Treatments for Depression

A variety of effective treatments are available to help people with depression. The main categories are antidepressant medications and psychotherapies (or counseling). Some forms of depression may be treated with psychotherapy alone. Others require antidepressant drugs or a combination of drugs and counseling. Medications bring symptom relief and help correct any underlying abnormalities of brain chemicals. Counseling can help you learn more effective ways to deal with depression and the factors that originally caused or triggered it.

Treatment involves the following:

Lifestyle changes
Alternative and complementary therapies
Other treatments—therapy

There are no surgical options for the treatment of depression.


Depression. National Institute of Mental Health. Available at: . Accessed March 24, 2007.

Fochtmann LJ, Gelenberg AJ. Guideline Watch: Practice Guideline for the Treatment of Patients with Major Depressive Disorder. 2nd ed. Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Association; 2005. American Psychiatric Association website. Available at: . Accessed March 25, 2007.

National Institute of Mental Health website. Available at: .

Last reviewed April 2007 by Janet Greenhut, MD

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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