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What Are the Three Forms of Treatment for Depression?

Dr. Laura Tanzini

Depression is a severe mental health disorder that profoundly impacts a person’s mood, thoughts, behaviors, and overall functioning. That’s why it is essential for women experiencing symptoms of depression to seek appropriate treatment immediately. 

There are three forms of treatment for depression –– psychotherapy, medication, and lifestyle changes. In this article, we will explore the types of treatment for this mental illness, allowing you to make an informed decision about what is best for you or a loved one.

1. Psychotherapy

therapist working with female depression patient sitting on gray sofa in office.

Psychotherapy is a type of talk therapy that enables people to explore thoughts, feelings, and behaviors with the help of a mental health professional. It helps women gain insight into their issues and develop coping strategies for managing difficult emotions. Psychotherapy also provides support during distress or when making life changes. 

Depending on the type of psychotherapy, sessions are on an individual or group basis. Typical forms of psychotherapy used to treat depression are CBT, psychodynamic, and IPT.

CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy)

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapy that focuses on identifying and modifying negative thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors. It teaches you or a loved one to recognize unhealthy thinking patterns, challenge their distorted ideas, and replace them with healthier ways of coping with emotions.

According to the American Psychological Association, CBT helps those suffering from depression develop the skills they need to manage their depression and improve their quality of life.

IPT (Interpersonal Therapy)

Interpersonal therapy (IPT) is a form of psychotherapy that focuses on the relationships and social contexts contributing to or exacerbating an individual’s depression. IPT is an effective treatment for those who have experienced significant life transitions or relationship difficulties.

During IPT sessions, you can expect to:

  • Discuss your relationships with friends, family, and significant others.
  • Explore how changes in your relationships or social support may have affected your mood.
  • Identify and address any communication or relationship issues that can cause depression.
  • Develop skills to improve your relationships and social support.
  • Focus on resolving current life challenges or problems.

Psychodynamic Therapy

Psychodynamic therapy or also known as  psychoanalytic therapy, assumes that depression can occur because of unresolved unconscious conflicts often from childhood.  This type of therapy approach will help a person with depression to find connections of the past and discovering how they those events are linked to depression.

2. Medication

Diagnostic assessment paper identifying depression as the illness with prescription bottles


Medication can be an effective form of treatment for depression. While medication alone may not be able to treat the underlying causes of depression, it can help reduce symptoms and prevent relapse.

Common types of medications used to treat depression are:

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are the most commonly prescribed medications for depression. They work by increasing serotonin levels, a neurotransmitter that plays a role in mood regulation in the brain. SSRIs are generally well-tolerated and have a low risk of side effects.

Examples of SSRIs:

  • Fluoxetine (Prozac)
  • Sertraline (Zoloft)
  • Paroxetine (Paxil)

Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs)

SNRIs are another class of antidepressants that increase the levels of serotonin and norepinephrine, another neurotransmitter involved in mood regulation, in the brain.

SNRIs are prescribed if you don’t respond well to SSRIs or have additional symptoms, such as anxiety or pain.

Tricyclic Antidepressants (TCAs)

Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) are an older class of antidepressants that work by inhibiting the reuptake of serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain. TCAs can be effective for depression, but they are generally not used as a first-line treatment due to their potential for significant side effects and the availability of newer, safer medications.

Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs)

MAOIs inhibit the enzyme monoamine oxidase, which breaks down serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine, and other neurotransmitters.

MAOIs may be effective for those who do not respond to other medications. However, MAOIs have potential side effects and dietary restrictions and are generally not used as a first-line treatment.

These are examples of MAOIs for depression treatment:

  • Phenelzine (Nardil)
  • Tranylcypromine (Parnate)
  • Isocarboxazid (Marplan)

3. Lifestyle Changes

woman wearing gray knit hat looking out toward bright sun with river and mountains


Making lifestyle changes can also be an effective treatment for depression. These changes include increasing physical activity, spending more time in nature, getting enough sleep, and making healthier dietary choices.  In fact, there are many evidence based treatment for depression with high intensity exercise.

Other lifestyle interventions that may help with depression include:

  • Mindfulness meditation
  • Yoga
  • Art therapy
  • Music therapy

Mild To Severe Depression: FAQs

What Is the Best Treatment for Depression?

Every person is different, which calls for custom-tailored approaches to treatment.

Research has attested to the potency of antidepressant medications in providing relief from moderate to severe depression. Similarly, therapy has proved just as effective as drug therapies in some instances. However, those with severe or chronic depression may succeed most in a combination of medication and therapy.  In addition, changes in exercise and nutrition can replace medications.

How Long Does It Take To Treat Depression?

The amount of time it takes to treat depression varies depending on the individual and the type of treatment they are receiving. In most cases, treatment can take several weeks or months before you start to see improvements in your symptoms.

Are there any natural remedies for depression?

Yes, there are plenty of natural remedies for depression, such as lifestyle changes, mindfulness meditation, yoga, and art or music therapy. However, consult your doctor before trying any natural remedies, as some treatments may interact with existing medications or have adverse side effects.

Is Antidepressant Medication Safe?

Antidepressant medications are generally safe when taken as prescribed. However, ask your doctor about the potential risks and side effects of any medications you may be taking. Also, it is essential to note that while antidepressants can effectively treat depression, they are not suitable for everyone and should never be taken without consulting a doctor first.

How Do I Know if I Have Depression?

Suppose you are experiencing persistent sadness, low energy, difficulty sleeping, and changes in appetite or concentration for more than two weeks. In that case, you may be suffering from depression.

Speak to a mental health professional if you think you may have depressive symptoms so they can assess your symptoms and recommend the best treatment plan for you.

Depression Treatment Options Available at Kinder in the Keys

At Kinder in the Keys, we understand the importance of seeking appropriate treatment for depression and providing specialized and tailored treatment for women. That’s why our center offers a wide range of services that are specifically designed to help women cope with the unique challenges of severe or mild depression and other mental disorders. 

(Note: We don’t offer brain stimulation therapies, such as Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) and Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS).

We believe in a compassionate, client-centered approach and work with each client to ensure their needs are met, allowing them to lead healthier and happier lives. So, if you’re looking for specialized treatment for women –– from persistent depressive disorder to PTSD –– contact Kinder in the Keys for quality and effective treatment options for mild to major depression today!

Remember, seeking help is the first step to address major depressive disorder and improving your overall quality of life.


Author Bio

Dr. Laura Tanzini, DrPh, MA, MFT

Dr. Laura Tanzini is a highly educated and accomplished professional with a background in biology and psychology. She received a BS in Biology from UC Riverside, an MA in psychology from Phillips Graduate Institute, and a Doctorate in Public Health with a specialty in Lifestyle Medicine from Loma Linda University.

Dr. Laura Tanzini is a Board Certified Professional Counselor, Integrative Medicine Clinician, and PTSD Clinician. She has worked in multiple medical hospitals, mental health institutions, and inpatient eating disorder clinics. Also, Dr. Tanzini has written scholarly papers and spoken on various topics related to nutrition, stress, menopause, obesity, depression, anxiety, and human development.