Treating major depressive disorder: 7 top options you should consider
Why you can trust Lightfully Behavioral Health?

Lightfully’s professional culture is designed to keep everyone connected, motivated and nutured. Why is this so important? We believe the way we treat our employees is how we show up for clients – through encouragement, honesty, and compassion.

Clinically Reviewed 
Reading Time: 3 minutes

We all feel sad every once in a while, and we all have our own ways of coping with those feelings to boost our mood. But when it comes to treating a diagnosed mental health disorder, such as major depressive disorder, it’s important to know about the many treatment options available to help you manage your symptoms.

Major depressive disorder is a mental health disorder that affects more than 17 million U.S. adults. That adds up to about 7.1% of the U.S. adult population. If you’re a part of that affected population, there are many options that can help you treat your major depressive disorder. That’s what we’re here to explore.

Read on to learn about the basics of major depressive disorder and the options for treating it.

What is major depressive disorder?

Depression, known as major depressive disorder or MDD, is a mood disorder that’s characterized by overwhelming negative emotions, including sadness, malaise and hopelessness. These emotions do not reflect the circumstances of your reality. People with depression may struggle to complete their daily activities or maintain healthy relationships with their friends, family members, significant others and co-workers.

Depression not only affects your emotions, but your physical health and behavioral patterns as well. 

Common symptoms of depression include:

  • Persistent feelings of sadness
  • Loss of interest in hobbies or activities
  • Excessive sleeping or insomnia
  • Increased irritability
  • Physical pains, such as headaches or stomach pains

7 options to consider when treating major depressive disorder

Everyone is different, and so is their mental health. Your depression may not manifest in the same way as someone else’s, and severity of symptoms may vary. That’s why there are many different treatment options available, so that you can find the treatments that work best for you. 

Your mental health provider will determine which treatment options will be the most effective for your specific case of depression. They will likely recommend a combination of more than one treatment.

Here are seven options to consider when treating major depressive disorder:


  • Medication — If you’re diagnosed with MDD, your mental health provider may recommend a prescription for an antidepressant medication to manage your symptoms. The most common type of antidepressant is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), which increases the amount of serotonin in your brain. Serotonin is also known as a “happy” hormone.

  • One-on-one psychotherapy — Individual sessions with a therapist will allow you to look at your depression from every angle by discussing the root of your symptoms and talking through your problems. A therapist can help you learn how to manage your emotions and learn coping mechanisms for the future.

  • Family therapy — Even though you’re the person who has been diagnosed with depression, your mental health can affect those around you, including your loved ones. Family therapy can help your family members understand your depression symptoms. It also provides a space for open communication and conflict resolution.

  • Support groups — Depression can make you want to isolate yourself away from others. But it can be comforting to know that you’re not the only person who’s living with the mood disorder. A support group allows you to share your experiences with others in a nonjudgmental space with people who can relate to how you’re feeling.

  • Lifestyle changes — There are several lifestyle changes you can make to your daily routine that can help reduce the negative feelings from depression. These changes can include exercising, eating a healthy diet and meditating. Small adjustments to your lifestyle can reduce the stress and anxiety that may contribute to your depression.

  • Creative outlets — One of the best ways to deal with your emotions is to find a creative outlet. It should allow you to express those feelings in a therapeutic and healthy way. Common creative activities that are suggested for depression include painting, dancing and playing an instrument.

  • Inpatient care — Depending on the severity of your depression, and the potential risk you pose to yourself or others, your mental health provider may recommend that you be admitted into an inpatient care facility or residential treatment center. These facilities provide 24/7 care in a space that allows you to focus solely on improving your mental health.

At Lightfully, we use process-based therapy (PBT) as our clinical model, which ensures that we treat your entire well-being, not just your diagnosis. It can be incorporated into a variety of treatment methods, such as one-on-one psychotherapy and family therapy. PBT uses integrated interventions, such as motivational enhancement and values clarification, to help you work through four core processes that drive symptoms of mental health disorders, like major depressive disorder: 

  • Emotion dysregulation and avoidance 
  • Shame and cognitive fusion
  • Meaninglessness and stagnation
  •  Disconnection and Isolation

Lightfully Behavioral Health can help you with treating major depressive disorder

Persistent negative feelings can interfere with your quality of life, which is why treating major depressive disorder is so important. There are many treatment options that can help reduce and manage your symptoms, but it’s not always easy to determine which one will work best for you. That’s where we come in.

Change is possible. When you’re ready to help treat major depressive disorder, reach out to our Admissions Concierge Team. We’ll take the next steps together, toward the fullest, brightest version of you.

Connect with Admissions

Do I have Major Depressive Disorder?

Related Content