Depression can be treated in an inpatient or an outpatient setting. Inpatient treatment is usually reserved for severe cases, especially those where suicide is a concern and where it is critical that the patient is stabilised and monitored.
Some clinicians prefer to treat patients initially in an inpatient setting in order to monitor the impact of prescribed medications including to identify any major side-effects so that medication can be adjusted accordingly.
Depression treatment should be led by a psychiatrist and a psychologist although many other health professionals may be involved in the treatment team including a general practitioner, a social worker and an occupational therapist. Medication is an important part of the treatment approach to depression, but not everyone needs prescription drugs. Your mental health professional will be able to decide whether you need medication in conjunction with other therapies.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, a type of antidepressant, are usually the first-line drug option when treating depression. A number of other medications from different drug classes may also be used, depending on the prescriber as well as the symptoms present in a particular patient.
However, some patients don’t respond to traditional medications used for depression.
Almost a third of people treated for depression will not experience a remission of symptoms even after two or more trials of first-line antidepressant drugs.
Treatment Resistant Depression
Treatment resistant depression is a term that refers to the situation where available medications aren’t sufficiently helpful for the particular individual. Newer therapies for this class of patients include ketamine-based therapy.
When treating depression, therapy is usually recommended – with or without medication.
Types Of Therapy That Have Been Shown To Work For Patients With Depression Include:
Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
This approach aims to address the negative thought patterns and the negative behaviours prevalent in the individual diagnosed with depression. It often identifies and then confronts the common cognitive distortions which make up a part of a person’s thinking pattern. Examples of cognitive distortions include overgeneralising and all-or-nothing thinking.
Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT)
DBT is a skills-based therapy that is particularly helpful for those people who struggle with overwhelming emotions. It aims to help patients reach a level of acceptance with regards to their illness, and then teach them ways to cope with triggering situations as well as give them tools to help them regulate their overwhelming emotions on their own.
This type of talk-based therapy is geared at addressing internal, and often unconscious, conflicts that likely originated from an individual’s childhood and past experiences. It helps patients become aware of their troubling or uncomfortable emotions and facilitates a deeper understanding of their thoughts and emotions, essentially how they feel and think.
This type of therapy aims to help patients examine their roles in their relationships and can help individuals resolve interpersonal conflict. It is a type of psychotherapy that focusses on a person’s relationships with different people to gain a deeper level of insight into how they see themselves. It identifies possible social interactions that contribute to depression.
This is usually delivered in an inpatient setting but outpatient therapy groups do exist. This kind of therapy helps individuals relate with others as well as give and receive support as part of the group. Group therapy can also help therapists treat their patients more comprehensively in individual therapy by observing how they behave within the dynamics of a group.
Family therapy is a type of psychological counselling that involves a patient’s family members and loved ones. It is often recommended for children and adolescents but can be beneficial to people of any age. It aims to resolve conflicts, improve family dynamics and facilitate better communication amongst the various members of the family unit.