Excellent treatment options are available when you're diagnosed with depression.
Many people use a combination of treatments, such as medication and psychotherapy. For depression that doesn't respond to standard medication treatment, certain other types of medicines, or some non-drug approaches can be effective, either alone or used with other treatments.
Talking with a trained therapist is one of the best treatments. Some people choose to be in therapy for several months to work on a few key issues. Other people find it helpful to continue in therapy for longer periods, gradually working through larger problems. The choice is up to you and your therapist and depends on the kinds of problems and symptoms you're facing. Here are some common types of therapy:
Cognitive behavioral therapy helps you see how behaviors and the way you think about things plays a role in your depression. Your therapist will help you change some of these unhealthy patterns.
Interpersonal therapy focuses on your relationships with other people and how they affect you. Your therapist will also help you pinpoint and change unhealthy habits.
Problem-solving therapy focuses on the specific problems you face and helps you find solutions.
Medicines are the other key treatment for depression. If one antidepressant doesn't work well, you might try a similar one or a different kind. Your doctor might also try changing the dose. In some cases, he or she might recommend taking more than one medication for your depression. There are now many different antidepressants that your doctor can choose from. They include:
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). These common medicines include citalopram ( Celexa), escitalopram ( Lexapro), fluoxetine ( Prozac), paroxetine ( Paxil), and sertraline ( Zoloft). Side effects are generally mild. They include stomach upset, sexual problems, insomnia, dizziness, weight change, and headaches.
Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) This class of medicines includes desvenlafaxine ( Khedezla, Pristiq), duloxetine ( Cymbalta), levomilnacipran ( Fetzima), and venlafaxine ( Effexor). Side effects include upset stomach, insomnia, sexual problems, anxiety, dizziness, and fatigue.
Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). These were some of the first medicines used to treat depression. TCAs include amitriptyline ( Elavil), desipramine ( Norpramin), doxepin ( Adapin, Sinequan), imipramine ( Tofranil), nortriptyline ( Aventyl, Pamelor), and protriptyline ( Vivactil). Side effects include stomach upset, dizziness, dry mouth, constipation, tremor, changes in blood pressure, and nausea. MAOIs can cause serious interactions with other medications and certain foods. While they can work extremely well, these drugs are usually reserved for depression that doesn’t respond to other medicines that are simpler to take. MAOIs include isocarboxazid ( Marplan), phenelzine ( Nardil), transdermal selegiline ( Emsam), and tranylcypromine ( Parnate).