For mild forms of situational Depression and anxiety I am a firm believer that one can manage with ONLY good productive cognative therapy, BUT If the Depression is Moderate to severe in nature, Then both CBT and Meds are the best approach IMO.
You see it kind of depends because depression can manifest or be caused by many different factors. For example: I've never suffered a tramautic experience in my life and honestly have no real life reason to suffer from Severe Treatment reststant Depression and Anxiety dissorder. In my case, my brain is probably just neurologically designed to be a depressed brain. MY condition is very severe and CBT does nothing to help the symptoms of my dissorder.
BUT, if your depression is the result of some past or present life situation or event, then I think CBT can help a lot.
Just kind of depends on what type and how bad your condition really is.
Eather way, If the Depression is very severe than I think both CBT and Meds offer the best approach.
I always suggest to people to at least try the CBT no medication route first. Save the meds as a back up plan if you can't break free of the depression in time.
Just be very careful. The choice to take these meds MUST be justified. You don't take them if your just in a slump or down. You only subject yourself to them if you are near, or completly non-functional as a result of a real diagnosed major depressiove dissorder.
They look like little pez candy and harmless, but they are in fact very serious Psycotropic medications and are NOT EVER intended to be used just for the standard blues or simple stress.
Once you start them you better make damn sure you really need them or else your experience will not be a good one. SSRI's and SNRI's are not controled substances and many doctors will flip you a script for one just because your dog died. This kind over over prescribing often results in a negitive response to AD med treatment.
Just make sure you get a QUALIFIED and good diagnosis from a reputable Psychiatrist, (not Dr. Bob the family MD.) If you can function without them your better off. If not, then they can literally save your life.
Be smart about your treatment. Study it, Know it, and get to understand it. That way you can help your Therapist and Psychiatrist make proper, NOT radical judgments about your treatment.
Make sure your condition is "the real deal" before starting AD meds.
Controlling your own thoughts are the key. The problem is recognizing the negative thoughts in time to keep from reacting to them. Not so hard to do when it's depressed type self-talk ("I'm worthless," for example), but when you have an anger issue like I do, it's always a split second between a negative thought & an outburst. Cognitive therapy isn't helping me much in that regard. As long as you remember that you control your thoughts, not the other way around, I find it's a good method.