be treated in various ways. Counseling, psychotherapy, and antidepressant medicines may all be used. Lifestyle changes, such as
getting more exercise, also may help.
Your doctor or mental health
professional will help you find the best treatment. For severe depression, a
very small number of people may need to stay in a hospital for a short time,
especially if they are thinking about suicide.
Work with your
health care team to find the best treatment for you. To get the most benefit,
be sure you find a therapist who has experience treating people who have
depression and who is trained in proven therapies, and use your medicines as
your doctor directs.
- If your depression is mild, you may need only therapy.
- If you have moderate to severe symptoms, your doctor probably
will suggest medicine and/or therapy.
- If you are using medicine,
your doctor may have you try different medicines or a combination of medicines.
- You may need to go to the hospital if you show
warning signs of suicide, such as having thoughts
about harming yourself or another person, not being able to tell the difference
between what is real and what is not (psychosis), or
using a lot of alcohol or drugs.
If you don't get treated, depression may last from months
to a year or longer. A small number of people feel depressed for most of their
lives and always need treatment.
For more information, see the
Therapy and Medications sections of this topic.
You can help yourself by
getting support from family and friends,
eating a balanced diet, avoiding alcohol,
staying active, and
getting enough sleep.
If you need help
deciding whether to talk to your doctor about depression, see
some common reasons people don't get help and how to overcome them.
For more information on making changes in your lifestyle to help with
depression, see the Living With Depression section of this topic.
Other treatments for depression
electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and alternative or
complementary treatment. ECT involves an electric stimulation to the brain.
Alternative treatments include the herb St. John's wort and omega-3 fatty
acids. For more information on these treatments, see the Other Treatment
section of this topic.