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4 Different Treatments for Depression – Which Are Most Effective?

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Depression is a widespread mental health condition that tends to affect people in several different ways. Every sufferer responds to depression differently, so treatment needs to be tailored to each patient’s personal needs.

This article covers some of the most common treatments for depression to help figure out which one could be more effective in your case.

Residential program 

In cases where depression is making an individual’s life so difficult, a residential treatment program can be the best approach. It literally means inpatient or getting admitted into a hospital where you receive medical care and support 24/7 to help you get better.

During your stay at the depression treatment facility, you are attended to by lifestyle medicine experts that focus on treating your depression from the root cause rather than just the symptoms. They also guide you through your healing journey.

Depending on the severity of the issue as well as your individual needs, the attending medical professionals may use one or several treatment approaches in combination, which then brings us to the next important treatment approach.

Depression medication 

Antidepressant drugs are one of the first lines of treatment for depression. The good thing with antidepressants is that they can be used both for inpatient and outpatient treatment for depression. Some of the most common medications used in this case include:

  • SSRIs. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors: Including drugs like Paxil, Prozac, and Zoloft, SSRIs are among the most commonly used depression medications.
  • SNRIs. Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors: These help block the reuptake process of mood-regulating neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine.
  • NDRIs. Norepinephrine and dopamine reuptake inhibitors: Comprising drugs like Wellbutrin, Focalin, and Ritalin, NDRIs focus on preventing the reuptake of dopamine and norepinephrine.
  • MAOIs. Monoamine oxidase inhibitors like Marplan, Nardil, and Parnate are often prescribed for depression that’s hard to treat.
  • Tricyclic antidepressants. These include drugs like Elavil, Pamelor, and Tofranil, which are mostly used to treat chronic depression.

While depression medication can be a helpful treatment option, studies show that the approach is more effective when used in combination with one or two other treatment plans. 

Also, the use of anti-depression drugs should be restricted to the doctor’s prescription, plus some of them may have certain unpleasant side effects on the individual.


Sometimes called talk therapy, psychotherapy is a common treatment method for depression. Psychotherapy encompasses multiple approaches, and the most effective approach will vary from one patient to another. Nonetheless, some of the most common ones include:

  • Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT)
  • Supportive counseling
  • Interpersonal therapy
  • Social skills training
  • Psychodynamic therapy
  • Group therapy
  • And couple’s therapy

Electric brain stimulation procedures 

Because of their invasive nature, these treatment options are rarely used. They are often recommended to patients with severe depression that fails to respond to the earlier discussed forms of treatment. The most common types of electric brain stimulation procedures for depression include the following:

  • Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). Also called electroshock therapy, electroconvulsive therapy involves sending a safe and painless electric current to the brain through the scalp. Doctors may sometimes skip other treatments and prescribe ET, especially in severe cases of severe depression where the patient poses a threat to harm themselves or those around them.
  • Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS). If depression resists other forms of treatment, doctors may prescribe a stimulation surgery procedure called vagus nerve stimulation. It involves implanting a device that resembles a pacemaker in the chest and directing its wires to the left vagus nerve in the neck. This nerve then receives electrical impulses regularly, eventually changing your state of mind by triggering changes to the brain region associated with depression.
  • Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). Often considered safer than ECT, TMS involves stimulating the neurons using a small device placed on the skull. The impulse passed to these neurons alters their activity, eventually diminishing the feelings of depression.


Treating depression may involve more than one therapeutic approach. The most effective treatment method for you will largely depend on various factors, including the severity and the mental health facility you visit.

In most cases, residential treatment program come out as a winner because the patient usually has round-the-clock monitoring and care from expert doctors and therapists.

Dennis Relojo-Howell is the managing director of Psychreg.


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