Last updated:

March 14, 2024


 min read

Depression Treatment Options for Adults - Beyond the Basics

This article delves into unconventional strategies that, though perhaps not mainstream, have shown promise in contributing to the holistic well-being of individuals grappling with depression.

Written by
Kanika Kant


According to the World Health Organisation, depression is a mental health condition characterised by persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and a lack of interest or pleasure in activities. It goes beyond the normal ups and downs of everyday life, affecting a person's thoughts, emotions, behaviour, and overall well-being. Individuals experiencing depression may also face physical symptoms such as changes in appetite and sleep patterns, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating.

Depression can manifest in various forms, including major depressive disorder, persistent depressive disorder (dysthymia), bipolar disorder (depressive episodes), and seasonal affective disorder, among others. It is a prevalent condition that can impact anyone, regardless of age, gender, or background.

The causes of depression are complex and often involve a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors. Trauma, chronic stress, certain medical conditions, and a family history of depression can contribute to its development (Saveanu and Nemeroff, 2012).

Prevalence of Depression in India 

According to the National Mental Health Survey of India 2015-2016, conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), the prevalence of depressive disorders in India was reported to be around 2.7%. It's important to note that this figure represents diagnosed cases in twelve states, and the actual prevalence might be higher due to underreporting and lack of awareness.

In India, mental health conditions, including depression, have been gaining recognition and attention in recent years. Various factors contribute to the prevalence of depression, such as the diverse socio-economic landscape, cultural influences, and the stigma associated with mental health issues.

Conventional approaches to Depression

The treatment of depression typically involves a combination of therapy and medication, providing a comprehensive approach to address both the psychological and biological aspects of the condition. Each component plays a distinct role in the overall treatment plan.

1. Psychotherapy (Counselling or Talk Therapy)

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy is a widely used therapeutic approach that focuses on identifying and challenging negative thought patterns and behaviours. It helps individuals develop healthier cognitive patterns and coping strategies. The therapist works collaboratively with the individual to set goals, recognize distorted thinking, and implement positive behavioural changes. CBT is often considered an evidence-based therapy with proven effectiveness in treating depression.

If you wish to find out more about CBT or other forms of therapy, you could book an appointment  with Rocket health’s qualified and knowledgeable therapists who will guide you through navigating psychological and physical symptoms of depression. 

2. Medication

Commonly prescribed medications include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), and others. These medications help regulate neurotransmitters in the brain to alleviate depressive symptoms. To a lay person, medication might seem complex and overwhelming. Consult a psychiatrist at Rocket Health to find out more about medication, potential side effects and benefits for managing depression.

Unconventional Strategies for Depression

In a world where conversations surrounding mental health are gaining momentum, it's crucial to explore a spectrum of strategies that extend beyond the conventional. While therapy and medication play pivotal roles in managing depression, there exists a realm of lesser-known approaches that can complement traditional methods, offering a diverse toolkit for those navigating the complex landscape of mental health.

Mindfulness Strategies

Mindfulness strategies can be valuable tools for managing and alleviating symptoms of depression (Klainin-Yobas, Cho and Creedy, 2012). Here are some mindfulness techniques you can incorporate into your daily life:

  1. Mindful Breathing

 Focus on your breath, paying attention to the sensation of inhaling and exhaling. Practise deep, slow breaths to bring your attention to the present moment and calm your nervous system.

  1. Body Scan Meditation

 Progressively scan and bring awareness to each part of your body, starting from your toes up to your head. Notice any sensations without judgement, allowing tension to release.

  1. Mindful Walking

Pay attention to each step as you walk, the feeling of your feet touching the ground. Engage your senses by observing the sights, sounds, and smells around you.

  1. Guided Imagery

Imagine a peaceful place or visualise positive experiences.Engage your senses in the imagery, fostering a sense of calm and positivity.

Consistency is key with mindfulness practices. Start with short sessions and gradually increase the duration as you become more comfortable. The above techniques can also be accessed via mindfulness apps or other social media platforms (like youtube) that offer guided meditations and exercises, providing structured support for your practice.  Experiment with different techniques to find what resonates best with you.

Gratitude Journaling

Gratitude journaling is a practical tool for managing depression (Lambert, Fincham and Stillman, 2012). It involves taking a few minutes each day to jot down things you're thankful for. This simple act helps shift your focus from negative thoughts to positive aspects of life. You can express gratitude for specific moments, people, or small pleasures. Consistency is key, and reviewing your entries periodically lets you observe patterns and positive changes.

It's not just about the good stuff; the practice encourages acknowledging challenges and obstacles as opportunities for growth. Experiment with different formats, whether it's traditional journaling, a gratitude jar, or using digital platforms. Combining gratitude journaling with therapy provides additional support, making it a constructive and accessible tool for cultivating a more positive perspective during depression.

Animal-Assisted Therapy

Animal-assisted therapy (AAT) has gained recognition and popularity in various parts of the world, including India. AAT for depression utilises interactions with trained therapy animals to enhance emotional well-being. These animals, typically dogs or cats, create a therapeutic environment fostering trust and comfort. AAT offers emotional support, alleviating feelings of loneliness and social withdrawal (Charry-Sánchez, Pradilla and Talero-Gutiérrez, 2018).

Engaging with therapy animals encourages physical activity, releases endorphins, and stimulates oxytocin production, promoting positive emotions. The practice serves as a healthy distraction from negative thoughts, fostering mindfulness (Marcus, 2013). While AAT is a valuable complement to traditional therapy, it is not a substitute, and individuals should seek certified therapists or handlers for safe and effective interactions.

Art and Creativity

Art and creativity offer practical avenues for individuals grappling with depression. Engaging in activities like drawing, writing, or sculpting becomes a cathartic release, providing a tangible outlet for complex emotions. It encourages mindfulness, grounding individuals in the present and offering relief from past regrets or future anxieties (Webb, 2023).

Creativity empowers individuals by providing a sense of control over their artistic process. It fosters self-reflection, helping individuals explore their emotions and triggers. Accomplishing creative tasks boosts self-esteem, serving as a tangible testament to their capabilities (Webb, 2023). Symbolic expression in art allows individuals to communicate complex emotions nonverbally.

Crucially, the art-making process establishes a judgement-free safe space for experimentation and self-expression. Mental health professionals integrate art into therapy, enriching the exploration of emotions. Harnessing creativity becomes a practical and lasting coping mechanism for navigating the ongoing challenges of depression.


Engaging in gardening provides a mindful connection with nature, grounding individuals in the present moment and alleviating negative thought patterns. Caring for a garden instils a sense of purpose and achievement, offering tangible evidence of growth and progress (Ambrose-Oji, 2013). The physical activity involved, coupled with exposure to natural light, contributes to improved mood and reduced symptoms of depression (Soga, Gaston and Yamaura, 2017).

The act of gardening serves as a stress-reduction tool, creating a calming environment surrounded by the soothing elements of nature. Observing the cyclical nature of a garden's growth mirrors life's continuous process of personal development. Participation in community gardening fosters social interaction, building a sense of community and emotional support (Koay and Dillon, 2020).

Horticultural therapy, a formalised branch of therapy, utilises gardening to promote mental health with tailored activities guided by trained therapists. Beyond personal well-being, gardening establishes a connection to something greater—an ecosystem, the cycles of nature, providing solace and a sense of being part of a larger, interconnected web of life.


In our exploration of depression treatment options for adults beyond the basics, we've uncovered a diverse landscape of therapeutic possibilities. From the expressive realms of art to the soothing companionship of animals, and the grounding practices of mindfulness and gratitude, the avenues for healing are vast and varied.

Integral to our exploration is the acknowledgment of the pivotal role that community and social connections play in mental health. As such, being part of support groups or even an online community (such as cancel stigma) designed around shared experiences can foster a sense of belonging.

Nevertheless, the key takeaway is clear: there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Instead, a tailored approach that considers individual preferences and needs emerges as a powerful strategy. As we navigate this expansive canvas of depression treatment, let's encourage open dialogue and collaboration with mental health professionals, recognizing that within its vast expanse lies the potential for a brighter, more resilient future.

Ready to explore personalized treatment options and support for managing depression? Contact Rocket Health today to schedule a consultation with our experienced mental health professionals. Our team is dedicated to providing comprehensive care and empowering individuals to embark on a journey towards improved well-being. Start your path to healing with Rocket Health now!


Ambrose-Oji, B. (2013). Mindfulness practice in woods and forests: An evidence review. Forest Research, Farnham, Surrey.[Accessed 29 Jan 2018] http://www. merseyforest. org. uk/news/mindfulness-and-forests-report-released.

Charry-Sánchez, J. D., Pradilla, I., & Talero-Gutiérrez, C. (2018). Animal-assisted therapy in adults: A systematic review. Complementary therapies in clinical practice, 32, 169-180.

Klainin-Yobas, P., Cho, M. A. A., & Creedy, D. (2012). Efficacy of mindfulness-based interventions on depressive symptoms among people with mental disorders: A meta-analysis. International journal of nursing studies, 49(1), 109-121.