Depression Treatment

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Medication and psychotherapy are effective for most people with depression. Your primary care doctor or psychiatrist can prescribe medication to relieve symptoms. However, many people with depression also benefit from seeing a psychiatrist, psychologist or other mental health professionals.


There are many types of antidepressants available on the market. Discuss with your doctor the different side effect that you can possibly experience. The following are examples of anti-depressants:

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) - These are the drugs doctors usually start with when treating depression. They are considered to be safer and generally cause fewer side effects than the other antidepressants. Examples of SSRIs include citalopram, fluoxetine and sertraline. 
  • Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) - SNRIs are an alternative antidepressant for when SSRIs are unavailable. Examples of SNRIs include duloxetine and venlafaxine.
  • Tricyclic antidepressants (TCA) - This medication can be very effective but is known to cause more severe side effects than newer antidepressants. So, TCAs generally aren't prescribed unless you have tried an SSRI first and no changes were experienced. Examples are imipramine and amitriptyline. 
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) - Like TCA, this class of drugs has more severe side effects. MAOIs require a strict diet because they interact with foods such as cheese, pickles and wine. However, if other antidepressants don’t work, MAOIs may be prescribed. Examples are tranylcypromine and phenelzine.

Other medication may be added to an antidepressant to enhance the antidepressant’s effect. Your doctor may recommend combining two antidepressants or adding medication such as mood stabilizers or antipsychotics.


Don’t stop taking antidepressants without talking to your doctor. Stopping treatment abruptly or missing several doses may cause a sudden worsening of depression. Let your doctor know if you aren’t happy with your medication.


Psychotherapy is a term used for treating depression by talking about your condition and related issues with a mental health care professional. There are different types of psychotherapy which include cognitive behavioural therapy or interpersonal therapy.


Written by Dr Ruusa Shivute | Health Window

Reference: Rakel RE. Depression. Prim Care. 1999 Jun;26(2):211-24.

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