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Depression

Treatment of Depression

With depression, it may seem like there is no end in sight to the sadness and helplessness. However, depression is a treatable and manageable condition. By speaking to your health care professional, the option that is right for you can be determined, and you can be on your way to managing depression.

Here are some of the treatment options available:

Antidepressant Medications

The three main kinds of antidepressant medications are:

You and your doctor must discuss which type of medicine is right for you and your situation. Make sure to tell your doctor as much about your depression as you can. For example:

Knowing if there are any kinds of mood changes can help your doctor determine what type of drug is best for you. It usually takes a couple of months before an antidepressant is working to its fullest effect. Make sure to ask questions about the side effects of different drugs.[1]

Psychotherapy

When people suffer from depression, many choose psychotherapy for their treatment. This is where someone meets regularly with a healthcare professional, such as a psychologist, to discuss their problems and what can be done to change them. Psychotherapy for depression is as effective as antidepressant medication for relieving symptoms. Psychotherapy is also effective for preventing future depressive episodes. According to the American Psychological Association, over 75% of patients who continue to go to psychotherapy for six months show a dramatic improvement. In order to find a healthcare professional that best fits your needs, be sure to ask family, friends, and trusted healthcare professionals for referrals.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

This type of psychotherapy, often called CBT, is usually used in conjunction with other therapies for depression, such as antidepressant medications. By focusing on a person’s patterns of thinking, a healthcare professional can help change negative thoughts and ideas into more positive ones.[2]

Electroconvulsive Therapy

Electroconvulsive therapy can help those with severe depression, especially those who do not respond to or cannot take antidepressants. ECT uses an electrical shock to cause a seizure in the brain, which releases neurotransmitters. When the brain releases neurotransmitters, it can help enhance the depressed person's mood.[3]

Consult Your Doctor

In order to find the best treatment for your depression, you should speak with your healthcare professional. One of these therapies, or perhaps a combination of therapies, can help improve your mood and keep it that way.


Resources:

  1. Consumer Reports. Drugs to Treat Depression: Antidepressants. July 2005. http://www.crbestbuydrugs.org/drugreport_DR_Antideprs.shtml
  2. National Alliance on Mental Illness. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy. June 2003. http://www.nami.org/Template.cfm?Section=About_Treatments_and_Supports&template=/ContentManagement/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=7952
  3. American Academy of Family Physicians. Depression: Electroconvulsive Therapy. April 2005. http://www.aafp.org/home.html

Some of this was taken from the National Institute of Mental Health's information on depression.

For more information:

Go to the Depression health topic, where you can:

This article is a NetWellness exclusive.

Last Reviewed: May 15, 2009

Lawson  Wulsin, MD Lawson Wulsin, MD
Professor of Psychiatry and Family Medicine, Training Director of the Family Medicine Psychiatry Residency Program
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati