DepressionDepression Treatment

Let's Talk About Depression Treatment

There are many approaches to treating depression. Understanding the options and figuring out which ones work best for you can help get your momentum going.

    Our Pro PanelDepression Treatment

    We asked some of the nation's top depression experts to bring you the most up-to-date information possible.

    Carol A. Bernstein, M.D.

    Carol A. Bernstein, M.D.Psychiatrist, Vice Chair for Faculty Development and Well-Being in the Departments of Psychiatry and Obstetrics and Gynecology

    Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of Medicine
    The Bronx, NY
    Charles B. Nemeroff, M.D., Ph.D.

    Charles B. Nemeroff, M.D., Ph.D.Chief Medical Officer of the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, Professor and Chair of Psychiatry at Mulva Clinic for the Neurosciences

    Dell Medical School, The University of Texas
    Austin, TX
    Seema Desai, M.D. headshot.

    Seema Desai, M.D.Clinical Assistant Professor, Psychiatrist

    Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, NYU School of Medicine; NYU School of Medicine WTC Health Program Clinical Center of Excellence
    New York, NY

    Frequently Asked QuestionsDepression Treatment

    Which SAD lamp is the best for seasonal depression?

    Bright light therapy is the most popular (and most studied) treatment for winter SAD, according to the American Psychological Association. Likely because the treatment is extremely easy to comply with, since it’s just sitting in front of a special fluorescent lamp each morning for 30 minutes. You can do whatever you want—scroll through your phone, eat breakfast—as long as you’re 12 to 18 inches away from the lamp. The most effective SAD lamps have white light, a brightness level of 10,000 lux, a large light surface, and—if they don’t use LED light—a UV filter. Carex Day-Light Classic Plus Bright Light Therapy Lamp checks all the right boxes.

    Does meditation help with depression?

    It does. Meditation might look like closing your eyes and doing nothing, but it can actually alleviate psychological stress. A 2014 review published in the Journal of the American Medical Association of 47 trials with 3,515 participants found that a daily half-hour of mindfulness meditation was about as effective as SSRIs in treating depression. Here’s the thing: You can’t just meditate every once in a blue moon and expect results. You’ve got to meditate consistently—that’s why they call it a practice. By repetitively dropping into a state of relaxed, nonjudgmental awareness, you’re creating new connections in your brain. That means that later, when life stress, depressive thoughts, and rumination occur, that reflex could help you rebound sooner.

    Does keeping a gratitude journal help depression?

    People with depression struggle with automatic negative thinking, so finding ways to direct their thinking towards positivity is a challenge. While it may sound a little hokey (particularly to a totally jaded depressed person), when you’re at your most dissatisfied is the perfect time to refocus on appreciating the things in your life you do have rather than the things you don’t. Instead of just jotting down a few quick words (UberEats, Netflix, the cat), experts say it’s better to write a few sentences about just one thing—or even better, a person in your life—and really delve into how thankful you are for it or them. This can help correct your cognitive dissonance and, instead of self-isolating, help reinforce your connection to others.

    Can dancing help with depression?

    Yes! Rihanna knows what’s up, so when she says, “I gotta get my body moving, shake the stress away,” everyone knows better than to stop the music. According to recent meta-analyses published in Frontiers in Psychology, Dance Movement Therapy (DMT) decreased people’s depression levels in several studies. Technically, DMT is its own type of therapy, so it’s not really the same as just shaking your butt on the dance floor. But since exercise also helps boost mood and lift depression symptoms, and even unguided jumping around counts as aerobic exercise, we say the evidence is already in. Find a DMT therapist near you here.

    Meirav Devash

    Meirav Devash


    Meirav Devash is a writer, editor, and beauty, health, and wellness expert, reporting on topics from mental health to goth fitness and cannabis law.