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What are the alternatives to antidepressants?

Antidepressant medication is the most common form of depression treatment, but you don’t need pills to recover from depression. The following list includes evidence-based, medication-free treatments:

  • Psychotherapy with a psychologist will not only get you out of depression, but also give you tools for how to manage life in new ways and break old patterns of behaviour. There are many types of psychotherapy, for example Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Short-term Psychodynamic Therapy (STPP) and Interpersonal Therapy (IPT). Psychotherapy is recommended for mild to moderate depression. If you’re interested in psychotherapy, reach out to one of our partner clinics.

  • Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) is a form of gentle brain stimulation that you can use at home. It restores the brain activity in an area in the frontal lobe, the DLPFC, which plays an important role in depression treatment. Currently, there is a growing interest in tDCS due to its mild side effect profile. It’s recommended for mild to moderate depression, but can be used in all cases of depression. Read more about tDCS.  
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) in another form of brain stimulation that uses a magnetic coil to activate the brain cells in the frontal lobe. TMS is always administered at a healthcare clinic and has proven to be effective against treatment-resistant depression. Read more about TMS. 
  • Changing your diet can help you recover from depression. The traditional Mediterranean diet has well-documented antidepressant effects. It includes lots of green leaves and vegetables, fat fish, whole grain and fruit. Read more in An easily digested guide to diet and depression.

Related questions

Do antidepressants work?

The most common form of antidepressant medication, Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), works for about 50-60% of people. This means that around 50-60%

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