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What to do about mild depression

February 1, 2010 | 10:06 am

Depression A recent, highly publicized study suggested that people with mild cases of depression do not benefit from antidepressant medication. However, that doesn’t mean that mild depression should be ignored.

A new study, published Monday, found that mild symptoms of depression that are not treated often do not go away and, in fact, may progress into a more severe course of depression. The research was published in the journal Psychiatric Services.

Researchers at Columbia University followed 348 adults with symptoms of mild depression. They were not in treatment for the depression and had not received any treatment in the previous year. Four years later, researchers found that 62% of the study participants were currently experiencing major depression.

The question of whether to seek help for mild symptoms can be tough for a patient and doctor. But, at the least, it would seem prudent to discuss mild depression with a primary-care doctor and arrange for continued follow-up to assess whether symptoms are improving or worsening. Moreover, mild depression often benefits from such easy remedies as an increase in exercise, healthier eating, improved sleep schedules and having someone supportive to talk to.

-- Shari Roan

Photo: Kirk McCoy / Los Angeles Times