All About Depression Treatments


Depression affects people differently. It can be triggered by a medical condition like heart disease or cancer, or it can be caused by major life events, trauma, and stress.

Treatments include medication and psychotherapy. Some people get better after brief psychotherapy, while others need several months or years of sessions.


Psychotherapy is also known as individual counseling or talk therapies. It is a face to face meeting with a professional who has been trained and whose approach matches your needs. On your therapist may ask you questions to help you understand your situation and feelings in a different light, depending on the type of treatment you receive. The goal of psychotherapy involves changing negative thoughts and behaviors that contribute to depression. It also involves developing coping skills in order to reduce the symptoms.

Some psychotherapies focus on relationships to better understand their role in depression. Interpersonal therapy can be used to address issues such as social isolation, conflict with others or poor coping. A therapist will teach you how to improve your relationships with others. This can help prevent future depression episodes.

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a structured psychotherapy that aims to change your thinking and behavior to manage depression. It helps you identify your negative beliefs about yourself, and your life. Then it teaches you ways to replace these with more helpful beliefs. Many studies have shown that CBT is effective.

Psychotherapy can help people feel better in 6 to 20 sessions per week. However, everyone’s experience is different, and it’s important to find a therapist with whom you click and feel comfortable working. If you don’t know where to start, ask your primary doctor or another health provider for recommendations.

Depression can sometimes be so severe it requires hospitalization. This is particularly true if you are in danger of hurting yourself or others or have an immediate need to be calm and safe. You can get through your crisis with psychiatric treatment in a hospital or day treatment programs.


As a form therapy for depression, medications can help reduce symptoms and increase effectiveness of psychotherapy. But they shouldn’t be used as the only treatment. Other therapies and lifestyle changes are important.

If you suffer from mild depression, you may be advised by your doctor to try self-help or talking therapy instead of medication. This is known as watchful waiting. In addition, your therapist can recommend exercise and other therapies to improve mood.

It may take several antidepressants to find one that works. People with depression are usually prescribed an SSRI. These medications increase the level of brain chemical that regulate mood such as serotonin, and norepinephrine. Another type of antidepressant is an SNRI (norepinephrine-serotonin reuptake inhibitor). These medications work by affecting neurotransmitters such as norepinephrine or dopamine that affect mood.

Your therapist may prescribe additional medications to be taken with the antidepressants. These can include a thyroid hormone, antipsychotics or drugs to treat anxiety. These medicines, also called augmentation, can reduce the side-effects of antidepressants.

Social support can also prevent depression. You can seek support from family and friends, or attend a depression-support group. You can find support in employee assistance programs or through churches.

If you suffer from depression, do not hide it or feel that you are a bad person because you have it. Getting help isn’t weakness and doesn’t mean that you’re a burden to others. Do not hesitate to call 911 for help if you have suicidal thoughts. You can overcome depression with talking therapies and other treatments. But it will take time, and you’ll likely have ups and downs along the way. So don’t give up if you don’t see immediate results.

Brain stimulation

If you suffer from severe depressive disorder and other treatments don’t work, noninvasive brain stimulator therapy may be able to help. It involves placing a tiny conductor called an electrode in your head to deliver a low level impulse that helps regulate mood.

Scientists are learning more about the abnormal brain circuitry that causes depression. The findings will help guide future depression treatments that alter the signal flow through these pathways.

Another treatment is repetitive transcranial electromagnetic stimulation (rTMS), which uses repeated pulses of electromagnetic energy to stimulate an area of the mind. Scientists aren’t sure how it works, but they think it boosts nerve cell activity in the part of the brain that controls mood.

Deep brain stimulation is a new option for treating depression. It involves implanting a conductor in the brain permanently. The electrode is placed by the neurosurgeon in the ventral anterior leg of the internal capsule (vALIC), a region within the brain. It’s a critical area for controlling depression. Researchers have been able to improve the symptoms of people with refractory depression — the type that doesn’t respond to medication, psychotherapy or electroconvulsive therapy.

Ask your primary care physician for a recommendation to find a psychiatrist that specializes in depression. You can also look online for a list of licensed credentialed providers. Many mental health clinics in the community and senior centers offer counseling based on a sliding fee scale.


Exercise has long been lauded for its physical benefits, but it also seems to have powerful psychological effects. It can reduce depression symptoms, protect against future episodes and improve mood even when used alone or in conjunction with other forms of therapy.

Exercise increases levels of serotonin, endorphins and other feel-good chemicals. It also encourages brain cell growth and new connections, similar to what antidepressants can do. It also increases energy during the night and improves sleep, which can be a problem for people with depressive disorders.

Talk to your doctor about the treatment options available if you are suffering from depression. Psychotherapy and medication are often the best combination for people to overcome depression. While it may take a little time for treatment to kick in, don’t give up. Avoid alcohol and drugs, which can worsen depression.

There are lots of ways to incorporate more exercise into your daily routine, including walking, yoga, and resistance training. To increase motivation and encourage participation, look for workouts you can do with your friends that are fun and exciting. It’s also helpful to plan ahead and enlist support from family and friends to keep you accountable.

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