Depression Treatment Options

There are many treatment options for depression and your doctor will assist you in making the right choice for your needs. Psychotherapy and drug therapy are the most common.


Psychotherapy, also known as "talk therapy," is more than talking about problems, it's about finding solutions. A good therapist will help individuals develop skills for coping with overwhelming feelings and symptoms, and help change behaviors that may be contributing to symptoms.

Medication Therapy

Medication therapy and medication management for depression primarily includes antidepressant medication, but may also be combined with other medications. A particular class of antidepressant may be more effective over another, therefore testing a couple of different medications before finding the right medication therapy isn't unusual.

Medical Interventions

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) are additional treatment options most likely used when other treatments are ineffective. Both TMS and ECT are effective and approved by the FDA. As with all medical interventions, a discussion with your doctor about risks and benefits is advised.

TMS works using magnetic pulses to stimulate key areas of the brain to release neurotransmitters at the synapse. This treatment is administered while sitting comfortably in a chair and a curved device rests on the patient's head. Treatment typically occurs five days a week for 4-6 weeks. Each treatment lasts about 45 minutes.

ECT is an option for treatment resistant depression, when other options are not effective. ECT is a painless procedure performed under general anesthesia. Electrodes are placed on the patient's head and deliver an electric current which affect neurons and chemicals in the brain.

Mental Health Providers

Mental health care often involves different types of providers. Here is a brief description of providers you may encounter:

A psychiatrist is a medical doctor, who specializes in diagnosis and treatment of mental illness. Treatment from a psychiatrist often includes medications. Family doctors and nurse practitioners can also prescribe medications for the treatment of mental illness.

Psychotherapists provide talk therapy employing different techniques and interventions based on different theories. Psychotherapist must be licensed and include the following: licensed clinical social workers (LCSW), licensed professional counselors (LPC), licensed marriage and family therapists (LMFT), and psychologist (Phd or PsyD).

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Updated: 4/12/2021 10:13:39 AM