Treatment Options For Depression

Feb 7, 2022 | Adolescent Treatment, Adult Treatment, Depression, Medication

Every person is unique, and the treatment that works best for you may not work best for someone else. Thankfully, there are numerous evidence-based treatment options available for treating depression. 

Psychotherapy, medication, or some combination of the two can significantly reduce symptoms and allow those experiencing depression to get back to living their life how they’ve always wanted. While it’s essential to understand what treatment options exist, talking to a professional about the most effective intervention for your depression symptoms is imperative.

Let’s look at some of the more common interventions for depression and a few emerging treatments. 

Where Does Depression Treatment Take Place?

While there are several methods for treating depression, the location of these options can vary. Inpatient, outpatient, and partial hospitalization programs are frequently referred to as standard settings where therapeutic interventions occur.

Inpatient Care

Inpatient care requires an individual to check into a mental health facility for supervised care twenty-four hours of the day. This treatment option is typically best for those with severe depression, who are at risk of harming themselves or those around them, or when outpatient treatment plans are unsuccessful. Inpatient treatment entails a higher level of care, and a medical professional must assess whether it is needed on a case-by-case basis. While staying in a facility can be disruptive to daily life, it can significantly benefit people who need a support system that removes stressors and allows space to thoroughly address the root of their condition.

Outpatient Care

Outpatient care involves at least one mental health service that does not require an individual to stay in a facility for a prolonged period. It is the most common setting for treatment and includes short and long-term counseling plans where both medication and talk therapy can be utilized. Outpatient care is the best option for those who do not need consistent, supervised treatment for learning how to cope and manage symptoms. A long-term outpatient plan is typically set in place for after-care when a patient is discharged from an inpatient setting.

Partial Hospitalization

Partial hospitalization, or PHP, is a combination of both inpatient and outpatient treatment settings. Clients participate in mental health treatment at a facility for several hours, three to five days per week, and return home in the evenings. It can be leveraged to prevent an inpatient stay or transition out of inpatient care and into an outpatient setting.

Where your depression treatment takes place will depend on your symptoms and be determined through an assessment with a mental health clinician.


Psychotherapy, also referred to as “talk therapy,” is the most common treatment option for depression. There are several different modalities, but practitioners frequently use a mixed approach based on a client’s needs. A few evidenced-based, commonly used modalities are listed below.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) helps you reframe and change negative thoughts and behaviors that may exacerbate your symptoms of depression. CBT is typically a short-term treatment option to help manage current problems and build new coping mechanisms.

Interpersonal Therapy

Interpersonal Therapy mainly concerns itself with the relationships in your life. The belief is that depression links itself to one’s relationships, and learning to strengthen communication and conflict resolution skills will help alleviate symptoms. 

Psychodynamic Therapy

Psychodynamic Therapy helps you realize how your past experiences relate to your present-day depression symptoms. By examining unsettled conflicts or unhealed emotional scars, you can move forward in life. This treatment modality is most often portrayed in movies and TV shows.


Talk therapy may pair with medication in treating depression. Like there are several variations of talk therapies, there is also a wide range of available medications.

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)

Also called SSRIs, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are the most prescribed medication type for depression. They are effective for all severity levels of depression and have fewer side effects than other medications. Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Celexa, and Luvox are a few well-known brands.

Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs)

Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs) work similarly to SSRIs but block a different neurotransmitter in the brain. Common SNRIs are Effexor, Cymbalta, and Pristiq.

Norepinephrine and Dopamine Reuptake Inhibitors (NDRIs)

NDRIs block norepinephrine and dopamine in the brain. Common brands are Focalin, Ritalin, and Wellbutrin, the latter being commonly preferred due to its side effects typically fading away after the first week of use.

Tricyclic Antidepressants (TCAs)

Tricyclic Antidepressants were among the first developed for depression treatment and are just as effective as SSRIs despite having more side effects. TCA medications include Elavil, Tofranil, and Pamelor.

Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs)

MAOIs are another older antidepressant that is not commonly used as the first option in treating depression. However, MAOIs may be leveraged for chronic depression that is more difficult to treat. MAOI medications include Marplan, Nardil, and Parnate. Because MAOIs can cause high blood pressure, those who take them must follow dietary guidelines. MAOIs can also negatively interact with other drugs, such as SSRIs.


Esketamine, under the brand name Spravato, is a variant of the hallucinogenic drug ketamine. The FDA approved its use in 2019 and has shown effectiveness in treating depression symptoms that have remained resistant to other options. To receive it, you must stay at a facility for several hours so that medical professionals can monitor you in case of an adverse reaction. You must also take an oral antidepressant to receive the drug.

Treatment Options for Hard-to-Treat Depression

While talk therapies and medications are the go-to choices for depression treatment, a few more options are more invasive. Each of these is used for patients who have not responded to the combination of psychotherapy and medication.

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)

TMS involves the placement of a device on the skull that stimulates neurons in the brain. By stimulating the neurons, their activity changes which lead to decreased symptoms of depression.

Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)

ECT changes the brain’s chemistry by using electrical stimulation to induce seizures. When undergoing ECT, you are placed under general anesthesia.

Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS)

Like ECT, VNS uses electrical pulses that travel up the vagus nerve to the brain to alter brain chemistry. VNS requires device implantation in the chest.

New Dimensions Can Help!

If you or someone you know is experiencing any of the above symptoms or problems, New Dimensions can help. Our team of experienced therapists and psychiatrists can help you overcome these challenges and help you develop the skills you need to thrive. To schedule a complementary assessment or to find out more about our programs, contact us at 1-800-685-9796.

Our affiliate, MHThrive, provides Individual Therapy, Couples and Marriage Counseling, and Family Therapy at our locations in Katy, The Woodlands, and the Clear Lake area of Houston, Texas. We also provide telehealth therapy for anyone who resides within the State of Texas. To schedule an appointment with one of the MHThrive therapists, contact us at 713-477-0333 or visit to learn more.