When Does Depression Warrant Medication?

Aug 02, 2023
When Does Depression Warrant Medication?
Whether you're living with depression or have a loved one who is, it's natural to have questions about this mental health condition. This article looks at when medication is necessary for treating depression.

One of the most common and severe mental health conditions affecting people across the globe today is depression. Depression isn't just about feeling a bit low or sad; it's a condition that can alter your emotions, thoughts, and everyday life significantly.

People living with this condition might ask: When should I start taking medicine for depression? Answering that question touches on many aspects of your overall health and requires careful consideration and understanding.

At Peak Interactive Wellness in Denver, Colorado, we're committed to providing top-notch 

mental health care for anyone living with depression. Our team of professionals is dedicated to understanding your unique needs and providing guidance to help you make informed decisions.

In the article, we break down depression, the role of medication, and how to take steps toward better mental health.

What is depression?

Depression is more than just going through a rough patch. It's a severe mental health disorder that impacts your mood and can affect every part of your life. It changes how you feel, think, and handle daily activities, such as sleeping, eating, or working.

Depression affects different people in different ways and varies from mild to severe. The critical thing to remember is that it lasts for more than just a few days — it's a persistent feeling of sadness, loss of interest, and negativity that lasts for weeks, months, or even longer.

When does depression warrant medication?

Deciding when to start medication for depression isn’t black-and-white. It depends on factors like the severity of your depression, your health history, other mental or physical health problems, and how you've responded to other treatments such as therapy or lifestyle changes.

Mild to moderate depression

For people with mild to moderate depression, the first step might be therapy or counseling. Techniques like cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and interpersonal therapy (IPT) can help you manage your symptoms and address the underlying issues causing your depression. 

Lifestyle changes, like regular exercise, eating a balanced diet, sleeping well, practicing mindfulness, and maintaining social connections, can also help.

Severe depression

In cases of severe depression, however, medication may be necessary from the start. Severe depression can significantly impact your ability to function in daily life and lead to suicidal thoughts. 

Antidepressant medications, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), can help rebalance the brain chemicals linked with mood.

Depression with co-occurring conditions

When depression co-occurs with other mental or physical health conditions, such as anxiety disorders, eating disorders, chronic pain, or cardiovascular diseases, medication can be a vital part of a treatment plan.

Medication can help manage the symptoms of depression, making it easier to handle other conditions.

If you've tried therapy, lifestyle changes, and common antidepressants without getting better, you might need other types of medication. These can include atypical antidepressants, mood stabilizers, antipsychotics, or even newer treatments like ketamine or esketamine (Spravato).


When does depression warrant medication? The answer isn't straightforward. It depends on several factors. What remains constant, however, is the importance of seeking professional help. 

At Peak Interactive Wellness, we're here to guide you through the complexities of depression, assisting you in your journey toward better mental health.

If you or someone you know is struggling with depression, remember you're not alone — help is available, and it's OK to reach out. Book an appointment with us online or call 720-460-9084.