Treatment Options For Depression

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Treatment Options For Depression
Treatment Options For Depression
Video: Treatment Options For Depression
Video: Depression Treatment Options: A Quick-Start Guide: What to Do If You're Diagnosed With Depression 2023, February

Depression: Treatment Options & Relapse Prevention

You don't have to be helpless in the face of depression. There are different treatment options in the private practice area. In acute cases, a stay in a hospital is often necessary. Admission to day clinics or rehabilitation stays can also be helpful. Depending on the initial situation, the focus of treatment is the reduction or alleviation of symptoms or the prevention of relapses.

Further therapeutic goals include improving, maintaining or regaining a share in social life and work. During treatment - especially during acute treatment - it should be checked again and again whether the therapy is still appropriate or whether an adaptation appears necessary.


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  • more on the subject
  • Advice, downloads & tools
  • Plan the therapy together
  • Phases of therapy for depression
  • How relapses can be prevented
  • Whom can I ask?
  • How are the costs going to be covered?

Plan the therapy together

Before starting therapy, the treatment should be explained and the therapeutic measures decided together. Psycho-education is also one of the accompanying measures. The aim is to gain an understanding of the disease and possible help and coping mechanisms. In the case of a slight depressive mood that is unlikely to last long, psychotherapeutic advice or medical or clinical-psychological discussions may be sufficient. Close checks should be carried out to see whether further therapeutic measures would be effective.

For mild and moderate episodes, psychotherapy or pharmacotherapy can be used individually or in combination; for severe depression, psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy should always be combined. Patients and relatives should be informed about self-help groups and relatives groups. Because these can also be helpful. Further therapeutic measures can also be useful.

Phases of therapy for depression

In principle, therapy for depression is divided into three phases:

  • Acute therapy
  • Maintenance therapy
  • Long-term therapy or relapse (relapse) prophylaxis

If the depressive symptoms decrease by about fifty percent within the acute episode, a response to the treatment is assumed. In the course of depression, symptoms can be largely free (remission), relapses or even complete recovery. Complete recovery is when there are no symptoms of depression for six months. If they come back afterwards, one speaks of a relapse.

Treatment goals should generally be (according to the S3 guideline of the DGPPN on unipolar depression):

  • Alleviate symptoms or regression of complaints,
  • prevent possible suicide,
  • restore psycho-social or professional integration,
  • mental balance as well
  • Lower the likelihood of relapse.

How relapses can be prevented

The therapy of depression should take place over a longer period of time. In so-called maintenance therapy, medication is still given after the symptoms have disappeared. This phase of treatment should last about four to nine months. The patient receives the same medication that helped him or her to get out of the depression. Discontinuing the medication earlier increases the likelihood of relapse. Regular medical check-ups are necessary. The medication is usually not simply discontinued from one day to the next; instead, the dose is gradually reduced, known as tapering, over several weeks.

If a depressive episode occurs twice or more often, relapse prophylaxis should be started after the third depressive phase at the latest. However, the decision to use medication to prevent a relapse can be made after the first episode under the following circumstances:

  • positive family history (depression in relatives)
  • severe depression (long duration, high risk of suicide)
  • poor treatability
  • psychotic symptoms (e.g. delusions)

Relapse prevention is often carried out for years, at least in those cases it is recommended for two years. This can be a great challenge, but it serves as a support to lead a relapse-free life as possible. 50 to 60 percent will relapse after the first depressive episode - the likelihood of a relapse increases with each subsequent episode.

Psychotherapy or exercise measures can also be offered as reducive prophylaxis. In addition, attention should be paid to living circumstances that are as supportive as possible (in relationships, at work, etc.).

Whom can I ask?

Early detection of depression and thus timely treatment are - as with other diseases - of high value. It is therefore important not to hesitate to consult a doctor in the event of suspicion or to sensitively draw the attention of an affected person to possible help.

If you feel down or if you suspect that you are suffering from depression, you can contact:

  • General practitioner
  • Specialist in psychiatry
  • Psychotherapist
  • Clinical psychologist

For more information on how to find a place to go, see Health Search.

How are the costs going to be covered?

The costs for the medical examination are covered by social insurance. For more information about visiting a doctor, see Costs and Deductibles. Information on costs for hospital stays and rehabilitation can be found under What does a hospital stay cost and under Rehabilitation & Cure.

A full assumption of costs for psychotherapy is possible in own or contractually bound institutions of the health insurance carriers as well as in institutions that are subsidized by the public purse. In these cases, there is the option of paying a deductible. Otherwise, you have the option of applying for a subsidy from the health insurance company if you are undergoing psychotherapy with a resident psychotherapist. If this is approved, the health insurance provider will reimburse you for part of the fee paid to the psychotherapist. However, the health insurance carriers only provide a subsidy if there is an illness-related disorder.You can find further information on "Psychotherapy on sickness certificate", cost subsidies and addresses of resident psychotherapists under Services.

Clinical-psychological diagnosis is a service provided by the health system, the costs of which are borne by the health insurance carriers. With a medical or psychotherapeutic referral, patients can take advantage of a psychological examination by a contract psychologist for clinical-psychological diagnostics. You have to bear the costs for treatment or advice from resident clinical psychologists, as this is not a benefit from health insurance.

You can also find more information about costs at:

  • Prescription fee: This is how drug costs are covered
  • Health Professions AZ

and via the online guide to reimbursement of social insurance costs.

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