Major Depressive Disorder: Treatment Approaches


Dejection and distress are natural aspects of human life. A person might develop feelings of sadness or depression when experiencing challenges in life, for example, the death of a loved one, critical illness, or divorce. Such feelings normally last for a short time. However, if a person has persistent and acute sentiments of sadness for a long time, they could have a mood disorder, for instance, major depressive disorder. Statistics show that over 7% of the adult population in the US suffers a major depressive disorder annually. Major depressive disorder is among the most prevalent mental health problems in the US.

It is also termed as clinical depression and is a mental condition that influences different life aspects. It negatively affects behavior and mood, over and above different physical tasks encompassing sleep and appetite. With effective treatment, many people with major depressive disorder have learned to cope and operate normally (van Bronswijk et al., 2018). Medication and psychotherapy are some of the approaches used in the successful treatment of people with a major depressive disorder to enable them to effectively manage the condition.

Treatment Approaches for Major Depressive Disorder

Major depressive disorder is usually treated with the use of medicine or psychotherapy. Lifestyle adjustments are used in conjunction with psychotherapy and medication to assist ease some symptoms. Patients with severe major depressive disorder and may have suicidal ideations might require hospitalization during treatment. Others may need to participate in outpatient therapy plans until the condition improves. Health professionals may begin treatment for major depressive disorder with the prescription of antidepressant medicines. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are the usually prescribed forms of antidepressants (Gaspar et al., 2020).

They assist in enabling inhibition of the usage of serotonin in the brain, leading to increased quantities of the neurotransmitter. The brain chemical is thought to be accountable for mood. Therefore, serotonin reuptake inhibitors enable improvement of mood and result in sufficient sleeping patterns.

People with major depressive disorder have been found to have low amounts of serotonin. However, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors decrease symptoms of the condition by lessening the level of serotonin present in the brain. Such inhibitors encompass widely recognized medications that include citalopram and fluoxetine (Gaspar et al., 2020). These drugs have a moderately low occurrence of side effects, which a high proportion of people tolerate. Comparable to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors denote another form of antidepressant that is usually prescribed.

Other medications encompass tricyclic antidepressants and medicines referred to as atypical antidepressants, for example, bupropion. These forms of medication may be administered when other medicines fail to show a positive outcome. Nevertheless, these medications have been established to cause numerous side effects, encompassing weight gain and insomnia. For any medication, there is a need to evaluate the side effects and advantages with the help of a health professional (Gaspar et al., 2020). For example, some of the medicines used in the treatment of major depressive disorder are not safe for breastfeeding or pregnant women. Such concerns show the need to speak to health professionals before taking medication.

Apart from medication, psychotherapy, also referred to as talk or psychological therapy is a successful treatment method for people with major depressive disorder. It entails regular face-to-face meetings with the psychotherapist to talk regarding the underlying condition and associated issues. Psychotherapy may assist in adjusting to crises or traumatic events, substituting negative behaviors and convictions with optimistic and healthy ones, and improving communication skills. Additionally, psychotherapy enables patients to establish the means of addressing problems and tackling challenges, boost self-esteem, and reclaim the sense of fulfillment and control in life (van Bronswijk et al., 2018). The health professional might recommend other forms of therapy, for example, interpersonal therapy, group therapy, or cognitive behavioral therapy.

Group therapy enables patients to share their sentiments with individuals who can understand their experiences. Over and above psychotherapy and medication, lifestyle modifications may assist in the treatment of major depressive disorder through making changes to a person’s daily routines. Some helpful lifestyle changes in the treatment of the condition include healthy consumption, dodging of alcohol and some processed foods, regular exercise, and sufficient sleep.

Treatment Method of Choice

Psychotherapy is a recommended approach to effectively help patients who have a wide scope of mental disorders and psychological problems. It can enable the eradication or management of disconcerting symptoms to make the patient feel better while facilitating healing and general welfare. Issues that may be successfully addressed by psychotherapy encompass problems in dealing with daily occurrences, effects of shocking experiences, the death of a close friend or relative, depression, and anxiety to mention a few. There are numerous kinds of psychotherapy and some might be more effective in addressing specific disorders (van Bronswijk et al., 2018).

Psychotherapy might be carried out at a personal, couple, group, or family level, and may be beneficial to both adults and children. The psychotherapist and patient should be actively engaged in the therapy. The confidence and connection between the patient and psychotherapist are fundamental to effective joint efforts that ensure gain from therapy.

Psychotherapy may either take a few sessions to address immediate problems or a long period (months or years) to tackle entrenched and intricate concerns. The objective of treatment and plans, frequency, and duration of meetings are set conjointly by both the psychotherapist and the patient. Privacy is a fundamental need of any psychotherapy plan. Even though patients disclose their personal sentiments and opinions, intimate relationships with a psychotherapist are highly inappropriate, deplorable, and unreasonable. Studies establish that many patients who obtain psychotherapy demonstrate massive gains from it (van Bronswijk et al., 2018).

Psychotherapy improves a patient’s emotions and conducts and is also associated with positive variations in one’s brain and body. Its advantages also encompass lesser sick days, minimal disability, reduced health problems, and intensified job satisfaction.

Psychiatrists, psychotherapists, and other mental health experts utilize numerous kinds of treatment methods. The excellence of any form of therapy is anchored on the specific illness of the patient, underlying conditions, and one’s preference. Psychotherapists can choose to combine components from varying methods to suitably satisfy the preferences and needs of the patient. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a form of psychotherapeutic approach that assists patients to learn the best way of discovering and modifying destructive and troubling patterns of thought that negatively influence feelings and behavior. Interpersonal therapy entails a short-term mode of treatment while dialectical behavior therapy is a particular form of cognitive-behavioral therapy that enables the regulation of emotions (van Bronswijk et al., 2018).

Psychodynamic therapy is anchored in the notion that conduct and mental welfare are swayed by childhood encounters and unfitting repetitive thinking or sentiments that lack conscious volition. Psychoanalytic Supportive Psychotherapy represents another psychotherapeutic approach based on the unconscious facet of the patient’s speech and actions while being entrenched in a work-related therapy association model.

Key Concerns

Psychotherapy is a successful treatment approach for a client’s clinical depression. It might not be sufficient in the treatment of severe depression but plays a significant role when applied together with other methods of treatment, encompassing medication. A blend of psychotherapy and medication has been related to considerably higher degrees of improvement in severe, long-lasting, and intricate manifestations of depression (Gaspar et al., 2020). Despite the effectiveness of psychotherapy in the treatment of a major depressive disorder, it is not without flaws. The drawbacks of psychotherapy entail the fact that it may take an exceptionally long time since it may at times last for a couple of years.

Some patients may also feel uncomfortable sharing their history, personal problems, and past experiences, which may delay the progress of treatment. When patients first begin the psychotherapy treatment approach, some of them feel intimidated. The psychotherapist asks many questions concerning the patient’s feelings and previous experiences (van Bronswijk et al., 2018). This is a significant part of treatment that enables the psychotherapist to understand and effectively address the patient’s problem. Additionally, cognitive-behavioral therapy entails homework and tasks away from the psychotherapist’s office that makes many patients find it cumbersome. Some patients feel that communication is anchored on emotions and attempt to use logic, hence interfering with the effectiveness of therapy.

Nurse’s Role in Potential Treatments

The task of the nurse in potential treatments for major depressive disorder is to offer psychiatric care and treatment. Mental health nurses operate together with psychiatrists who are the practitioners who specialize in the treatment of depressive disorders such as anxiety, depression, and schizophrenia, in addition to personality disorders. Nurses who work in this field assist in the creation of treatment plans and the application of therapeutic proficiencies to provide a scope of alternatives to patients (Lee et al., 2020). A nurse’s role in potential treatments might also encompass the provision of primary care to patients with major depressive disorder encompassing diagnosis of the problem and delivery of psychotherapy.

Mental health nursing has become a point of focus in psychiatry. Such nurses work with patients, groups, relatives, and communities to evaluate and address mental health needs. The nurse generates a nursing analysis and plan of care before implementing the treatment process and assessing its effectiveness.

Nurses’ role is to provide primary care services to the major depressive disorder population through the evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of patients and families with major depressive disorder or the likelihood of such disorders (Lee et al., 2020). Nurses achieve this role with the help of their therapeutic skills, encompassing the prescription of medicines and provision of psychotherapy. They sometimes own private facilities or practices, in addition to consultancy with individual patients, groups, families, communities, lawmakers, and corporations.


When a person has insistent and acute sentiments of distress for a long time, they could have a mood disorder, for example, major depressive disorder. Medication and psychotherapy are the main approaches used in the effective treatment of patients with a major depressive disorder to allow them to successfully manage the condition. Apart from psychotherapy and medication, lifestyle variations might assist in the treatment of major depressive disorder through making modifications to a patient’s daily routines.

Psychotherapy might either take a few sessions to tackle immediate complications or a long period (months or years) to address entrenched and complicated concerns. Some patients can also feel uncomfortable sharing their past, personal problems, and previous experiences, which may interrupt the progress of treatment. Mental health nurses have become a point of concentration in psychiatry. Such nurses operate jointly with patients, groups, relatives, and communities to assess and address mental health needs.


Gaspar, F. W., Wizner, K., Morrison, J., & Dewa, C. S. (2020). The influence of antidepressant and psychotherapy treatment adherence on future work leaves for patients with major depressive disorder. BMC Psychiatry, 20(1), 1-10. Web.

Lee, E., Jeong, Y. M., & Yi, S. J. (2020). Nurses’ attitudes toward psychiatric help for depression: The serial mediation effect of self-stigma and depression on public stigma and attitudes toward psychiatric help. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(14), 5073. Web.

van Bronswijk, S. C., Lemmens, L. H., Huibers, M. J., Arntz, A., & Peeters, F. P. (2018). The influence of comorbid anxiety on the effectiveness of cognitive therapy and interpersonal psychotherapy for major depressive disorder. Journal of Affective Disorders, 232, 52-60. Web.

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