Two in five formerly depressed adults are happy and flourishing

June 07, 2016

TORONTO, ON - A new study reports that approximately two in five adults (39%) who have experienced major depression are able to achieve complete mental health. Researchers consider complete mental health as occurring when people achieve almost daily happiness or life satisfaction, positive social and psychological well-being, and are also free of depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts and substance abuse for at least one full year.

"This research provides a hopeful message to patients struggling with depression, their families and health professionals. A large number of formerly depressed individuals recover and go on to reach optimal well-being" said Esme Fuller-Thomson, lead author of the study and Sandra Rotman Endowed Chair at the University of Toronto's Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work and the Institute for Life Course and Aging.

Social support was a major factor associated with complete mental health. "Formerly depressed adults who had emotionally supportive and close relationships were four times more likely to report complete mental health than those without such relationships. Having at least one trusted friend was critical to cultivating complete mental health," said co-author Mercedes Bern-Klug, Associate Professor and Director of the Aging Studies Program at the University of Iowa.

The study's authors were surprised to learn that the length of the depressive episode had no bearing on an individual's ability to attain complete mental health. Those whose longest depressive episode lasted more than two years were just as likely to be in complete mental health as those who had had the disorder for only one month. "In other words, there is no need for individuals and families to lose hope that a full recovery is beyond reach" reported co-author Senyo Agbeyaka, a Masters in Social Work student at the University of Toronto.

The researchers also found that poorer physical health, functional limitations and insomnia were impediments to flourishing in the sample. "Clearly, this underlines the importance for health professionals to consider strategies that address both physical health problems and social isolation when treating those with depression," said co-author Deborah LaFond, Social Sciences Subject Librarian at the University at Albany, State University of New York.

The researchers examined a nationally representative sample of more than 2,500 Canadians who had experienced a major depressive disorder at some point in their lives. The data were drawn from Statistics Canada's 2012 Canadian Community Health Survey-Mental Health. This research was published this week in the journal Psychiatry Research.
-end-
To obtain a copy of the paper, please contact esme.fuller.thomson@utoronto.ca

For more information contact:

Prof. Esme Fuller-Thomson
Professor & Sandra Rotman Endowed Chair
Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work &
Institute for Life Course & Aging
University of Toronto
Cell: 416-209-3231
Email: esme.fuller.thomson@utoronto.ca

University of Toronto

Related Depression Articles from Brightsurf:

Children with social anxiety, maternal history of depression more likely to develop depression
Although researchers have known for decades that depression runs in families, new research from Binghamton University, State University of New York, suggests that children suffering from social anxiety may be at particular risk for depression in the future.

Depression and use of marijuana among US adults
This study examined the association of depression with cannabis use among US adults and the trends for this association from 2005 to 2016.

Maternal depression increases odds of depression in offspring, study shows
Depression in mothers during and after pregnancy increased the odds of depression in offspring during adolescence and adulthood by 70%.

Targeting depression: Researchers ID symptom-specific targets for treatment of depression
For the first time, physician-scientists at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center have identified two clusters of depressive symptoms that responded to two distinct neuroanatomical treatment targets in patients who underwent transcranial magnetic brain stimulation (TMS) for treatment of depression.

A biological mechanism for depression
Researchers report that in depressed individuals there are increased amounts of an unmodified structural protein, called tubulin, in lipid rafts compared with non-depressed individuals.

Depression in adults who are overweight or obese
In an analysis of primary care records of 519,513 UK adults who were overweight or obese between 2000-2016 and followed up until 2019, the incidence of new cases of depression was 92 per 10,000 people per year.

Why stress doesn't always cause depression
Rats susceptible to anhedonia, a core symptom of depression, possess more serotonin neurons after being exposed to chronic stress, but the effect can be reversed through amygdala activation, according to new research in JNeurosci.

Which comes first: Smartphone dependency or depression?
New research suggests a person's reliance on his or her smartphone predicts greater loneliness and depressive symptoms, as opposed to the other way around.

Depression breakthrough
Major depressive disorder -- referred to colloquially as the 'black dog' -- has been identified as a genetic cause for 20 distinct diseases, providing vital information to help detect and manage high rates of physical illnesses in people diagnosed with depression.

CPAP provides relief from depression
Researchers have found that continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can improve depression symptoms in patients suffering from cardiovascular diseases.

Read More: Depression News and Depression Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.