What are the Best Depression Treatments?

Depression treatments very much depend upon the individual. It would be difficult to determine the best one that would apply to an entire population because there are so many ways in which depression can be addressed. When depressive illness is major, the mental health community takes a two-pronged approach to depression treatments and recommends both medication and therapy as the best depression treatment.

The trouble with suggesting there’s only one method is that numerous medications exist to address this illness, and there are even different types of therapy. Common medications include certain classes of drugs, and those most often used are either selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). Another class of medications called tricyclics may be used too. Within each of these classes there are several drugs to choose from, and individual response is not always predictable.

In most cases, psychiatrists view SSRIs as the best depression treatments with medication initially. However if these are ineffective or a person is not responding well to them, MAOIs and tricyclics can be tried instead. In certain circumstances these medications will not work alone, and depression that is paired with anxiety or that results from mood swings associated with cyclothymia or bipolar disorder require mood stabilizers, anti-anxiety meds or atypical antipsychotic medications. Some people are not responsive to any depression meds tried, and doctors may suggest electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), which may help resolve depressive episodes.


Therapy is a valuable part of most depression treatments and there are several types. Some believe that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) offers the best depression treatment, especially for short-term cases of depression. This type of therapy is really a method for teaching people how to understand their thoughts and feelings in a different context, and to identify core feelings that may be driving devastating thought patterns or actions. Others benefit more from therapy that is traditional talk therapy, and there are many different schools of thought on how talk therapy takes place, from the traditional Freudian to more modern methods like psychodynamic.

Part of finding the best depression treatments may be determining cause. People who have significant depression due to grief or trauma might not require drug treatment as the feelings may cease with adequate therapeutic support. In other cases depression is not situational, and arrives in people’s lives when least expected. These people may have significant chemical imbalances that once corrected restore a sense of calm and well-being. However, this condition is seldom due to one thing only and therapy usually points to several causes of depression, while medication may address some of its symptoms.



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