Treatment Options for Depression (Major Depressive Disorder)

Published On: March 5, 2019|Categories: Mental Health|
Treatment Options for Major Depressive Disorder

Depression is the most common mental health disorder in the United States, while major depressive disorder is the most commonly diagnosed form of depression. Worldwide, depression affects over 300 million individuals.

Those statistics likely mean you or someone you know is affected by depression. Fortunately, with treatment, depression is a condition that many people can live with. The most important thing is to be aware of available treatment options, while also acknowledging that everyone’s treatment plan is different. What may be effective for you may not be effective for someone else. At Pyramid Healthcare, we’re committed to educating individuals diagnosed with depression on effective treatment methods so they can realize and maximize their potential.

Medication to Treat Depression

Treatment options have come a long way, providing those with depression options to manage their disorder and live a full life. For many individuals, antidepressants prescribed by a physician or psychiatrist may be an effective strategy for treating and managing depression.

Medication options may include:

  • Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors
  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors
  • Atypical/tricyclic antidepressants
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors

Depending on a patient’s diagnosis, there’s a chance a physician may prescribe several different medications to boost the efficacy of a specific antidepressant. For instance, some patients require two antidepressants, an antidepressant and mood stabilizer, or an antidepressant and anti-anxiety combination.


In addition to medication, psychotherapy is an effective way to treat depression. During therapy, patients talk about their condition along with underlying causes related to the condition. Just as there are different types of prescriptions, there are also different types of therapy, such as interpersonal therapy, computer program therapy, online therapy session, and cognitive behavioral therapy.

No matter what kind of therapy a person undergoes, the goal is the same: to learn healthy and effective ways of living with and responding to depression. Those in therapy learn:

  • How to use healthy coping mechanisms
  • How to identify and address negative beliefs
  • How to develop and maintain healthy relationships and experiences
  • How to change negative behaviors associated with depression.

Sessions can be guided by a therapist or completed independently. Some individuals may benefit from therapy over a short period of time, while others may find that they prefer therapy on an ongoing basis.

Therapy can be provided in inpatient treatment, but it can also be provided in an outpatient setting. Along with individual therapy, some centers may also provide intensive outpatient groups, support groups, and family therapy.

Residential Treatment for Depression

Those who experience depression more acutely than others may be better suited for residential treatment. Specifically, those in danger of harming themselves and those whose severe depression leaves them unable to take proper care of themselves should look into residential treatment. The goal of residential treatment is to help patients create a stable emotional/mental foundation that allows them to regulate their mood and gain a sense of calm and control.

Newer Methods: Brain Stimulation Therapies

Brain stimulation therapies are another option for major depressive disorder treatment. With electroconvulsive therapy, electrical currents are run through the brain to stimulate the effect and functionality of neurotransmitters. This brain stimulation therapy is most often reserved for those who do not respond to medication, are at risk of suicide, or have health reasons for not being able to take antidepressants.

There’s also transcranial magnetic stimulation, reserved for patients who do not respond favorably to medication. In transcranial magnetic stimulation, a treatment coil is placed against the scalp that sends magnetic pulses to nerve cells in the brain that govern depression and mood regulation.

Please note that these types of therapies are often only used when other treatment methods have been ineffective. On the other hand, these treatment methods may be used in addition to other methods. Some brain stimulation therapies are newer and may still be experimental. Like with other depression treatment options, there are risks and side effects associated with these procedures that patients should be fully aware of.

The key takeaway from the many available treatment options is that they are intended to manage a person’s depression and symptoms of depression. Keep in mind that it can take time. Fortunately, there are proven treatment options available, and with the help of your clinical team, you can discover a treatment plan that fits you.

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with major depressive disorder, or feel you may have major depressive disorder, know that help is available. Call 888-694-9996 to learn more.

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