A variety of treatments for major depressive disorder can help relieve or eliminate the problems associated with the condition. Among treatments available:
- Talk Therapy -- Also referred to as psychotherapy. A trained professional helps the patient work through his or her emotions, notice patterns and plan alternative courses of action.
- Medication -- Drugs such as Paxil, Zoloft or Prozac can alter brain chemistry, bringing clarity and a healthy disposition.
- Combination -- Medication may be used to alleviate the severity of symptoms while the patient engages in talk therapy to develop a long-term approach to the condition.
- Electroconvulsive Therapy -- A less-used treatment, ECT (also known as shock therapy) is typically used when other remedies fail.
- Vagus Nerve Stimulation -- Surgery which involves the implantation of a battery to excite the vagus nerve [sources: Fava; WebMD].
If a person dealing with major depressive order doesn't seek help, the condition tends to get worse as time goes on. In some cases the failure to address the problem results in suicide [source: NAMI]. Major depressive disorder is not a character flaw, a weakness or a problem to be ignored or denied. It is a treatable condition which affects approximately 15 million people in the United States alone [source: NAMI]. For more information on major depressive disorder, please visit the links and resources on the next page.