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Most patients are treated in the community with antidepressant medication and supportive counselling, and some may undertake psychotherapy. Admission to hospital may be necessary in cases associated with self-neglect or a significant risk of harm to self or others. A minority with severe illness may be treated with electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), under a short-acting general anaesthetic. The course of the disorder varies widely, from a once-only occurrence lasting months to a lifelong disorder with recurrent major depressive episodes. Depressed individuals have a shorter life expectancy than those without depression, being more susceptible to medical conditions such as heart disease.[1] Sufferers and former patients may be stigmatized.

Treatment options are much more limited in developing countries, where access to mental health staff, medication, and psychotherapy is often difficult. Development of mental health services is minimal in many countries; depression is viewed as a phenomenon of the developed world despite evidence to the contrary, and not as an inherently life-threatening condition.[2]

Treatments can be broadly defined into two main groups: psychological and physical treatment methods

Psychological treatment methodsEdit


  1. Cassano P, Fava M (October 2002). Depression and public health: an overview. Journal of Psychosomatic Research 53 (4): 849–57.
  2. Patel V, Araya R, Bolton P et al. (April 2004). (fulltext) Editorial: Treating depression in the developing world. Tropical Medicine & International Health 9 (5): 539–41.

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