Approximately two of every five people who are depressed later go on to become happy or satisfied with their lives most of the time, according to new research.
In a study published online in Psychiatry Research in April 2016, researcers analyzed a database that contained mental health information on approximately 21,000 adults ages 20 and older, including 2,528 who had been diagnosed with depression at some point in their lives.
They examined how many people had complete mental health, which meant they had no mental illness or substance abuse within the past year and scored high on measures of happiness/life satisfaction and social and psychological well-being.
Overall, 39 percent of people who had been depressed reported complete mental health, compared with 78 percent of people who had never had depression.
Compared with those who didn’t achieve complete mental health, people who experienced depression and later achieved complete mental health were more likely to be older, female, and have a close friend they could rely on.
Interestingly, how long someone had been depressed did not seem to affect the likelihood of achieving complete mental health. People who had been depressed for two years or more were as likely to achieve complete mental health as those who’d been depressed for only a month.
Jeff Bauer is a healthcare journalist with expertise in psychiatry. He has served as editor of Current Psychiatry, a leading peer-reviewed clinical journal for psychiatrists and other mental health practitioners, and as educational content director for the U.S. Psychiatric and Mental Health Congress, the nation’s leading independent mental health continuing education conference.