What are the treatment options for depression?

The type of treatment most appropriate, where it takes place, and duration of treatment depends on how severe the depression is, personal circumstances, and how symptoms develop over time. The main treatments are psychotherapy and/or medication
Medications antidepressants that are thought to work by changing brain chemicals, neurotransmitters, which are involved in regulating mood.
Some antidepressants have classifications:
  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) —safer and generally cause fewer side effects than other types of antidepressants
  • Serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
  • Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) — can be very effective, but tend to cause more-severe side effects than newer antidepressants.
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) Using MAOIs requires a strict diet because of dangerous (or even deadly) interactions with foods such as certain cheeses, pickles and wines, and some medications including birth control pills, decongestants and certain herbal supplements. Selegiline (Emsam), a newer MAOI that sticks on the skin as a patch, may cause fewer side effects than other MAOIs do.
Antidepressants can be an effective form of treatment for moderate-severe depression but are not the first line of treatment for cases of mild depression.
Psychotherapy — used to treat depression by talking about your condition and related issues with a mental health provider. Psychotherapy is also known as talk therapy or psychological therapy. This includes effective treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy or interpersonal therapy. Psychotherapy can help you:
  • Adjust to a crisis or current difficulty
  • Identify and replace negative beliefs and behaviors with healthy, positive ones.
  • Explore and develop positive interactions, relationships, and experiences with others
  • Learn to cope and solve problems
  • Identify triggers and how to manage them
  • Regain a sense of satisfaction and control in your life 
  • Help to set realistic goals 
  • Develop the ability to tolerate and accept distress using healthier behaviors
Hospital and residential treatment is necessary if you cannot care for yourself properly or when you're in immediate danger of harming yourself or someone else. Psychiatric treatment at a hospital can help keep you calm and safe until symptoms lessen. 
Partial hospitalization or day treatment programs also help. Outpatient support and counseling is provided to get symptoms under control.
Other treatment options
Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). In ECT, electrical currents are passed through the brain. It impacts the function and effect of neurotransmitters in the brain and typically offers immediate relief of even severe depression when other treatments don't work. Physical side effects may include headache and temporary memory. ECT is usually used for people who don't get better with medications, can't take antidepressants for health reasons or are at high risk of suicide.
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). TMS may be an option for those who haven't responded to antidepressants. During TMS, a treatment coil is placed against your scalp that sends brief magnetic pulses to stimulate nerve cells in your brain which are involved in mood regulation and depression. Typically, you'll have five treatments each week for up to six weeks.
depression treatment

  • "Depression (major Depression)." Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 07 July 2016. Web. 18 Apr. 2017.
  • "Depression: Overview." National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 12 Jan. 2017. Web. 18 Apr. 2017
  • "Depression." World Health Organization. World Health Organization, Feb. 2017. Web. 18 Apr. 2017.
  • Commissioner, Office Of the. "Consumer Updates - Depression: FDA-Approved Medications May Help." US Food and Drug Administration Home Page. Office of the Commissioner, 01 Nov. 2016. Web. 18 Apr. 2017.


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