Conventional Treatments for Depression

Conventional treatments for depression typically include pharmacological drugs / medicines / medications, psychotherapy, and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).

Depending upon the severity of depression, physiological condition, and age of the patient, conventional depression treatment modalities could change from person to person. Sometimes, a combination of therapy and drugs are administered as a way of treating depression.

An expert psychiatrist and / or psychologist will be able to assess the severity of a person’s depression and, based on his or her assessment, an appropriate treatment plan will be mapped out; such a plan could include antidepressant drugs, psychotherapy, or both.

The general treatment plan for people suffering from depression includes the above conventional methods and, in addition to this, various other alternative forms of treatment, such as acupuncture, naturopathy, light therapy, yoga and meditation, etc, could be introduced to help relax the body and mind in an attempt to decrease depressive thoughts. These natural therapies can also be used in place of conventional treatment, and they are discussed in more detail in other parts of this website.

Details of the three conventional forms of treatments for depression are as described:

Pharmacological Treatment Modality

Pharmacological drug therapy is the most commonly used conventional treatments for depression for people suffering from the condition. Antidepressants help bring about balance in the neurotransmitter levels that are generally imbalanced in people suffering from depression; the three important neurotransmitters that are generally found to be imbalanced include dopamine, serotonin, and norephinephrine. Antidepressants help restore the balance of these neurotransmitters, and people suffering from depression then experience relief from depressive symptoms.

There are several different forms of antidepressants, for example tricyclic antidepressants (TCA), monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI), selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI), serotonin antagonists, reboxetine, mirtazapine, bupropion, and venlafaxine. In addition to these, there are other drugs like lithium which are not antidepressants but are used in conventional treatment on persons suffering from manic depression and other forms of depression.

Read more articles on depression drugs


Psychotherapy is another of the famous and commonly employed conventional treatments for depression. Psychotherapy involves psychiatrists and psychologists assessing the nature, type or form, and severity of depression in affected persons by administering various inventories, scales, and written tests.

Based on the answers to questions, these practitioners will diagnose the type of depression and, through repeated counseling sessions, afflicted and depressed persons are taught to overcome their fears, challenges, traumatic experiences, etc, and slowly learn to accept the condition, fight it, and finally overcome it.

Different forms of psychotherapy include cognitive therapy, behavioral therapy, family therapy, group therapy, and interpersonal therapy. Generally, psychiatrists and psychologists work together and a combination of antidepressants and therapy is used to treat persons suffering from depression.

Electroconvulsive Therapy

Besides the abovementioned two common conventional treatments for depression, there is also electroconvulsive therapy, or ECT, that is used in treating people suffering from depression. In ECT, persons suffering from depression are given electric shocks of around 80 volts, which is transmitted via electrodes placed on either side of the head.

ECT is administered under anesthesia and hence the person will not experience any pain or shock when it is being carried out. Though ECT has a negative reputation, it is still considered as one of the safe and effective conventional depression treatment forms. A person who cannot tolerate antidepressants often opts for ECT, but it is generally the last conventional option considered for treating people suffering from depression.

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    Natural, Herbal and Homeopathic Remedies for Depression

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    Useful Depression Resources

  • The "Joy Equation"
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    Learn from:
  • Former 30-year depression sufferer's natural healing
  • Ex-chronic anxiety and depression sufferer's easy-to-follow program
  • Ex-panic attack sufferer's drug-free recovery
  • Ex-OCD sufferer

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