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Overcoming Depression: What Works?

Happy and sad facesDepression, like many health conditions, is highly treatable.

And, like many health conditions, what works best will depend on the underlying causes and the severity of the illness.

If you or a loved one are struggling with depression, here’s a brief overview of treatments that can help restore balance and vitality:

Treatment Options for Depression

  1. Psychotherapy. Therapy can help those with depression uncover and address “big picture” themes that may be causing emotional pain. These themes often include relationships, creating and maintaining healthy boundaries, and navigating life’s challenges. Cognitive behavioral therapy, called CBT, is the most well-known therapy for depression, and is effective for mild, moderate, and severe depression. Compared to medication, those who practice CBT are significantly less-likely to relapse after treatment ends. In other words, CBT can create lasting positive shifts.
  2. Prescribed medication. The most common anti-depressants are called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs. Research shows that medication is equally as effective as CBT in treating depression. It’s important to note that there is a high risk for relapse after discontinuing pharmaceutical treatment for depression. For those with chronic or severe depression, combining both CBT and medication will create the most notable improvement.
  3. Lifestyle changes. Research continues to emerge and expand on the role of positive lifestyle changes in overcoming depression. Like with anxiety, the effect of exercise on depression is well-established. Learning relaxation techniques, such as yoga, meditation, muscle release, and creative expression are excellent complements to medical therapy for depression. Emergent research also hints that eating a diet rich in whole-foods may increase health gains as part of depression treatment.

If you’d like to know more about what works to overcome depression, take a moment to read 27 Facts About the Best Ways to Treat Depression from Psychology Today. All grounded in research, some of the insights there might surprise you. And if you or a loved one is suffering from depression, reach out to our patient support specialists at (716) 831-1800. We can help.