Here's one more reason to appreciate your BFFs.
A new study conducted by researchers in Canada and the United States found that keeping at least one trusted friend can help patients suffering from bouts of depression to fully recover from their condition.
The findings showed that two in every five depression patients were able to achieve complete mental health as a result of having a generally positive outlook in life, particularly toward their social and psychological well-being.
These individuals also showed no signs of anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts, and were also able to avoid turning to substance abuse for at least an entire year.
Esme Fuller-Thomson, a researcher from the University of Toronto and lead author of the study, said their study provides a positive message to people suffering from depression as well as to their families and healthcare providers.
Fuller-Thomson's colleague, Mercedes Bern-Klug from the University of Iowa, pointed out that depression patients who had close relationships with other people and enjoyed sufficient emotional support were four times more likely to experience a full mental health recovery compared to those who did not have such bonds and relationships.
"Having at least one trusted friend was critical to cultivating complete mental health," Bern-Klug said.
For their study, the researchers examined data collected from more than 2,500 people in Canada who had experienced a major bout of depression at some point in their lives.
The data sets the team used were gathered through a program known as the Canadian Community Health Survey-Mental Health, which was carried out by Statistics Canada in 2012.
Fuller-Thomson and her colleagues found that the ability of patients to make a full recovery was not affected by the length of their depressive episode.
Patients who suffered from their depressive episode for more than two years were able to attain a complete mental health as much as those who only had the disorder for just a month.
The researchers believe that this proves that people with depression and their loved ones should not lose hope that the patients could make a full recovery from the condition.
Meanwhile, a newly developed blood test in the UK can help doctors provide the best antidepressant treatment for depression patients.
Researchers at King's College London said the new diagnostic looks for certain markers in the blood that can provide hints regarding a patient's degree of depression. This allows doctors to tailor a treatment plan that is more suitable to their needs.
The findings of the University of Toronto and University of Iowa study are featured in the journal Psychiatry Research.