5 Depression Treatment Options

Male Patient With Headache In A Clinic; blog: 5 Depression Treatment Options


According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, more than 17 million adults in the US have at least one major depressive episode each year. That’s 7% of the country’s population. Because this illness is so common and can have such a large impact on someone’s life, there is a great interest in depression treatment options. Every person suffering from clinical depression is unique and not everyone responds to the same treatments. However, there are five types of depression treatments that have been proven to be effective in many people.

1. Medication

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)

These medications are some of the most common drugs used for depression treatment. SSRIs block the absorption of serotonin by particular brain nerve cells. That makes more serotonin available for mood regulation. While SSRIs cause fewer side effects than many antidepressants, they may cause insomnia, weight gain, and sexual dysfunction.

Serotonin-Norepinephrine reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs)

SNRIs work by increasing levels of serotonin and norepinephrine. These medications keep those chemicals available by preventing them from being reabsorbed. They may cause side effects like headaches or nausea.

Tricyclic Antidepressants

These medications are older and work in a similar way to SNRIs but may have more side effects than newer drugs.

Norepinephrine-Dopamine Reuptake Inhibitors (NDRIs)

These antidepressants increase concentrations of mood-regulating chemicals in the brain. They sometimes cause anxiety and weight gain. However, they produce the least amount of nausea and sexual dysfunction.

Atypical Antidepressants

These are antidepressants that don’t fit into the other common categories.

Other Medications

Other types of medications like those used for anxiety or as stimulants may be combined with the above antidepressants as part of depression treatment. If a patient has bipolar depression, then a mood stabilizer is typically added to an antidepressant. 

2. Therapy

Therapy is often part of depression treatment plans. Three common types of therapy used to treat depression are cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), psychodynamic therapy, and interpersonal therapy (IPT)

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

In cognitive-behavioral therapy, the focus is on changing negative thinking patterns. There is a lot of research that shows that CBT helps with the symptoms of depression. It is a structured form of therapy and sometimes it is only recommended for a limited course of treatment for 8 t 16 weeks. The aim is for the person to catch themselves when they are having negative thoughts and then redirect their thoughts using coping techniques.

Psychodynamic Therapy 

Psychodynamic therapy focuses on recognizing patterns of behavior and examining a person’s unconscious thought processes. This type of therapy also looks at past experiences so the feelings associated with those experiences can be resolved.

Interpersonal Therapy (IPT)

In this type of therapy, the patient is encouraged to look at their personal relationships and evaluate how they interact with others. They learn how to improve their relationships through an understanding of how they relate to other people.

3. Lifestyle Changes for Depression Treatment

Some people find lifestyle changes helpful when dealing with depression. These changes can be used in combination with other therapies and medication;

  • Getting enough sleep
  • Eating well
  • Staying active
  • Finding motivation and purpose
  • Learning coping techniques for stress
  • Find support from family members, friends, or another social circle

4. Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)

ECT is a type of brain stimulation therapy used for people who do not respond to other kinds of treatment. ECT used to be known as electroshock therapy, but it has evolved an incredible amount since it was first used. Today, ECT involves a precise transmission of short electrical impulses to the brain. ECT generally has good outcomes for patients that are suicidal and do not respond to drug therapies or psychotherapy. However, the side effects of ECT may include confusion and short-term memory loss in rare cases.

5. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)

TMS is similar to ECT, but it uses magnets instead of an electrical current. TMS is safe and non-invasive. It is often recommended for people who can’t tolerate medications well like the elderly, pregnant women or adolescent children. TMS uses focused magnetic pulses that activate or suppress specific areas of the brain. This normalizes the brain circuits associated with psychiatric or neurological conditions.

At Regional Neurological Associates, we embrace the connection between psychiatry and neurology and are pleased to offer our patients mental health treatments like TMS. Two of our neurologists have training in both fields. 

Whether you are seeking treatment for a mood disorder like depression or you need to manage a condition like ADD, our team can help. To see if you might benefit from depression treatment at Regional Neurological Associates, you can complete this depression severity assessment and call (718) 515-4347 to make an appointment.