A new study has revealed that those who suffer from depression can recover and also avoid relapse if they make connections with a social group and make new friends.
As part of the study, it was found that patients took the path of recovery in two situations. First, if they joined a community group and got involved in activities such as sewing, yoga, sports and art and second, if they got enrolled in a group therapy at a psychiatric hospital.
In both the situations, a questionnaire revealed that patients who could not connect strongly with the social group had about 50 per cent chance of continued depression a month later.
The research, conducted at the University of Queensland, found that of those who developed a deeper relation with the group and who treated themselves as 'us' and not 'them,' less than a third still met the criteria for clinical depression after that time. According to many patients, the group provided them with a support system.
"We were able to find clear evidence that joining groups, and coming to identify with them, can alleviate depression," said Senior Fellow Alexander Haslam from the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research. Haslem conducted the study with lead author Tegan Cruwys and other colleagues.
Researchers said that the interaction with social groups boosted the morale of the patients, gave them encouragement and helped them deal with issues better.
The results were published in the Journal of Affective Disorders.
A recent study has suggested there is little or no effect of vitamin D supplements on depression.