Medical News Today: What is the link between depression and anger?

Doctors may treat depression or anger with medication, therapy, or a combination of both.


A doctor may prescribe antidepressants. These drugs can take 2–4 weeks to start working.

Common medications may include:

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs): These include fluoxetine, sertraline, citalopram, paroxetine, and escitalopram.
  • Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs): These include venlafaxine, duloxetine, and desvenlafaxine.

According to a 2019 systematic review, sertraline can be effective in treating both depression and anger.

The majority of the studies concluded that many of the individuals who experienced high levels of irritability and anger responded well to sertraline. After roughly 2 weeks, the sertraline appeared to have improved their mood and reduced their feelings of anger.

However, the authors note that not all of the participants responded to this treatment.


Therapy involves talking to a mental health professional who may use a variety of approaches.

Some people who struggle with depression and anger may find it beneficial to participate in anger management therapy.

Some types of therapy may include:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): The aim of this therapy is to help a person recognize their negative thoughts and apply coping strategies.
  • Interpersonal therapy: This therapy may help a person improve how they relate to other people.
  • Psychodynamic therapy: People use this therapy to try to understand the negative patterns of behaviors and feelings that their past experiences have caused.

The most common form of therapy that healthcare professionals recommend for the treatment of anger is CBT. However, a 2018 review suggests that it is only moderately effective.

There is not yet enough research to confirm the effectiveness of therapy in treating anger.

Brain stimulation therapies

If a person still experiences feelings of depression and hopelessness after trying medication and therapy, a doctor may recommend other treatments.

One option is electroconvulsive therapy, which involves transmitting electrical impulses into the brain. This treatment can have side effects, including memory loss.

Doctors may sometimes recommend repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation, which uses a magnet instead of electric currents.

Lifestyle changes and natural remedies

Some people may choose to take herbal remedies to treat depression.

However, there is little research to prove that they are effective in treating depression.

Some of the substances that doctors have studied include:

  • omega-3 fatty acids
  • S-adenosylmethionine
  • St. John’s wort

In addition to these supplements, certain lifestyle practices may help lift a person’s mood. These include:

  • engaging in regular exercise
  • spending time with loved ones
  • eating a healthful diet

Some people also report that alternative therapies — such as acupuncture, meditation, tai chi, and yoga — can boost their mood.

Light therapy is another alternative treatment option. It involves exposing a person to a special light box. The light can help regulate the production of melatonin, a chemical that plays a role in a person’s natural sleep-wake cycle.

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