Depression: The Most Common Treatments

Common Treatments

Depression is seldom discussed in public, but it is a serious mental health problem according to various health authorities around the globe. The condition is often seen in women, particularly following pregnancy, but is also commonly observed in men as well. It affects men and women across a wide range of ages from young adulthood right through to old age in some cases. If untreated, depression and depressive episodes can last a lifetime.

The depressive state affects the human brain in noticeable ways that can be treated successfully. There is a variety of different medication options available for various types of treatment options. Antidepressants can be used to relieve or remove depression symptoms entirely but in order for the course of treatment to be most effective the patient needs to take the medication on a regular basis in accordance with the correct dosage.

In many cases, the effects of some antidepressants can take as long as six weeks to have a full impact. For this reason, taking a course of antidepressant medication doesn’t cure depression or resolve the depressive feelings overnight by taking a pill.


The first treatment option are known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and are designed to elevate depressive feelings by reducing the serotonin blockers evident in the brain.

There are a number of different types of SSRI medications available including Zoloft (sertaline), Prozac (fluoxetine), and Oleptro (trazodone). The side effects from taking this medication are not to be discounted, yet the side effects are less than with other medicated treatment options.


Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors boost the levels of both norepinephrine and serotonin in the brain.

Effexor XR (venlafaxine) and Pristiq (desvenlafaxine) have a complementary level of success with patients. Cymbalta (duloxetine) functions in a similar manner but offers pain relief benefits as well.


Tricyclic antidepressants are one of the treatments that doctors and therapists reach for when SSRI medications like Zoloft and Prozac fail to have the desired results. There are more serious side effects with the tricyclic medications including fatigue, low blood pressure, seizures, and irregular heart rate.

Norpramin (desipramine), Tofranil (imipramine), and Vivactil (protriptyline) are three of the common TCAs.


There is only one tetracyclic antidepressant medication used for both anxiety and depression. This is called maprotiline.

Dopamine Reuptake Blocker

This treatment has been designed to help smokers who wish to quit, sufferers of seasonal affective disorder, and those with depression. Wellbutrin (bupropion) is a norepinephrine and dopamine reuptake blocker.

5-HT2 and 5-HT3 Receptor Antagonists

There are two 5-HT2 receptor antagonists which can be used to treat depression. These are trazodone and nafazodone.

Brintellix (vortioxetine), a 5-HT3 receptor antagonist, is also used for depression too.

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation is a newer, non-pharmaceutical treatment for depression which involves using an MRI to view the brain. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation is then used in areas affected by depression to help modify how the brain deals with depressive thoughts. Smart Brain and Health can provide more information on this newer approach to treating depression.

Like with all health issues, it is important to discuss your treatment options with your doctor.