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Depression Health Center

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Depression Treatment: Your Options

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What Are the Types of Antidepressants? continued...

Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) are an older type of depression medication. They mainly affect levels of norepinephrine and serotonin. They are effective, but because they can have more side effects than other drugs, doctors typically don’t prescribe them first.

MAOIs (monoamine oxidase inhibitors) are also an older type of antidepressant. They tend to work best in people who don’t get relief from other depression drugs. If you take one, you must avoid certain foods like cheese and aged meats, and certain medications (like decongestants or some cough syrups or prescription painkillers) that can have a dangerous interaction with MAOIs. For this reason, doctors usually don’t prescribe these drugs first. Examples:

When Are Other Medicines Used?

Doctors sometimes prescribe other medications, such as stimulants and anti-anxiety drugs, as well as an antidepressant. This is especially likely for people who have another mental or physical condition. But anti-anxiety medications or stimulants don’t treat depression on their own.

Other medicines, such as those used to treat schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, can also help when added to an antidepressant.

What Is Psychotherapy's Role?

Psychotherapy is “talk therapy,” where you meet with a psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker, or other trained mental health professional. You will learn new ways to handle challenges and change ways of thinking that depression affects.

It’s a key part of depression treatment for many people. In people with mild to moderate depression, it may work as well as an antidepressant.

There are different kinds of psychotherapy. You may go on your own, with your family, or in a group. Your doctor will help you find the best type of psychotherapy for you.

For in-depth information, see WebMD's Psychotherapy for Depression.

Exercise to Curb Depression

You already know that working out is good for your heart, muscles, and bones. Research shows that it’s also an effective treatment for mild depression. In one review of studies on the topic, experts concluded that it works as well as medicine or psychotherapy.

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