What Is the Most Effective Treatment for Depression?

Treatment for depression has come a long way in recent years. Millions suffer from depression, affecting their quality of life, relationships, career, and more.

If you’re seeking depression treatment, the most effective option will depend on the type and severity of your symptoms. The best approach will likely combine medication with psychotherapy, including modalities like cognitive behavioral therapy or eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR).

Let’s look at some of the most effective treatment options for depression.

Common Forms of Depression

There are numerous types of depression, so there’s no “one-size-fits-all” approach to depression treatment. There are various causes of depression, including:

  • chemical changes in the brain
  • significant events in your life
  • hormonal changes
  • genetic factors
  • and more.

The symptoms of depression may appear differently from person to person. 

Here are the most common forms of depression:[1]

  • Major depressive disorder
  • Persistent depressive disorder
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Seasonal affective disorder
  • Perinatal depression
  • Situational depression
  • Atypical depression
  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder

Methods of Treatment for Depression

Depression Medications

Antidepressants and other medications can be effective for treating mild-to-severe depression. However, these must be prescribed by a medical professional, and it’s important to work with your doctor to find the right option for your needs.

Here are the common medications used to treat depression:[2]

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs): These are generally safe and have few side effects.
  • Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs): These are also effective for treating depression and other conditions like anxiety.
  • Atypical antidepressants: These medications aren’t in a clear category, but have been used to treat depression effectively. They include medications like bupropion and mirtazapine.
  • Tricyclic antidepressants: These medications are effective, but may cause severe side effects. These may not be prescribed unless safer medications have failed to show improvement in symptoms.
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs): These drugs may be prescribed for depression, but they have serious contraindications and require a strict diet.
  • Other medications: In some cases, another medication may be included with an antidepressant to improve its efficacy, such as a mood stabilizer or anti-anxiety medication.


Psychotherapy is a blanket term for treating depression or other mental health conditions by talking with a mental health professional. This may also be called psychological therapy or talk therapy.

Different types of psychotherapy can be effective for depression, such as interpersonal therapy or cognitive-behavioral therapy. The benefits of psychotherapy include:[3]

  • Identifying negative beliefs and behaviors and replacing them with healthy ones
  • Exploring past relationships and experiences
  • Confronting and coping with a crisis or stressor
  • Developing more effective ways to solve problems and cope with challenges
  • Identifying triggers that contribute to depression
  • Changing behaviors that can worsen symptoms
  • Easing depression symptoms
  • Learning to set and stick to realistic, achievable goals

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a type of psychotherapy that seeks to modify thought patterns and change moods and behaviors.[4] It’s a blend of cognitive therapy and behavioral therapy, which focus on your moods, thoughts, actions, and behaviors.

This treatment involves developing healthier and more constructive ways to respond to stressors and learn to cope with or recover from challenging mental health conditions.

Some of these techniques include:

  • Learning to manage and modify distorted thoughts and reactions
  • Learning to assess situations and reactions comprehensively
  • Practicing accurate and balanced self-talk
  • Using self-evaluation to reflect and respond appropriately

EMDR as Treatment for Depression

EMDR is a treatment that utilizes eye movements in conjunction with a therapist’s guidance to process traumatic memories. Once you’re experiencing a memory, you’ll track an object with your eyes while processing the emotions the memory evokes.

Similar to what happens during REM sleep, tracking the movement allows the brain to reprocess the traumatic memory, making it less distressing with repeated exposure.

For depression, EMDR begins with an in-depth history of the issue and its effects. The EMDR professional uses that history to tailor the treatment to the individual’s needs. Often, EMDR involves strong emotional reactions, and a therapist can begin to teach coping methods to handle them.[5]

Depression can be complex to treat and may have different sources, such as a past traumatic or defining event. If this is the case, EMDR can help process and cope with the memories, thoughts, and emotions related to the event.

Find Treatment for Depression at Healing Foundations Center

Depression is a widespread mental health condition that has various causes, including genetics and life experiences, so no one treatment is effective in all cases. At Healing Foundations Center, we take a tailored approach to treating depression and other mental health conditions. Contact us today to learn more about our treatment options.


[1] https://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/depression-types
[2] https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20356013
[3] https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20356013
[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7001356/
[5] https://iris.unito.it/retrieve/handle/2318/1651432/368358/Carletto