Depression is a serious illness which has a debilitating effect on those that suffer from the condition. The good news is however, with the right treatment and support, the majority of people with depression can make a full recovery.

Treatment for depression and its various sub-types generally involves self-help, talking therapies, and on some occasions – medication. Each individual will have their own specific needs.

Many people find that talking therapy is an excellent choice of treatment

What is Depression?

Depression is a serious illness which can have a profound impact on the day-to-day life of someone who suffers from the illness. While the majority of people go through periods of feeling down or unhappy, those who are depressed feel persistently sad or have a low mood for weeks, or perhaps even months. Depression can make life appear pointless, and often leads to suicidal ideation. Depression is a common mental illness, and is usually classed as either mild, moderate or severe. Clinical Depression is the most common form, though there are a range of types, including Postpartum depression and Seasonal Affective depression. The good news is that unlike many mental health conditions, with the right treatment, support and lifestyle, many people with depression will gain full remission.

Depression treatment

The exact treatment plan depends on the severity of the depression. Generally, depression is considered to be either mild, moderate or severe. Treatment is tailored to the symptoms of each level of severity.

Mild Depression

Individuals who suffer from mild depression will normally find that the condition doesn’t have a marked effect on their life. However, it is still important to seek treatment.

Watchful waiting is a commonly used approach. This is where the doctor suggests that the individual waits a short period of time and see if the depressive feelings clear up on their own. In some cases, depression can be short-term. The individual will typically return in two weeks following an initial appointment, where their state will be analysed.

Exercise is also an important part of treating any type of depression. There is evidence to suggest that regular exercise is good for the brain – and this can therefore help with depression.

Self-help is also recommended for mild depression. Joining a self-help group for depression can be therapeutic as it gives the individual an opportunity to talk through their thoughts and feelings with like-minded individuals. Also consider looking at the resources on our website!

Moderate Depression

Moderate depression is a more serious form of depression – with the condition normally having a negative effect on the individual’s life. This may mean they are finding their symptoms stops them from living life how they want to. This area is also relevant for mild depression that doesn’t improve.

  • Talking Therapy: Often, a form of talking therapy is used. These may include:

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT): CBT is a type of therapy that is used to treat a range of mental health conditions. CBT involves an individual talking face-to-face with a therapist, although sometimes CBT can be conducted in a group setting. CBT attempts to improve an individual’s wellbeing and mood. The therapy focuses on the link between thoughts, feelings and actions. This can be useful for those with low self-esteem, anxiety, unhelpful personality traits or intrusive thoughts. CBT can help an individual understand their feelings more, and in the long run should lead to an improvement in quality of life.

Psychoanalytical Psychotherapy: Psychoanalytical Psychotherapy is a talking therapy that aims to help uncover and resolve unconscious beliefs that cause psychiatric conditions. Traumatic experiences that may or may not be buried in the unconscious mind can be highlighted and processed. Psychoanalytical psychotherapy involves talking to a trained therapist. The therapist can show the individual how early memories and past traumas have affected their thinking, behaviour and attitude in the modern day. Psychoanalytical psychotherapy is especially useful for any condition that involves past trauma. Renowned neurologist Sigmund Freud developed this therapy, which is typically completed over a long-term basis.

There are a range of other types of talking therapy, aside from the above.

  • Medication: Sometimes, medication will be prescribed:

Antidepressants: Antidepressants can help to improve and regulate mood. They should improve motivation and restore energy. SSRI Antidepressants are the most commonly prescribed. They act on the brain chemical serotonin – which is thought to help in regulating mood and emotion. They may include side-effects such as a dry mouth, sexual problems and nausea, though these should hopefully be short-term. Other classes of antidepressants are available in the event of an inadequate reaction.

Severe Depression

Individuals with severe depression will struggle to get through each day due to their symptoms. Self-harm and suicidal ideation is common with severe depression.

Medication: As above, medication, typically at moderate to high doses, will commonly be prescribed. Again, antidepressants are used, and augmentation strategies (taking more than one medicine at once) are initiated where necessary.

Talking Therapy: Talking therapy is again used, but this time in more of an intensive format.

Community Mental Health Team: CMHT’s work in the community with people who have severe mental health difficulties. Psychiatrists, specialist therapists and other mental health professionals are typically in this team. CMHT’s work closely with the patient.

Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT): Electroconvulsive Therapy (commonly referred to as shock treatment) is a treatment that sees an electric current sent through the brain of an individual. The aim is to trigger an epileptic seizure, with the ultimate objective to relieve symptoms of a mental health problem. The human body is fully restrained during the procedure, which also involves a general anaesthetic. Electroconvulsive therapy is normally a last resort. Despite this, ECT actually has an impressive efficacy rate, with many people finding it helps immeasurably.

There are also some alternative and complimentary treatments that offer a different approach to the above types of treatment.


Depression is a very difficult condition to deal with, but there is no shortage of potential treatment options.

Hopefully, each individual will find a combination of treatment options that work for them, which can lead to their recovery.

See Also


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If you are struggling with your mental health, help is available. With the right support and treatment, you can make a recovery. For information on helplines, or if you are in a state of crisis, please visit our crisis page by clicking on the relevant link for your geographical location (United Kingdom), (United States), (International). You can also see how to get mental health treatment and the process involved by clicking this link.