The 10 Stages of Treatment for Depression

Inspiring 17

One in every 10 adults have reported being depressed, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While depression can manifest itself in a number of different ways, everyone experiences depression a little differently.

The good news is that depression is treatable. The bad news is that tackling it may take time. Here are the 10 stages of treatment for depression:

1) Make an appointment with a doctor you're comfortable with - if it's your OB, your general practitioner, or a therapist, just make that call. While at your doctor's office, see if you can get a referral to a licensed therapist. Talk therapy and an antidepressant are usually all that's needed to treat depression successfully.

2) Begin an exercise routine. Exercise is one of the best anti-depressants out there - it releases endorphins and helps get you in great physical shape.

3) See if your mood changes. If you're lucky, you'll be among the 50 percent of Americans who respond favorably to the first antidepressant they try. Keep in mind that most antidepressants take up to six weeks to reach their potential within the body, so try to be patient.

4) Call the doctor again. If your medication isn't working the way you'd like it to, consult your trusted doctor to see if he or she can increase the dosage.

5) Switch antidepressants. If you've upped the dose of your current antidepressant and it still isn't doing the trick, or you decided that the side effects are too unpleasant to manage, see if you can switch to another type of antidepressant. The good news here is that there are a number of different antidepressants available, including several new ones.

6) Talk therapy. Speak to your therapist regularly about your depression. Sometimes, the easiest way out of that dark hole is having someone to guide you. Therapy can be scary at first, but once you've started it, it can be the best hour of your week.

7) Increase therapy frequency. If an hour a week isn't cutting it for you, or you're beginning to experience worsening depression, see if you can increase the amount of time each week you see your therapist.

8) Tell someone who loves you how you feel. Let a trusted family member or friend know that you've been struggling. Sometimes, depression forces us to become insular and cut off contact with our loved ones. Talking to others can help tremendously, especially if they've experienced depression as well.

9) Find group therapy. Ask your therapist (or use the Internet) to locate group therapy in your area. It's at those types of sessions that you can see how others cope with depression and manage the symptoms -- and it has the bonus of making you feel as though you are not alone in your struggles.

10) Add it up! With the help of your doctor, try to add another antidepressant or anti-anxiety agent to the mix - occasionally, people (like me) need two types of antidepressants to alleviate their depression.

Any other ways you've managed to treat depression?

Image via apdk/Flickr


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Geeky... GeekyMumof2boys

I have Major Depression so I have to take medication. I think I started on antidepressants at about 8 years old (they were also for OCD). but there are other things that help as well!

There have been times where I've bought myself a bouquet of flowers - they brightened up the place & me too! Also, make sure you don't forget to eat. If you're hungry you'll feel way worse. I also have a few trusted people who tell me if I'm getting into a deep depression again, because sometimes I don't realize it until it gets really bad. Also, for crying jags where I can't stop crying & start to get thoughts of harming myself I have a little box I put together of things that make me feel hopeful & happy. Rose petals, a movie ticket from an awesome night I had, pictures of my kids, positive poems or quotes... Meaningful things to help me see the light at the end of the tunnel. Another thing is to take Vitamin D!

Geeky... GeekyMumof2boys

Oh and be careful with what kind of music you listen too! I recently Started listening to a CD called White Moth by Xavier Rudd and its so soothing and comforting. And positive! Wish I had this years ago. There's a song called "come back" and one called "choices" that are my two favorites.

Stick to positive reading as well. I'm actually doing a work book right now called Living Through The Meantime by Iyanla Vanzant. And I read The Book Of Awesome before bed.

It all helps! Antidepressants & counselling alone aren't enough. You need to bring as much positivity into your life as possible... Even if it makes you gag at first lol.

Debby... DebbyPook

Another step for Major Depression is to receive ECT (Electric Convulsive Therapy).  Sometimes this is a last step for those of us who suffer from depression that cannot be relieved by antidepressants and/or therapy alone. 

nonmember avatar Guest

Step one is taking antidepressants? Really? These are serious drugs, with potential for serious side-effects, and once you start you can't just stop. No, unless a person is a danger to themselves or others, step one is to talk to someone you love and trust. Step two is to address any underlying causes, where possible (unhealthy relationships, job stressors, life circumstances, etc.). Step three is diet and exercise. Step four is seeking a qualified therapist with whom you connect, or a reputable and comprehensive self-help program. Step five, talk with a psychiatric care provider about medication options. Seriously, medications can literally be a lifesaver, but so many people take them like vitamins as a first response to situational depression, rather than actually dealing with the underlying causes to correct the actual problem. That's like whacking yourself over the head non-stop with a mallet, over and over, all the while popping narcotics to treat the ensuing headache. Sheesh.

MeowLove MeowLove

i have dysthymic disoder, minor depression. i find talk therapy and changing outlooks help. anti depressants dont help much. they might help with the symptoms but not the cause.


I would NEVER take meds as a firs step. Maybe the last. I find talking with a true loved one and exercising are my best bets.

nonmember avatar Jae

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, LITERALLY saved me from major depression; my LIFE, and helped me to move on from the trauma brought on by my college rapes.

No antidepressant has come close to this. Happy to say I no longer need them :)

Excercise, diet, and group therapy is also great. No one ever says, "Oh I soooo regret that workout!" :)

Rhond... RhondaVeggie

Medication is far from being the first step. Most people don't need medication at all. Suggesting that people take dangerous medications with serious side effects as a first step when they're feeling down is ridiculous. There are loads of options like exercise, fresh air, talking, or just waiting it out.

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