New Treatments For Severe Depression

Depression affects untold millions worldwide and, unfortunately, the problem is only getting worse.

Currently, depression is treated primarily with medications and psychotherapy. In severe cases, hospital stays or outpatient programs might be required.

However, there are some new depression treatments that show great promise in treating major depression.

These treatments range from more traditional methods, to newer ones including neuromodulation and ketamine.

Traditional Depression Treatments

The treatments below can be prescribed independently or in some cases, together. It’s not uncommon to try several medications before finding one or the right combination that works.

So it’s very important to work with a mental health professional to make sure these medications are managed appropriately.

9 Typical Medication Treatments For Depression Include:

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
  • Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)
  • Atypical antidepressants
  • Tricyclic antidepressants
  • Mood Stabilizers
  • Antipsychotics Medications
  • Anti-anxiety Medications
  • Stimulant Medications

It should also be noted that you simply can’t stop taking these types of medications, while not considered addictive, not appropriately withdrawing from the medications can cause additional problems for patients.

Up next, we’ll take a look at 2 promising new treatments for severe depression, Neuromodulation and Ketamine.


Therapies that are known as neuromodulation are one group of depression treatments that show great promise.

Basically neuromodulation involves trying to change brain cell activity by applying electricity selectively and in specific patterns.

Some neuromodulation treatments have already been approved by the FDA and are already fairly widely used to treat depression. These include repetitive magnetic stimulation (rTMS) and Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS). Other treatments are still in development.

Sometimes the neuromodulation devices used for treatment are placed externally on the body. In other cases, a device may need to be surgically implanted in the body.

These neuromodulation treatments are not an instant fix, however. It’s not the electrical stimulation that helps ease depression. It’s the changes the stimulation causes in brain cells that helps.

Up next, ketamine.


Unlike neuromodulation, treatment for severe depression involving ketamine, seems to work quite quickly in lifting patients’ moods.

Studies have shown it to improve moods in patients in as little as a few hours after it’s given.

Ketamine has been used for many years for anesthesia. Some doctors started noticing some of their patients would came out of anesthesia in a much better mood than before they went under. This effect was not just a short term thing either. There were patients who would be in better moods for weeks or months after anesthesia. This led to research on using ketamine to treat depression.

While ketamine has traditionally been administered intravenously, the FDA has approved a version called esketamine that is taken through the nose.

Ketamine has been shown to reduce fatigue and thoughts of suicide as well as improve sleep patterns in those with major depression.

Additional treatments for depression using ketamine are being researched that it is hoped will provide longer lasting effects along with fewer side effects.