How to Treat Severe Depression

How to Treat Severe Depression

Severe depression can be overwhelming, and can leave a person feeling hopeless and sometimes suicidal. However, like many other medical conditions, the disorder can be treated and managed, and patients can heal and live happy, fulfilling lives. There are several steps you can take to manage your depression symptoms.


1. Seek therapy. There are many types of therapies and types of mental health providers available to treat depression. Mental health professionals may administer psychotherapy, or "talk" therapy along with alternative treatments like group therapy, art and play therapies, recreational therapy and more. To learn more about the many types of "talk" therapies, visit the National Institute of Mental Health's website.

2. Learn about depression. Just as with any medical condition, it is helpful to understand the disease. The Mayo Clinic describes depression as an illness that "involves the mind and body." It effects thinking and physical behaviors and can cause sadness, hopelessness and suicidal thoughts. Depression is not a disease that people can cure on their own.

3. Exercise. Mayo Clinic also lauds the benefit of exercise in alleviating symptoms of depression. Exercise can alter brain activity and emotions, and can help with physical symptoms. Nearly all types of exercise can benefit depression patients.

4. Improve support systems. It helps to alleviate isolation and build up a group of people who are understanding and supportive, in addition to seeking out professional therapies. If your support system is lacking, you can look for formal support groups in your area, or find less-formal groups like church or book clubs or community sports teams. Find people who are non-judgmental and good listeners.

5. Consider medication. Many doctors and therapists recommend combining medication with other therapies. There are a variety of medications that are prescribed for depression, mainly including psychotherapies. Doctors may combine different types of medications or combine them with supplemental vitamins.