This can help with:
- Understanding different types of treatments for depression
- Managing depression symptoms
- Understanding your depression treatment plan
Why treating depression is important
Depression is able to be treated, but when it isn’t properly managed it can seriously interfere with your life. Figuring out a course of treatment that works for you can be difficult on your own so it’s worth seeking professional advice from a doctor so you can work it out together. Though you may still have some pretty tough days, proper management of depression will make things much easier for you.
How to treat depression
Depression doesn’t have a clear cause; it can be the result of biological factors (like your genes or the chemicals in your brain) or environmental factors (like your life experiences), or perhaps both.
Depression also exists in many different forms, ranging on a spectrum from mild to severe. That means that a treatment plan for depression is going to look different for every person. For example, mild depression might involve a lot of self-care (things like physical exercise) while severe depression might involve more focused psychological treatment and medication (see below for more information on this).
Rest assured, however, depression can be treated. It can sometimes take a bit of time, but with the help of your doctor, you will be able to work out a treatment plan that works for you.
More about psychological treatments for depression
These can work alongside medication or on their own. They’re usually provided to a person with depression by an expert such as a psychologist, psychiatrist, or other mental health professional and they involve changing negative patterns of thinking, or working to improve relationships.
Types of psychological treatments that might be used include:
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)- this is the most endorsed type of therapy and is where a clinical psychologist works with you to change negative thought patterns and behaviour that’s causing you problems.
- Counselling is where a counsellor talks to you about your problems and helps you figure out exactly what the big problems are.
- Interpersonal therapy – a structured program for improving relationships.
- Other types of psychotherapy. This can include things like acceptance and commitment therapy (a therapy based on mindfulness) or structured problem solving (which involves working with a therapist to identify problems and figuring out how to overcome them) and these are delivered by a range of mental health professionals.
Your GP or therapist will be able to help you work out the best approach for you.
More about physical treatments for depression
Medication can be helpful in managing depression. There are several different types of antidepressant medications which are prescribed by doctors or psychiatrists. The common types of antidepressants are:
- Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)
- Selective Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs)
They each work in different ways and have different applications but put simply, they work by restoring chemical imbalances in the brain. Like most medications there can be side-effects, and some medications are better suited to adults than young people. It is important to ask about what options you have, how the medication will affect you, and how to take it safely.
Sometimes when your depression is severe and seriously affecting your life, you might need more intensive support. You might need to spend a short time in hospital where mental health professionals can monitor your treatments and look after you until you are better.
What to do next
If you want to know more about how any of these treatments may help you manage your depression symptoms, contact your doctor or mental health professional. They’ll be able to discuss your treatment options with you.
It's also a good idea to check out some self-help strategies for depression to see some of the things you could be doing alongside professional help to help manage your depression. You can also try ReachOut NextStep it's an anonymous online tool that recommends relevant support options based on what you want help with. Try ReachOut NextStep to learn about the support options available for you.