Depression can be treated. Treatment includes medicines, talk therapy, or both.
If you are thinking about suicide or are very depressed and cannot function, you may need to be treated in a hospital.
After you have been on treatment, if you feel your symptoms are getting worse, talk with your doctor. Your treatment plan may need to be changed.
Antidepressants are medicines used to treat depression. They work by bringing back the chemicals in your brain to the right levels. This helps relieve your symptoms.
If you have delusions or hallucinations, your health care provider may prescribe additional medicines.
Tell your provider about any other medicines you take. Some medicines can change the way antidepressants work in your body.
Allow your medicine time to work. It may take a few weeks before you feel better. Keep taking your medicine as instructed. Do not stop taking it or change the amount (dosage) you are taking without talking to your provider. Ask your doctor about possible side effects, and what to do if you have any.
If you feel your medicine is not working, tell your provider. The medicine or its dosage may need to be changed. Do not stop taking medicines on your own.
WARNING: Children, teens, and young adults should be watched closely for suicidal behavior. This is especially true during the first few months after starting medicines for depression.
Women being treated for depression who are pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant should not stop taking antidepressants without first talking to their provider.
Beware of natural remedies such as St. John's wort. This is an herb sold without a prescription. It may help some people with mild depression. But it can change the way other medicines work in your body, including antidepressants. Talk to your health care provider before trying this herb.
Talk therapy is counseling to talk about your feelings and thoughts, and help you learn how to deal with them.
Types of talk therapy include:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy teaches you how to fight off negative thoughts. You learn how to become more aware of your symptoms and how to spot things that make your depression worse. You are also taught problem-solving skills.
- Psychotherapy can help you understand the issues that may be behind your thoughts and feelings.
- At group therapy, you share with others who have problems like yours. Your therapist or doctor can tell you more about group therapy.
OTHER TREATMENTS FOR DEPRESSION
- Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) may improve mood in people with severe depression or suicidal thoughts who do not get better with other treatments. ECT is generally safe.
- Light therapy may relieve depression symptoms in the winter time. This type of depression is called seasonal affective disorder.