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Psychotherapy, medications, or a combination of both are common depression treatment options. "Talk" therapies are one form of psychotherapy used to treat depression. Among the drugs used to treat depression are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). Electroconvulsive therapy may be used when psychotherapy or drugs are ineffective, or work too slowly to relieve severe symptoms. Some people also consider alternative treatments, such as acupuncture or herbs.

Treatments for Depression: An Introduction

With advances in medicine, clinical depression (also known as major depression or just depression) is now quite treatable. More than 80 percent of those who seek help show improvement. The choice of treatment that a healthcare provider recommends will depend on a number of factors, including:
  • The type of depression (see Types of Depression)
  • The severity and length of time a person has had depression symptoms
  • The history of the illness
  • Other treatments that have been tried in the past.
As with many illnesses, early treatment for depression is more effective and helps prevent the likelihood of serious recurrences. Depression must be treated by a physician or qualified mental health professional.

What Are the Options for Treating Depression?

The most commonly used treatments for depression are:
There are a variety of antidepressant medications and psychotherapies for depression treatment. Some people with milder forms of depression may do well with psychotherapy alone. People with moderate to severe depression most often benefit from medication. Most people do best with a combination treatment plan, including:
  • Medication to gain relatively quick relief of symptoms
  • Psychotherapy to learn more effective ways of dealing with life's problems, including depression.
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Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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