Depression (Major Depressive Disorder): Symptoms and More

MDD is often treated with medication and psychotherapy. Some lifestyle adjustments can also help ease certain symptoms.

People who have severe MDD or have thoughts of harming themselves may need to stay in a hospital during treatment. Some might also need to take part in an outpatient treatment program until symptoms improve.


Primary care professionals often start treatment for MDD by prescribing antidepressant medications.

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)

SSRIs are a frequently prescribed type of antidepressant. SSRIs work by helping inhibit the breakdown of serotonin in your brain, resulting in higher amounts of this neurotransmitter.

Serotonin is a brain chemical that’s believed to be responsible for mood. It may help improve mood and produce healthy sleeping patterns.

People with MDD are often thought to have low levels of serotonin. An SSRI may relieve symptoms of MDD by increasing the amount of serotonin available in your brain.

SSRIs include well-known drugs such as fluoxetine (Prozac) and citalopram (Celexa). They have a relatively low incidence of side effects that most people tolerate well.

Similar to SSRIs, serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) are another type of antidepressant that are often prescribed. These affect serotonin and norepinephrine, which helps manage your fight-or-flight response.

Other medications

Tricyclic antidepressants and medications known as atypical antidepressants, such as bupropion (Wellbutrin), may be used when other drugs haven’t helped.

These drugs can cause several side effects, including weight gain and sleepiness. As with any medication, benefits and side effects need to be weighed carefully with a healthcare professional.

Stopping medications immediately can cause withdrawal symptoms. It’s important not to stop taking your medications unless a mental health or healthcare professional advises you to.

Some medications used to treat MDD aren’t safe while you’re pregnant or nursing. Make sure you speak with a healthcare professional if you become pregnant, you’re planning to become pregnant, or you’re nursing.


Psychotherapy, also known as psychological therapy or talk therapy, can effectively treat people with MDD. It involves meeting with a mental health professional regularly to talk about your condition and related issues.

Psychotherapy can help you:

  • adjust to a crisis or other stressful event
  • working toward achieving a balanced perspective of a given situation and acting in accordance with values instead of based on mood
  • improve your communication skills
  • find better ways to cope with challenges and solve problems
  • increase your self-esteem
  • regain a sense of satisfaction and control in your life

A mental health professional may also recommend other types of therapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy or interpersonal therapy. If you don’t already have a mental health professional, the Healthline FindCare tool can help you find a professional in your area.

Another possible treatment is group therapy, which allows you to share your feelings with people who can relate to what you’re going through.

Lifestyle changes

In addition to taking medications and participating in therapy, you can help improve MDD symptoms by making some changes to your daily habits.

Dietary changes

Nutritious foods benefit your mind and body. While no foods can cure depression, certain healthful food choices can benefit your mental well-being.

Consider eating foods:

  • containing omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon
  • rich in B vitamins, such as beans and whole grains
  • with magnesium, which is found in nuts, seeds, and yogurt

These can also be found in supplement form, but the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hasn’t approved any natural products for depression. Speak with a healthcare professional before starting new supplements, especially if you take other medications.

Avoid alcohol and certain processed foods

It’s beneficial to avoid alcohol because it’s a nervous system depressant that worsens your symptoms. It has also been identified as a potential risk factor for depression.

Ultra-processed foods have also been associated with depressive symptoms.

Get plenty of exercise

Although MDD can make you feel very tired, it’s essential to be physically active. Exercising, especially outdoors and in moderate sunlight, can boost your mood and make you feel better.

Sleep well

It’s vital to get enough sleep each night. This can vary from person to person but typically ranges between 7 to 9 hours.

People with depression often have trouble sleeping. Speak with a doctor if you’re having trouble sleeping or oversleeping.

Content Creator Zaid Butt joined Silsala-e-Azeemia in 2004 as student of spirituality. Mr. Zahid Butt is an IT professional, his expertise include “Web/Graphic Designer, GUI, Visualizer and Web Developer” PH: +92-3217244554

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