How do you treat depression?

There are many depression treatments available, but there is not one treatment that helps everyone with depression. That means you may need to try several treatments before you find a cure that works for you. These are evidence-based treatments for depression:

  • 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. 
  • Antidepressant medication is a well-used treatment recommended for moderate to severe depression. There are several types of antidepressants and the most common form is called Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs). It’s important to be aware of the possible side effects and withdrawal symptoms before taking antidepressants. Read more about antidepressant medication.
  • 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 is usually reduced in depressed people. 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. 
  • Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is a form of brain stimulation that is used in the most severe cases of depression when other treatments have failed. It’s always administered at a healthcare clinic with general anesthesia. Side effects include memory loss. Read more about ECT.
  • Some lifestyle factors have a significant impact on depressive symptoms. Regular exercise is as effective as antidepressants or psychotherapy for treating depression. Other important lifestyle factors are sleep, diet and regular meditation. Read more about 5 treatments for depression without medication.

Related questions