How to Treat Depression


Depression can be a very debilitating condition that can affect your mood and your ability to function on a day-to-day basis. But the good news is that most people with depression respond well to treatment.

Getting Help

The first step is admitting to yourself and your loved ones that you may be depressed. Even if you don’t want to, talking about it openly can help you feel less isolated.

Your doctor can diagnose depression and prescribe medications or therapy. They will also talk with you about lifestyle changes that could help, such as exercise, healthy eating, and stress reduction techniques.

Cognitive therapy is a type of counseling that helps you change the way you think about yourself and the world around you. Therapists can teach you how to reframe negative thoughts and replace them with more positive ones.


Antidepressant medication can be effective for most people with depression, and they can be taken alone or in combination with psychotherapy. You will need to try several types of antidepressants before you find one that works best for you.

Some of these medicines are available over the counter, but others must be prescribed by your health care provider. Ask your health professional about this and about the risks of taking these drugs without a prescription.

Other treatments are available in some hospitals, including transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and vagus nerve stimulation (VNS). This involves sending a coil through the brain to stimulate nerve cells that regulate your mood.

Natural Therapies

Some people use natural products such as vitamins, minerals, and herbal dietary supplements to treat depression. These supplements are not FDA-approved, however, so you should not take them without consulting with your health care provider.


Your doctor can prescribe antidepressant medications that work quickly and may be used as part of a treatment program. They can be used alone or in combination with psychotherapy, which can include talking to a therapist and other people to help you cope with your symptoms and improve your life.

Changing Your View of the World

Depression can make you feel like everything is dismal and hopeless. But it’s important to see that the world is full of many good things, too.

Having an awareness of the good in your life can be very helpful in dealing with depression, especially when it feels difficult to notice these things yourself. By learning to find at least 3 good things in every day, you can shift your thinking and feel more positive about yourself and the world around you.

Eating Right

If you have depression, it can be hard to eat enough or even to taste food. Adding lots of fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains to your diet can help you feel more energetic and better. Avoiding foods with added sugar can be especially helpful.

Support Groups

Attending a support group can be an excellent way to cope with depression. You can meet other people who are experiencing the same feelings and share your own experiences.