Information for the public

What treatments should I be offered for depression?

What treatments should I be offered for depression?

Treatments for depression include psychological treatments and antidepressants. The decision about what type of treatment to have will depend on your preference and a number of other factors, including:

  • whether your depression is mild, moderate or severe (see box in Mild, moderate and severe depression)

  • how long you have had depression

  • whether you have had treatment for depression before and how helpful it was

  • the possible side effects of treatments

  • your physical health problem and any treatments you are having for it.

If your physical health problem means that you are unable to have psychological treatment face to face, you may be offered an antidepressant (see Taking an antidepressant), or psychological treatment by phone.

If you have a learning disability or other problem that may affect your understanding, you should be offered the same treatments as other people with depression and a physical health problem. The treatment may be adapted to suit your needs.

If you have both depression and anxiety, you will be treated first for the one that causes you the most problems. Because treatments for anxiety and depression are similar, treatment for one condition can often help the other.

Once you have started treatment, your healthcare professional should check whether you are feeling anxious or agitated or having thoughts about suicide. They should make sure you know who to contact for help if you find these thoughts and feelings distressing. If you continue to feel restless or agitated, your treatment should be reviewed.

Questions about treatment for depression

  • Why have you decided to offer me this particular type of treatment?

  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of this treatment?

  • What will the treatment involve?

  • How will the treatment help me? What effect will it have on my symptoms of depression and my everyday life? What sort of improvements might I expect?

  • When should my depression start to get better? What should I do if I don't start to feel better by then?

  • What support should I be offered while I have this treatment?

  • Are there any risks associated with this treatment?

  • What other treatment options are there?

  • Can you give me a leaflet explaining the treatment?

  • Would it help to make any changes to my current treatment?

  • Information Standard