Fight depression on as many fronts as possible.

Though everyone responds to treatment differently, talking to a doctor and working with them to explore all your options or a combination of them is your best option for recovery.

Battling depression is hard work and each step you take should be commended. When tackling depression, progress can sometimes seem slow, but stick with it and give it time.

The two most developed and evidence-based treatments for depression provided by healthcare professionals are psychotherapy (i.e., talk therapy) and medication.

1. Talk Therapy

Formally known as psychotherapy (or counselling), talk therapy is, for most people, the most successful way of treating depression.

Many guys think talk therapy is only about complaining and/or sharing their feelings, but in reality talk therapy is about understanding who you are, and working toward making tangible improvements in your life and health.

Think of talk therapy as having a trained mentor or consultant to help you navigate the stresses of life. Talk therapy helps you get to the root of the problem and develop new strategies for managing all the stuff that life throws at you.

Because some health plans only provide coverage for a few meetings, talk therapy can seem expensive, but it can also help put you on track toward recovery. Don’t let potential costs stand in the way of better health.  Better health and a better life should never be compromised. Some therapists may provide their services on a sliding scale (i.e., their fee is based on your capacity to pay).

Learn more about the types of talk therapy, who provides it, and how to access it.

2. Medication

Antidepressants, prescribed by a family doctor or psychiatrist*, are the most common medications for depression.

Though they have become some of the most prescribed medications in the world, most researchers and experts agree they are best used for more severe cases of depression – where they can be particularly helpful, and even life-saving.

Medications can lessen the intensity of depression and allow you to focus on other aspects of recovery, like physical activity, sleep, or getting yourself to therapy (which is ideally, the best strategy for most people).

Some guys worry that taking medication will change their personality, but in reality it’s depression that can change a person’s sense of who they are and medications may help you get back to your normal self.

It can take 4-6 weeks to see if an antidepressant is helping, or if any the side-effects outweigh potential benefits. Working closely with your doctor or psychiatrist when starting or modifying medications is key to learning if medications will be helpful for you.

Understandably, people don’t want to be on medications forever.  But keep in mind, that you shouldn’t stop taking antidepressants on your own, as this can cause worse side effects. Instead, work with your doctor to slowly reduce the amount you’re taking.

Many antidepressants are available in generic form (without brand names), but don’t think cheap knock offs, these medications follow the same formula and can be much more affordable than brand name drugs. If you have health insurance, check with your provider to see what coverage you can get.

Learn more about medications for depression, common concerns, and side effects.

* In certain states within the United States, clinical psychologists are also able to prescribe antidepressants.