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Is there a cure for major depression?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

Major depression, or clinical depression, cannot be cured, but the condition can be effectively treated and controlled in most cases. Your doctor can work with you to determine what treatment plan will have the most effective results. The plan may include medications, psychotherapy and other methods. You can make changes in your life that will reduce the risk of your clinical depression symptoms returning, including meeting new people, putting less pressure on yourself, keeping a journal, joining a support group and establishing a daily routine.

Most of the medications prescribed for the treatment of clinical depression work by adjusting the neurotransmitter levels in the brain. SSRIs (selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors) prevent the brain cells from absorbing some of the serotonin in the brain so the levels will remain elevated. Low levels of serotonin are thought to cause major depression. Other medications work on norepinephrine and dopamine, two other mood-related neurotransmitters.

Alternative treatments for major depression are available. Omega-3 fatty acid, found in certain foods or available as a supplement, has been used to treat depression. In Europe, SAMe and St. John's wort are used to treat depression. However, in the United States, the FDA has not approved either supplement as a treatment option for depression.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.