Therapy for Depression

There are several different types of therapy for depression. This article has information on treating depression with the use of medication, psychotherapy, and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). Keep reading to discover what type of therapy for depression may work best for you or your loved one.

A variety of treatments are used for depression, in part depending on the origins, the duration, the responsiveness of the client, and the client’s preferences. There are five main overarching types of therapy for depression, including the use of medication, psychotherapy, electroconvulsive therapy.  It is common to find medication and psychotherapy used in tandem.

In cases in which depression is linked to specific causes, such as post-partum depression or seasonal affective disorder, hormone therapy and light therapy, respectively are used, though on occasion, some form of antidepressant medication may be employed as well.

Treatment of Depression with Medications

When depression manifests as a mood disorder with no swing to mania or hypomania (which would constitute bipolar depression), three categories of medications are typically used, alone or in combination with other forms of treatment, for example with psychotherapy. The four main types are:

  • Tricyclic and tetracyclic antidepressants, the first of which are not approved for use with teen patients
  • Selective Seratonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), which increase the concentration of the neurotransmitter called serotonin
  • Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), which increase the concentration of two neurotransmitters: serotonin and norepinephrine
  • Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs), which is used for atypical depression and also panic disorder

Treatment of Depression with Psychotherapy or Talk Therapy

Psychotherapy, sometimes referred to as “talk therapy” uses psychology to treat mental health issues. There are a variety of types, and some types have a range of different variants.  Here are some of the main types of psychotherapy used with depression:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which also goes by the name cognitive therapy, focuses on solving current problems of behavior, introducing problem-solving strategies and techniques. Dialectical Behavior Therapy is an outgrowth of CBT, developed for use with clients who have life-threatening issues.
  • In contrast to CBT, interpersonal therapy (IPT), which may be Freudian, Jungian, or rooted in other approaches, assists the client in the examination of relationships from his or her very earliest days, including those with family, peers, and with the client his- or her-self. The understanding that is gained through examination of the past is put into use in dealing in the present.
  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), is a form of psychotherapy that is rooted in the premise that traumatic or deeply disturbing events can have a long-term effect on a client’s ability to properly process experience. Without a discussion of the seminal event or events, the client is led through a therapeutic method aimed at achieving integration of the event(s) in question.

Treatment of Depression with Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)

Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT), which is a medical procedure performed on a sedated patient, is generally only used after a number of other treatments for depression have been tried and failed. It involves passing an electrical current through the brain, causing a brief seizure. While the effects of ECT are not well understood, it is thought to cause a positive result in the brain’s chemistry.