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Treatment Options for Depression

According to the CDC, over 20 million people have been diagnosed with depression in the United States and one out of four people has experienced a form of depression at some point in their lives. People experiencing depression often feel as if they are alone, because depression affects the connection with their family, friends and loved ones. These feelings are often described as a void or an intense state of loneliness. Some affected by depression describe a deep emotional pain, while others feel a numbness void of any feelings. Depression affects each individual person in a unique fashion. There are varying types of depression and common symptoms that you can explore on our site. Fortunately, relief from depression can acheived with proper treatment. With education, counseling and the realization that you are not alone, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. We are here to encourage you to reach out and take action towards wellness and healing.

There are a number of psychotherapy treatment options for depression; depression is a complex illness, meaning not every person requires or will be receptive to the same treatment method. Some people require standard psychotherapy sessions, while others may need inpatient care and more intensive treatment. There are also treatment options that offer more regular structure and assistance than individual therapy sessions but do not require full-time residency. Whatever option you ultimately choose, thoroughly research and vet all the options available. Have faith that the right option for you is out there. It's just a matter of finding it.


A psychologist focuses on the mental state of the patient and cannot prescribe medication or medical therapy. Some depression may require medical treatment. However, patients can still benefit greatly for therapy a psychologist provides. Many patients choose to start with therapy with a Psychologist as it's not as invasive and intimidating as more intensive options. Psychologists can serve as a guiding force in helping the patient focus on the issues at hand. Psychologists can provide the tools necessary to combat depression on a daily basis. The price of seeing a psychologist depends on variables such as number and length of visits, qualifications of the psychologist, and the nature of the treatment.


A psychiatrist can prescribe and dispense medicine (likely anti-depressants) and can conduct medical procedures in addition to performing psychotherapy. The biggest complaint people have against psychiatrists is that they rely too heavily on medication to treat depression. This may true in some cases, but it's certainly not true in all cases. Patients who require both medication and psychotherapy can benefit from being treated by a psychiatrist. Pyschiatrist costs depend on the length and frequency of the sessions, the type of therapy, qualifications and demand for the psychiatrist.

Holistic Centers

Some residential and day centers focus less on medical treatment and more on using food and exercise to fight depression. Holistic centers focus on alternative treatment processes like yoga, meditation, and acupuncture in an attempt to heal the body and mind without medicine. Exercise is emphasized as many holistic centers tout that a strong body can lead to a strong mind. These centers can provide a positive and healthy environment for patients, but one should thoroughly research any such place before attending. These centers are not for everyone and can be a bit controversial. Do your research and make sure you are fully aware of the programs and treatment methodoligies offered at a particular holistic centers before making a commitment.

Residential Treatment Centers

Many experts agree that one of the most effective treatment options is a residential treatment facility. Patients live in the facility and receive constant treatment for their depression without experiencing the institutional aspect of a mental hospital. Residential facilities usually offer psychotherapy, art classes, music classes, yoga, and other activities that can calm and inspire patients. These centers are often in relatively remote areas that remove patients from their busy, complicated lives. This can promote healing in an often luxurious and comfortable settings. Residential treatment centers are often more expensive than other methods of treatment, but the round-the-clock attention and atmosphere can have profound effects on patients. Costs can range anywhere from $10,000-$100,000 and the length of stay usually ranges from 4-8 weeks.

Day Treatment Centers

Day treatment centers offer some of the same services as residential treatment centers without the full-time enrollment. These may lack the thorough intensity of a residential treatment centers, but can be helpful for those who don't need full-time treatment. Some residential treatment centers also offer day treatment options. The cost of a day treatment center depends on the number of classes and sessions a patient takes; day treatment centers will likely cost more than psychologist or psychiatrist visits but less than a mental hospital or residential center.


Patients with severe depression and related conditions may check into or be checked into a mental hospital. Suicidal patients may also need to be hospitalized, as may those who are receiving electroconvulsive therapy. Mental hospitals can be helpful, but the corporate, institutional nature of these facilities can compromise their effectiveness. Those patients who do not require hospitalization, but need to be checked into an institution may be more comfortable in a residential treatment center. It all depends on the severity of the illness and often "suicidal patients" are recommended to hospitals. Cost is also a major consideration, as staying in any hospital or treatment center long-term will likely cost a good deal of money.

Importance of Seeking Treatment

People suffering from depression who do not seek professional help for their mental illness risk harming their loved ones and themselves. Untreated depression can have dire consequences such as ruined relationships, poor decision-making, and even suicide. We encourage those who feel they are experiencing depression to reach out to someone. There are free state and national resources that can help. If you know you have depression, it's imperative that you reach out to a free resource. Ideally, consult a medical professional who will be able to provide advice as to which depression treatments options are right for them.

Traumatic Events Causing Depression

Seratonin and Depression

The brain creates many chemicals, but the neurotransmitter with the greatest role in depression is serotonin. When the levels of serotonin become low, the person may experience depression, anxiety, anger, irritability and a wide array of mood swings. Antidepressant medications may restore serotonin and relieve the effects of depression. Neurotransmitters may be affected by heredity, medications or experiences of traumatic events.

PTSD and Childhood Trauma

Studies overwhelmingly show how childhood abuse and neglect cause depression in adults. Post traumatic stress disorder or PTSD, induces an inner turmoil of stress in the body that never allows the person to feel safe. This stress decreases the "feel good" chemicals in the brain as they remain in a state of constant vigilance of an unforeseen danger. Some people have described it as an exasperating feeling that won't let them rest. Due to a traumatic experience, stress hormones are released on a persistent basis that create sleep disturbances and make it difficult for the person to concentrate or focus. People with PTSD may use more energy to get through a typical day and experience emotional and physical exhaustion.

The Sudden loss of a Loved One

A person who experiences the death or harm of a loved one may experience severe depression. The affected person enters a state of shock from the traumatic event and may develop signs and symptoms of PTSD. In addition to the pain of losing a mother, spouse or other family member, life can become extremely difficult without the love and support of the person no longer there to comfort them, share the responsibilities of raising children, or providing financial assistance to the family. As grief is a natural process that expresses loss, a deep depression may ensue and last for many months, or even years.

The Effects of Traffic Accidents on the Emotions

It is natural to experience fear in the face of danger, but for some people a traffic accident can become a serious problem that leads to depression. In some instances, the brain responds to the potentially dangerous event as a constant reminder that they may be placed in danger in the future. People often develop fear and panic attacks in any situation that places them in the familiarity of the incident. They may refuse to fly in an airplane or ride the bus. Any form of transportation becomes a dangerous place and they may experience intense anxiety in the family car.

PTSD and Natural Disasters

People involved in earthquakes and hurricanes can develop PTSD that may be followed by severe depression. After they have survived a natural disaster, either due to loss of property or the experience of their lives being in danger, they may respond with panic attacks and feelings of impending doom for long periods of time. People, who experience a high impact disaster, may feel the loss of community, suffer the effects of low self esteem and feel as if they have little control over their lives and safety. After a natural disaster, people may feel less positive about their community support and feel more vulnerable to random traumatic events.

The Signs and Symptoms of PTSD

The responses of different people experiencing PTSD will vary, but most often the person will exhibit one of three forms:

  • Reliving the trauma: The person may experience flashbacks or vivid dreams about the traumatic event. Often the response includes panic attacks and deep depression.
  • Hyper-vigilance and startle reflex: Individuals are in a constant state of fear and hyper-awareness. They may frighten easily and have chronic insomnia and a disturbance in focus and concentration. Mood swings may accompany outbursts of anger and they have difficulty coping with work and family situations.
  • Avoidance of any reminder of the trauma: Affected people stay away from any reminder of the incident. They may refuse to leave their home or avoid crowds or any feelings that remind them of the trauma and become isolated, detached and alone.

Trauma and Depression

As the body experiences a heightened state of constant fear, the brain is depleted of natural hormones that proved a sense of well being. Depression may follow the effects of traumatic events and cause the relentless feeling of danger. If depression is interfering with your work, life or family, it is paramount that you seek treatment and restore your mental health.