Psychiatric Treatment Options for Depression

Depression Albany, NY

A person's treatment plan for depression depends on the nature and severity of the condition. Read on to learn more about psychiatric treatments for depression. If you or a loved one lives with this issue, it is important to understand your treatment options and select the one that most effectively combats the particular symptoms.

Common treatment options for depression

Every person is different, as is every case of clinical depression. For this reason, a person may go through several treatment options and meet with several mental health professionals before a doctor or therapist finally prescribes the right course of treatment. Below are a few of the more common ways mental health professionals help patients manage this condition:

1. Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy, or "talk therapy," is a highly effective treatment option for some depressive disorders. There are three main types of psychotherapy: cognitive behavioral therapy, psychodynamic therapy, and interpersonal therapy.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) involves discussing one's issues with a therapist, who then assesses the negative thinking patterns and attempts to change them via discussion. The goal of CBT is to help a person recognize negative thought patterns associated with depression and to impart coping methods.

In psychodynamic therapy, a therapist may examine a person's unconscious processes and attempt to recognize and understand the negative emotions and thought patterns associated with them. These negative feelings often stem from past emotional traumas.

Sometimes depression is the result of relationship issues or life changes that may contribute to depressive disorders. When this is the case, a therapist may recommend interpersonal therapy, which involves teaching individuals to assess interactions with others and equipping them with tools necessary to improve social behaviors.

2. Medication

For some, antidepressants are effective in helping manage or reduce symptoms. However, medications are hit and miss, and a person might go through several drugs before landing on the right one. Moreover, most antidepressants take between two to four weeks to take effect, with some even requiring up to 12 weeks to begin working.

Many people benefit from both psychotherapy and medication. This combination often yields better results than either treatment utilized alone.

3. Brain stimulation therapies

When psychotherapy and medications fail to alleviate symptoms, a therapist might recommend brain stimulation therapies. There are three different types of brain stimulation therapy that mental health professionals may use to treat depression: repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation, electroconvulsive therapy, and vagus nerve stimulation.

Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation, or rTMS, is an innovative procedure that utilizes a magnet to activate the brain. Because it is a relatively new procedure, much research is yet to be done on it, and it is not nearly as effective as some of the more established procedures.

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) involves sending short electrical impulses directly to the brain. While effective, ECT does come with negative side effects for some patients, including memory loss. Health professionals are required to warn individuals about the risks and benefits of this type of intervention.

Vagus nerve stimulation, or VNS, is a treatment option for individuals who are resistant to treatment-resistant depression. During VNS, mild pulses of electrical energy are transmitted to the brain at regular intervals via the vagus nerve, a nerve that controls involuntary bodily functions.

FAQs about depression treatments

Thinking about getting treatment for depression? Here are answers to some of the questions you might have:

1. How does a psychiatrist diagnose and treat depression?

Treatment for depression starts with the patient being evaluated and diagnosed. Health disorders like thyroid disorders cause symptoms that are similar to depression symptoms. The only way to rule out this likelihood is to conduct a physical examination, order lab tests, and interview the patient.

Once a diagnosis has been made, there are various ways to treat depression. Medication and psychotherapy are the most common treatment options for depression and can be combined. In some cases, alternative treatments like deep brain stimulation and transcranial magnetic stimulation might be used to alleviate a patient’s symptoms.

2. Why are women more likely to experience depression?

Psychophysical, hormonal, biological, and life cycles are believed to contribute to women’s increased risk of depression. According to the Mayo Clinic, women are twice as probable to develop depression, and about 20% of women will have at least one episode in their lifetime.

Boys and girls have a similar risk of depression, but the risk goes up for girls around adolescence. The hormonal and biological adjustments that take place during this period are believed to be responsible for the higher risk. Hormones can affect a person’s mood and emotions, increasing their risk of depression.

The bottom line

Depression has the potential to negatively impact a person's life in numerous ways. For this reason, it is imperative that a person receives proper and timely treatment.

Get more information here: or call Evolve Psychiatry at (518) 675-3097

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