Treatments for Depression
WebMD Medical Reference
The good news about depression is that you have a number of excellent treatments to choose from. More than 80% of people who get treatment for depression say that it helps them feel better.
Here's a rundown of some of the most common approaches. Many people use a mix. For instance, you might try medicine and therapy at the same time. Some studies show that using both together is better than using either one alone.
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.
Medicines are the other key treatment for depression. There are now dozens of antidepressants that your health care provider can choose from. They include:
This is a safe and effective treatment for people with serious depression. It's typically used on people who haven't been helped by medicines or therapy.
In ECT, your doctor will use electric charges to create a controlled seizure. These seizures seem to change the chemical balance of the brain. It may sound scary. But during the procedure, you'll be unconscious, so you won't feel anything.
ECT tends to work very quickly. It also works well -- about 80%-90% of people who receive it show improvement. The most common side effect is temporary memory loss.
You might have up to 12 sessions over a few weeks. Some people get "maintenance" therapy with ECT to prevent depression from returning.
Other treatments are being tested right now. Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS) is a treatment for epilepsy that researchers are trying with depression. It involves implanting a small device in your chest, like a pacemaker. But instead of sending electrical charges to the heart, it sends them to a nerve in your neck. These charges may change the balance of chemicals in your brain and relieve depression.