The most common treatment options for depression are antidepressants and psychotherapy, according to Mayo Clinic. Other options include transcranial magnetic stimulation, electroconvulsive therapy, mood stabilizers and antipsychotic medications.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor medications, including fluoxetine, sertraline and paroxetine, are often the first antidepressant category doctors prescribe, states Mayo Clinic. Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors are another option with medications such as desvenlafaxine, levomilnacipran and duloxetine.
Norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitors, such as bupropion, are associated with fewer sexual side effects, and tricyclic antidepressants are normally very effective but carry a higher chance of serious side effects. Doctors may prescribe monoamine oxidase inhibitors if other antidepressants are unsuccessful, but these drugs can have serious side effects and dangerous interactions with certain foods and medications.
Psychotherapy involves discussing depression and its effects with a mental health professional through techniques such as cognitive behavioral therapy or interpersonal therapy, according to Mayo Clinic. Psychotherapy can help patients develop positive relationships, set realistic goals, identify negative behaviors and take control of their lives.
For severe depression, doctors may prescribe electroconvulsive therapy, which involves passing electrical currents through the brain while the patient is under anesthesia, usually providing immediate relief, Mayo Clinic describes. Transcranial magnetic stimulation of the nerves uses coils on the patient's head to generate magnetic pulses.