptoms and allow the individual to function in work, school, or social environments.

What is the best cure for mental illness?

Psychotherapy along with pharmaceutical therapy is often seen to be the best strategy to help a person cope with depression. It has been found to be more effective than either of them alone.

Treatments require joint effort between a physician and a psychologist who can create a treatment plan for you as well as help you develop a strategy to manage symptoms of your mental illness.

Are mental illnesses permanent?

Mental illness is most often not ‘permanent’ in the sense that it remains the same over time. A person cannot cure it but they do not have to be permanently doomed to the negative effects of their mental illness. 

They can choose to reach out for help, make lifestyle changes which can help them live fulfilling and happy lives. 

Can you live a normal life with mental illness?

You can live a normal life with mental illness provided that you are persistent with your pharmaceutical treatment strategies and are consistent with therapeutic work. In fact, many individuals can live satisfying and functoning lives when they actively keep up with camping strategies.

Does treatment for mental illness work?

While treatment strategies for various mental illnesses have not been universally agreed upon, there is plenty of scientific evidence from various clinical trials that prove that treatment works. 

While there might be discrepancy of which treatment works best, there is an overall consensus that mental health treatment is effective provided that the individual is also motivated and persistent with the treatment. 

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