Pharmacological Treatment for Depression

The primary focus of the California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare (CEBC) is to review and rate selected evidence-based psychosocial programs within child welfare. The CEBC is not designed to, nor does it have the capacity to be able to, review extensive medical and pharmacological treatments.

Pharmacological treatments for depression have been widely researched and demonstrated to be effective in the treatment of depression. Information on medications used in the treatment of depression is available from many reputable organizations, a selection of which we have listed below. Please click on these links for more information.

American Psychiatric Association

The American Psychiatric Association is a medical specialty society with over 38,000 U.S. and international member physicians who work together to ensure humane care and effective treatment for all persons with a mental disorder, including mental retardation and substance-related disorders. The APA's practice guideline, Practice Guideline for the Treatment of Patients With Major Depressive Disorder, Third Edition, describes the treatment of major depressive disorder.

Cochrane Collaboration

The Cochrane Collaboration is an international not-for-profit organization providing up-to-date information about the effects of health care. They have conducted many reviews of the effectiveness of different treatments of depression, including medication, and are a good resource for more detailed information.

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA)

DBSA is the leading patient-directed national organization focusing on the most prevalent mental illnesses. The organization fosters an environment of understanding about the impact and management of these life-threatening illnesses by providing up-to-date, scientifically based tools and information written in language the general public can understand. DBSA supports research to promote more timely diagnosis, develop more effective and tolerable treatments, and discover a cure. The organization works to ensure that people living with mood disorders are treated equitably. The DBSA article, Finding Peace of Mind: Treatment Strategies for Depression and Bipolar Disorder, provides a good overview of medications for depression.

Mayo Clinic

The Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit medical practice dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment of virtually every type of complex illness. Their article, Antidepressants: Selecting One That's Right for You, provides an overview of the type of anti-depressants, and information on specific anti-depressant medications.

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)

NIMH envisions a world in which mental illnesses are prevented and cured. The mission of NIMH is to transform the understanding and treatment of mental illnesses through basic and clinical research, paving the way for prevention, recovery, and cure.

For the Institute to continue fulfilling this vital public health mission, it must foster innovative thinking and ensure that a full array of novel scientific perspectives are used to further discovery in the evolving science of brain, behavior, and experience. In this way, breakthroughs in science can become breakthroughs for all people with mental illnesses.

The NIMH publication, Mental Health Medications, provides an overview of treatments for depression.

Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

SAMHSA's mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America's communities. The Agency was established in 1992 and directed by Congress to effectively target substance abuse and mental health services to the people most in need and to translate research in these areas more effectively and more rapidly into the general health care system. Over the years, SAMHSA has demonstrated that prevention works, treatment is effective, and people recover from mental and substance use disorders. Behavioral health services improve health status and reduce health care and other costs to society. Continued improvement in the delivery and financing of prevention, treatment, and recovery support services provides a cost effective opportunity to advance and protect the Nation's health.

The SAMHSA report, Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General describes current medication treatments for depression.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

All prescription drugs, including generic drugs, are regulated by FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER). The article, Depression: FDA-Approved Medications May Help, is a good resource for consumers.