Unfortunately, this is a question that can generally only be answered on a case by case basis. It is difficult to say how long depression lasts, as every individual is different. One of the most important things to keep in mind is that the sooner depression is treated, the better. The longer a case of depression is left, and not treated, the more difficult it will be to treat in the future, and obviously the longer it will last. Researchers claim that depression, in cases where it is not treated, lasts between 9 to 12 weeks, but again, this is just an estimate. So it’s typical to answer the question “how long does depression last”, but generally speaking, when left untreated, 9 to 12 weeks is the average. Obviously, in more severe cases, depression can continue on for years and years if not treated, and in more mild cases, it may subside in a matter of weeks.

Sad Hispanic woman sitting at edge of bed

Those who are dealing with depression often feel trapped, and feel that their case of depression is going to last forever. This is the common trait of hopelessness that many suffering from depression experience. It’s important to keep in mind that specific types of treatment, among certain people, can in fact cause the depression to become more severe. Thus, it is important to be knowledgeable regarding the various depression treatments. Ultimately, a mental health professional will be able to make the best call based on their observations, but it never hurts to be informed yourself.

In many cases, individuals are required to take medication for up to one year, while others for only a couple of months. This generally depends on the type of depression, as the different types of depression have various symptoms and severities. The purpose of the treatments is not only to stop the current depressive phase, but also to decrease the chance of reoccurring depressive phases. This is the reason why the medications are prescribed  for up to a year or more at times. Though a few months of medication may have you temporarily feeling great, the chance of reoccurrence still remains, which is why doctors increase the length of prescription.

So how long does depression typically last, and what does it mean? Well, in the case that the depression only lasts a few days or so, this is likely a very mild form of depression, which is often refered to as “the blues”. This sort of depression generally has more to do with recent occurences, such as a breakup, loss of a loved one, loss of employment, and so forth. It is generally temporary and short.

Specifically among women, it is common for depression to last a week or two, before fading away. This is usually due to changes in their hormones, and almost always goes away in a matter of weeks.


When depression lasts for months, it is commonly known as seasonal depression (SAD).This type of depression is exactly what the term implies; it is depression over a certain season, most commonly winter. Researchers state that is primarily due to a lack of sunlight exposure during the winter season. In some cases, chronic depressioncan also only last a couple of months, but this is a bit less common.

Lastly, when depression continues for years and years at a time, it’s a sure case of chronic depression. This type of depression requires treatment, or the condition can only continue to develop stronger symptoms.