Psychotherapy is helpful in treating depression. If you are depressed, it is crucial that you have someone to listen to your feelings, provide support, and help you understand what is troubling you. Although friends, lovers, and family may serve some of these functions, it is best to have a well-trained, more objective mental health professional provide you with help. Supportive talk therapy need not be lengthy. Group therapy has also proven to be helpful for some people.

Medication with antidepressants is the quickest way to relieve major depression and is definitely indicated for severe depression that is associated with suicidal thoughts and/or major disruption of functioning. Appropriate medication can relieve symptoms and allows you to go on with your life. In general, two thirds of patients with a major depressive disorder will respond positively to the use of medication within two weeks to two months. Most of the rest will get better when they try another antidepressant. Major depression is one of the most treatable of medical conditions.

Medication also works for dysthymia. Although the improvement may look less dramatic than in major depression, it can lead to a meaningful improvement in your life.

The best treatment for both major depression and dysthymia is a combination of medication and talk therapy. Numerous studies show that both psychotherapy and medication are very effective in treating depression. A recent study (and a great deal of clinical experience) indicates that probably a combination of the two is most effective in treating depression.

Last Reviewed: June 14, 2010