SSRIs Are Not the Only Treatment for Depression

Posted on: 26 October 2020

When you think of depression treatments, what comes to mind? Most people think of SSRIs or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Indeed, medications in this class have provided relief for a lot of patients with depression. However, they are far from the only treatment option. If you are diagnosed with depression, here are some of the other treatments your psychiatrist might recommend.

Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors

Also known as MAOIs, this is another class of medications that are sometimes used to treat depression. They are often recommended for the most severe cases, or for patients who do not respond sufficiently to SSRIs alone. MAOIs affect the action of three neurotransmitters: serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. It can be hard to tell which of these neurotransmitters is at play in a specific case of depression, so taking an MAOI can help cover all the bases.

Most patients see a significant reduction in depression symptoms within a month of beginning treatment with an MAOI. Some patients do experience side effects like fatigue, insomnia, dry mouth, and lightheadedness. Usually, reducing the dose will get rid of these side effects.


Most psychiatrists recommend that patients with depression undergo psychotherapy, whether they do so alone or in conjunction with an MAOI or SSRI medication. Psychotherapy can help reveal the situations and experiences that contribute to your depression. A therapist can work with you to identify negative beliefs about yourself and unhealthy habits and can work with you to replace them with positive beliefs and healthy habits. In therapy, you will also learn how to better recognize your depression symptoms and ward them off before they become quite as serious. Usually, therapy takes place in a one-on-one setting, but some patients do benefit from group therapy, too.

Transcranial Magnetic Therapy

Transcutaneous magnetic therapy, or TMS, may look scary but it is actually very safe and effective. A treatment coil is put over the scalp and emits a magnetic field, which changes the action of certain neurons in your brain, helping to improve your mood. A session usually takes about 60 minutes. You may feel a tapping sensation on or in your skull, but you won't feel any pain. Most patients notice an improvement in mood with just one session, but you may need several sessions to experience the full effects. 

If you think you may have depression, be sure to talk to your doctor. They can refer you to a psychiatrist who can confirm your diagnosis and recommend the best treatment for you.