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.
- 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. This is a very hands-on approach.
- 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.
- Psychodynamic therapy is a more traditional form of
therapy. It focuses on the deeper roots of your problems. Your therapist
might encourage you to talk about hard things in your past, especially
your childhood. This type of therapy is often done during a longer
Medicines are the other key treatment for depression. There are now
dozens of antidepressants that your health care provider can choose from.
- SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.)
These common medicines include some well-known names, like Lexapro
, Paxil, Prozac, and
Zoloft. Side effects are generally mild. They include
stomach upset, sexual problems, insomnia, dizziness,
weight change, and headaches.
- Newer types. Researchers have developed many new
types of antidepressants in recent years. These include drugs like
Wellbutrin, Cymbalta, and Effexor
. Cymbalta and Effexor may also ease chronic pain in
people with depression. Side effects are usually mild. They include
stomach upset, sleep problems,
sexual problems, dizziness, and weakness.
- Older antidepressants. Tricyclic
antidepressants and Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors
(MAOIs) were some of the first medicines used to treat
depression. While they work well, they can cause serious side effects
and interact with some drugs and foods. Because newer medicines work
just as well, these drugs aren't used as often anymore. But if you can't
take newer medicines for some reason, your health care provider may