• Depression - even in the most severe cases - is a highly treatable condition. The most common treatments used are psychotherapy and medication. Whatever course you and your doctor choose, early treatment is essential. When you treat depression early and effectively, you are less likely to experience recurrence of symptoms.

  • A diagnosis of depression can be upsetting. You may worry about the medications and therapy involved in treatment. Or you may be anxious about how your friends, co-workers, and family will view your diagnosis. If you feel hesitant to start treatment, consider the major impacts that depression can have on your life.

  • What are antidepressants? When a person has depression, a possible cause is because the chemicals in their brain are out of balance. Antidepressants are medications that help to restore the balance, allowing the nerves of the brain to more effectively communicate. By targeting certain brain chemicals (serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine), antidepressants help to regulate mood and to reduce the symptoms that keep you from enjoying your life and getting through day-to-day tasks.

  • Your depression is unique, and your doctor will choose a unique course of treatment to suit your needs. When deciding which antidepressant to prescribe, your doctor will take into consideration your depression symptoms, your overall health, and any other medications you may take: Your symptoms: Your doctor will tailor your treatment to fit your specific emotional, behavioural/cognitive, and physical symptoms.

  • All medications can cause side effects. The good news is that the side effects of antidepressants are often mild and temporary, and not everyone will experience them. Most side effects will not be long-term and will go away once your body gets used to the medication. Side effects can be effectively managed.

  • Antidepressants are effective at improving the symptoms of depression. The goal of your treatment should be to resolve all of your symptoms of depression, not just some. If you have taken your medication as directed for 2 to 4 weeks and are not feeling any better, talk to your doctor. There are many different types of antidepressants.

  • What is psychotherapy? Psychotherapy is a type of counselling conducted by a qualified therapist. In psychotherapy, you get an opportunity to open up and discuss topics that concern you and that may be contributing to your depression symptoms. Does psychotherapy really work? Canadian depression experts feel that psychotherapy is an effective treatment option for people with depression.

  • You may find the most symptom relief when you combine a few treatments and therapies, as advised by your doctor. Your approach may integrate complementary therapies - like yoga or acupuncture - with your antidepressant medication and sessions of psychotherapy. Before trying complementary and alternative treatments for depression, consult your doctor.

Additional Resources