Depression Treatment: Medications and the Role of Alternative Therapies

Noah Warren
August 22, 2023

When it comes to treating depression, medications play a crucial role in alleviating symptoms and restoring well-being. However, there may come a point in a person's treatment journey when considering alternative approaches, such as Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) therapy or Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy, becomes relevant.

In this blog post, we will discuss different medications commonly used to treat depression, explore their mechanisms of action, and shed light on when alternative therapies may be considered as viable options for individuals in need.

medications and alternative therapies

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)

Mechanism of Action: SSRIs increase the availability of serotonin in the brain, which helps regulate mood and emotions.

Considerations: SSRIs are often the first line of treatment for depression due to their effectiveness and relatively low side effect profile. However, it is important to monitor any potential side effects, and in some cases, dosage adjustments or switching to a different antidepressant may be necessary.

Serotonin-Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs)

Mechanism of Action: SNRIs increase the levels of both serotonin and norepinephrine, neurotransmitters involved in mood regulation.

Considerations: SNRIs are particularly beneficial for individuals with co-occurring conditions such as chronic pain or anxiety. It is essential to work closely with a healthcare professional to determine the appropriate dosage and monitor potential side effects.

Atypical Antidepressants

Mechanism of Action: Atypical antidepressants target various neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and norepinephrine, to regulate mood.

Considerations: Atypical antidepressants are prescribed when individuals do not respond well to SSRIs or SNRIs. Side effects and considerations vary depending on the specific medication prescribed, so close monitoring and regular communication with a healthcare provider are essential.

When to Consider Alternative Therapies

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) Therapy

Overview: TMS therapy uses magnetic fields to stimulate specific areas of the brain implicated in depression. It is a non-invasive treatment option that can be considered when traditional medications do not yield satisfactory results.

Considerations: TMS therapy is typically recommended for individuals who have not responded well to multiple antidepressant medications. It may also be considered for individuals who experience intolerable side effects from medication or prefer a non-pharmacological approach.

Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy

Overview: Ketamine-assisted psychotherapy involves the controlled administration of ketamine, a dissociative anesthetic, in conjunction with psychological therapy. It can be an option for individuals with treatment-resistant depression.

Considerations: Ketamine is usually administered under close medical supervision due to its potential for abuse and dissociative effects. The integration of psychotherapy alongside ketamine treatment is crucial to maximize its therapeutic benefits.


Medications such as SSRIs, SNRIs, and atypical antidepressants are commonly prescribed to treat depression and can be effective in alleviating symptoms. However, in cases where individuals do not respond to multiple medication trials or experience intolerable side effects, alternative therapies like TMS therapy or ketamine-assisted psychotherapy may be considered.

These alternative approaches offer additional options to address treatment-resistant depression and provide hope for individuals seeking relief. It is crucial to work collaboratively with trusted clinics like Roots Mental Wellness to determine the most suitable treatment path, one that aligns with an individual's unique circumstances and therapeutic goals.

Noah Warren
Director of Business Development