Treating Depression

Treating Clinical Depression

Treatment for depression usually involves a combination of medicines, talking therapies and self-help.

The type of treatment your doctor recommends will be based on the type of depression you have. Below is a short description of the types of treatment your doctor may recommend.

Mild Depression

  • Wait and see – if you’re diagnosed with mild depression, your depression may improve by itself. In this case, you’ll simply be seen again by your GP after two weeks to monitor your progress. This is known as watchful waiting.
  • Exercise – there is evidence that exercise may help depression and it is one of the main treatments if you have mild depression. Your GP may refer you to a qualified fitness trainer for an exercise scheme.
  • Self-help groups – talking through your feelings can be helpful. You could talk either to a friend or relative, or you can ask your GP to suggest a local self-help group. Your GP may also recommend self-help books and online cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).

Mild to Moderate Depression

  • Talking therapy – if you have mild depression that isn’t improving, or you have moderate depression, your GP may recommend a talking treatment (a type of psychotherapy). There are different types of talking therapy for depression, including cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and counselling. Your GP can refer you for talking treatment or in some parts of the country you might be able to refer yourself.

Moderate To Severe Depression

  • Antidepressants – antidepressants are tablets that treat the symptoms of depression. There are almost 30 different kinds of antidepressant. They have to be prescribed by a doctor, usually for depression that is moderate or severe.
  • Combination therapy – your GP may recommend that you take a course of antidepressants plus talking therapy, particularly if your depression is quite severe. A combination of an antidepressant and CBT usually works better than having just one of these treatments.
  • Mental health teams – if you have severe depression, you may be referred to a mental health team made up of psychologists, psychiatrists, specialist nurses and occupational therapists. These teams often provide intensive specialist talking treatments as well as prescribed medication.


Source: NHS UK