Depression is a heavy, isolating thing to live with. Luckily, there are multiple treatment options available once you have received a diagnosis. Not every option will work for everyone, which is why it’s so great there are a variety of treatments available. From medication to psychotherapy or a combination of both, there’s a treatment option out there for you.
Talk therapy consists of talking with a trained professional and it is one of the best treatments. Therapy can last as long as it’s needed, from weeks to years. You and your therapist can work out how often and how long talk therapy is necessary to getting and keeping you well.
There are many types of therapy available as well. Cognitive behavioral therapy helps you see how the way you think and behave plays a role in your depression. Interpersonal therapy focuses on the relationships with people in your life. Problem-solving therapy involves focusing on specific problems you may face and finding solutions to them.
Talk therapy is one of the most popular treatments for depression. It helps people sort through their thoughts, makes them feel less isolated with their depression and can help give perspective and solutions. Therapy is often used in combination with other treatments but is some instances it is used on it’s own.
Medications are another key treatment option for depression. There are multiple antidepressants out there. You may have to try a few before you find one that works. It’s always best to be honest with your doctor about if a medication is working or not.
Many of the medications have only mild side effects such as upset stomachs or sleeping problems. As with any prescribed medication addiction and drug abuse can be a risk. All antidepressants also carry a warning of increased risk of suicidal thoughts or behavior, especially in teens and young adults. If you start to have these thoughts confined in your family, friends or doctors right away to switch your medication.
Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)
ECT involves putting a patient under anesthesia and applying small electrical currents to cause a brief and controlled seizure. There might have to be multiple sessions done over weeks but the effects are often seen right away. This is typically only used for severe depression that doesn’t respond to other forms of treatment.
This treatment option often sounds scary and even inhumane to some people. They tend to picture a scene from a horror film of someone strapped down and electrocuted. ECT is safe though and patients are put under to feel no pain. This form of treatment is incredibly effective- 70-90% of people see results. The only side effect is temporary memory loss.
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)
This treatment is another nondrug approach for depression that has been resistant to other treatment options. A small electric current is sent to the region of the brain that controls moods without causing a seizure or loss of consciousness.
TMS is typically only recommended for patients that haven’t shown improvement with antidepressant meds. It isn’t as effective as ECT for major depression but it has been approved as a safe and effective treatment. It’s a more intense treatment than ECT and it requires patients to be treated 4-5 times a week for 4-6 weeks.
It is becoming more popular for people to turn to non-traditional methods for treating depression such as herbs and supplements. Other alternative treatments are acupuncture, hypnosis and meditation, all of which may help manage the symptoms of depression.
Alternative treatments haven’t been conclusively proven to work and most professionals agree they do not work as well as medication treatments. Some supplements can have dangerous side effects when combined with medicines so run them by your doctor before trying. Overall though these treatment options have very few risks so with a doctor’s approval you might want to try them.
There’s a treatment option out there for everyone who has depression. If one treatment doesn’t work don’t give up hope, there’s a solution out there for you. The first step is always getting a professional diagnosis and finding an experienced doctor you trust and feel comfortable with. After that you can explore which treatment options will work best for you.