Recovering from depression is not at all uncommon irrespective of the length of the episode and having at least one trusted friend is critical to cultivating complete mental health, new research has found.
Two in five adults who have experienced major depression are able to achieve complete mental health, the findings showed.
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 lead author of the study Esme Fuller-Thomson from University of Toronto.
"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," study co-author Mercedes Bern-Klug from University of Iowa in the US said.
"Having at least one trusted friend was critical to cultivating complete mental health," Bern-Klug noted.
This research was published in the journal Psychiatry Research.
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.
The researchers 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" co-author Senyo Agbeyaka from University of Toronto noted.