The treatment approach to depression usually involves prescribing a combination of medication and counselling, behavioural therapy or support group therapy. A general outline for treating different degrees of depressive illness is given below:
Cognitive behavioural therapy works by changing the way a person thinks in order to adjust their behaviour. Unlike with other forms of talking therapy, the patient's past is not the focus of cognitive behavioural therapy but rather their attitudes and behaviour that manifest on a day-to-day basis. Daily obstacles that arise are analyzed one by one and the behavioural response to them broken down and tackled individually.
Usually, six to eight sessions over a ten to twelve week period are needed. One-to-one sessions are preferred but sometimes group therapy may be arranged.
Another form of talking therapy that may be used to treat depression is interpersonal therapy, which focuses on relationship problems. Counselling is also commonly prescribed and helps a person cope with life changing events in a more positive manner.
Antidepressants prescribed to treat moderate-to-severe depression can cause side effects but are generally safe and may be used for years in some cases without causing dependency. The effect of an antidepressant is evaluated every six to eight weeks. Some examples of antidepressants are:
Severe non-retractable depression may sometimes be treated with electroconvulsive therapy which involves an electric shock being applied using electrodes placed over the head. The procedure is usually performed under general anaesthesia twice a week for 3 to 6 weeks..