Depression: An Overview
Sadness is a completely normal and healthy aspect of human emotion and most of the time there are natural reasons for it. But there is a big difference between temporary sadness and long-lasting clinical depression. While everyone experiences sadness from time to time, an estimated 17 million U.S. adults has had at least one episode of major depression, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).
Depression can begin at any age and can affect any age of people across the globe. Generally speaking, rates for depression tend to be higher among people ages 18 to 25. Additionally, women are more likely than men to experience depression.
Treatment for depression varies based on the type of depression. Individual biology, lifestyle and preferences may also play a role in depression treatment.
Based on all of these factors, there are many different treatments for depression. Here is an overview of common types of treatment for depression.
4 Common Types of Treatment for Depression
There is a wide range of medications prescribed to treat depression.
- Tricyclic Antidepressants (TCAs) These are the first antidepressants developed. They work by increasing the amount of the neurotransmitters norepinephrine and serotonin, while blocking acetylcholine. Some of the common names include: Tofranil, Pamelor, and Elavil (amitriptyline).
- Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) These are the most commonly prescribed medications to treat depression including Paxil (paroxetine) and Prozac (fluoxetine). SSRIs work by increasing the amount of serotonin in the brain and blocking the reabsorption of serotonin into neurons.
2. Individual & Group Therapy
Therapy is another common type of treatment for depression. There are varying therapeutic approaches with different outcomes largely depending on the individual.
- Interpersonal Therapy This therapeutic approach is typically short in duration, with sessions focused on the importance of healthy relationships. The goal of this therapy is to help people improve skills, like communication and conflict resolution, leading to better and happier relationships.
- Psychodynamic Therapy Psychodynamic therapy explores a person’s unconscious and unhealed emotional wounds from the past. This therapeutic approach works to help people learn how their depression is related to past experiences and unresolved conflicts. The therapist helps patients address those issues so they can move forward in a healthy manner.
- Support Groups If you are suffering from depression and looking for a cost-effective treatment to help you achieve some relief, support groups may offer a good solution.
If a therapist or physician considers someone a danger to their own self or to others, hospitalization may become necessary. For example, individuals who are seriously considering suicide may require inpatient hospitalization. Treatment may involve a combination of medications, individual therapy, group therapy, and family therapy.
4. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a comparatively new non-invasive procedure. TMS uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain to nullify depressive symptoms. TMS is most commonly tried after other types of depression treatments have not worked.