The good news about depression treatment is the excellent options available to you. Many people use a combination of therapies, such as medication and psychotherapy. For depression that doesn't respond to standard treatment, there are nondrug therapies that have been shown to be effective, either alone or in combination with other treatments.
Learn more here about the most common approaches to treating depression.
Talk Therapy for Depression
Talking with a trained therapist is one of the best treatments for depression. Many studies show that it helps. Some people choose to be in therapy for several months to work on a few key issues. Other people prefer to stay in therapy for years, gradually working through larger problems. The choice is up to you. Here are some common types of therapy:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy helps you see how behaviors -- and the way you think about things -- play 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 identify and change unhealthy behaviors.
- Problem solving therapy focuses on the specific problems you currently face, and on helping you find solutions to those problems.
Medicines for Depression
Medicines are the other key treatment for depression. If one antidepressant doesn't work well, you might try another drug of the same class or a different class of depression medicines. Your doctor might also try changing the dose. In some cases, your doctor might recommend taking more than one medication for your depression. There are now dozens of antidepressants that your health care provider can choose from. They include:
- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). These common medicines include Celexa (citalopram), Lexapro (escitalopram), Paxil (paroxetine), Prozac (fluoxetine), and Zoloft (sertraline). 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 includes Cymbalta (duloxetine), Effexor (venlafaxine), and Pristiq (desvenlafaxine). Side effects include upset stomach, insomnia, sexual problems, anxiety, dizziness, and fatigue.
- Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) 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 of include stomach upset, dizziness, dry mouth, changes in blood pressure, changes in blood sugar levels, and nausea. MAOIs can cause serious interactions with other medications and certain foods. While they work well, these drugs aren't typically used for initial treatment. MAOIs include isocarboxazid (Marplan), phenelzine (Nardil), selegiline (Emsam), and tranylcypromine (Parnate).
- Other antidepressant medications: Bupropion (Wellbutrin, Aplenzin) is different antidepressant option with side effects that are usually mild, including upset stomach, headache, insomnia, and anxiety. Bupropion may be less likely to cause sexual side effects than other antidepressants. Mirtazapine (Remeron) is usually taken at bedtime. Side effects are usually mild and include sleepiness, weight gain, elevated triglycerides, and dizziness. Trazodone (Desyrel) is usually taken with food to reduce chance for stomach upset. Other side effects include drowsiness, dizziness, constipation, dry mouth, and blurry vision.