How To Treat Treatment Resistant Depression

Depression can make it difficult for people to begin treatment. However, what happens if even though you take the first step toward treatment your depression lingers?

A psychiatrist might diagnose you with "treatment-resistant" depression. This is a form of depressive disorder that resists all the commonly prescribed medications and therapies. This type of depression is not uncommon. About a third of depression sufferers experience persistent depression. Anne Posey LMHC Psychotherapist explains how treatment-resistant depressive symptoms are treated and what options exist for coping.

What is Treatment Resistant Depression?

Keep in mind, "treatment-resistant" does not mean "untreatable."

A type of depression known as treatment-resistant depression can be defined as one that is resistant to treatment. This is when the person does not see significant improvements after taking two different antidepressants. Posey says that a six-week course of antidepressants is recommended before they become ineffective. However, this doesn't mean you can't treat it with other treatments.

How to recognize signs of treatment-resistant depression

Perhaps you're wondering how to tell whether or not I have treatment-resistant depressive disorder. In truth, it is best to consult your psychiatrist to get a better understanding of your medical history. Posey says that depression is not just a feeling of sadness or gloom. Posey says that depression is more than just feeling sad. You may experience signs of treatment-resistant depressive symptoms such as:

Your condition is not going away with antidepressants.

This is the most important. It's not unusual for depression sufferers to need to test different medication. However, if two courses have been completed and your condition isn't improving, it could be a sign that you are suffering from treatment-resistant depression.

These are some minor improvements.

It may seem strange, but it can be an indication that you are not getting the treatment you need.

Sleep disturbance.

It doesn't only mean feeling awake at night, or feeling exhausted. Posey says that another sign of insomnia is an unusually high rate of waking up in the morning. This phenomenon is often called "early awakening" and it can be very difficult to go back to bed.

Appetite changes

This type of persistent depression is common because it can cause changes in your eating habits. For this type of persistent depression, look for changes in eating habits such as skipping meals or losing appetite for foods you enjoy for long periods.

Suicide or self-harm thoughts.

Depression can also be accompanied by suicidal thoughts. If this is the case, talk to your doctor or psychiatrist. You or a family member has suffered suicidal thoughts or self-harm. There are many resources, such as the Crisis Lifeline and 988 Suicide & Crisis Line.

How is treatment-resistant depression diagnosed?

It's not always easy to diagnose different forms of depression. There are some things that we continue to learn. You may have signs and symptoms that you are struggling to get treatment for. Your psychiatrist or therapist might want to consider other factors.

You may be asked these questions to determine whether you are suffering from treatment-resistant depressive disorder.

"This will allow us to answer some questions, such as "Is this biochemical?" Posey suggests that this could be due to the environment in which it is occurring. Or both.

Also, it is important that your healthcare providers have a clear timeline for you treatment. They will be able to assess if the therapy or medication they are using is effective. Don't switch your medication too quickly - most first-line antidepressants can take several weeks for you to notice effects.

Do You Think It's Treatment Resistant Depression?

Some cases of treatment-resistant depression may be due to a person wearing a mask. The effectiveness of antidepressants in treating depression will decrease if you are diagnosed with a more severe condition. It is essential to speak with your psychiatrist or healthcare provider so that they can determine the source and prescribe appropriate treatment.

Posey says that a doctor will need to see a detailed health history. It may prove that we don't have depression.

Your doctor will also consider your other mental health issues, such as anxiety. This is to ensure the drugs don't interact with each other.

What is the Treatment for Refractory Depression?

Your diagnosis, as well as your experience with antidepressants in the past may influence whether your psychiatrist changes your medications or recommends a different type of therapy.

Posey states that initial recommendations could include the following:

Posey says that another holistic way to avoid depression is using alcohol.

Methods to Treat Resistant Depression

There are other options for treating treatment-resistant depression if therapy or antidepressants have not helped.

For people suffering from treatment-resistant depressive disorder, there are other options:

Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT). ECT, a reputable treatment for severe depression has been shown on television and movies. Posey insists, "It's something we all share the One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest belief about. But it's really not that way anymore." This treatment involves general anesthesia, which has a proven track record of success. This is a controlled method of treating depression. It can also be extremely effective in people who are resistant to treatment.

Transcranial magnetic stimulation, (TMS) People with persistent depression may also benefit from this treatment. TMS usually takes between four and six weeks to complete. It is typically administered in 30-sessions. Posey explains that magnetic waves are used to "disrupt the brain's chemistry" and then try and restore it. Ketamine. While it doesn't work for everyone, some studies show that ketamine can improve clinical symptoms of treatment-resistant depression when administered through an IV in small doses. A nasal spray is also available.

Deep brain stimulation (DBS). This is a treatment that uses an implanted device to send an electrical current through your brain. Although it isn't as common as it used to be, this treatment has been shown promising for treating severe depression. It is important to know that there are other options. But, you should not consider these treatments and procedures until your psychiatrist gives enough time for antidepressants.

What can I do to practice self-care if I am suffering from treatment-resistant depressive disorder? It can be difficult to get relief if your depression isn't responding to treatment. You may find it difficult to adjust to new medications or different treatments. It is best to maintain your balance. In addition to your medications and therapy, there are small ways that you can improve your personal life.

Support systems are important. You will need to surround yourself with people who can support you as you undergo treatment changes. It's easy for you to isolate yourself and not be able to accept what's happening. Instead, find people who can support your journey. Posey states that "our support systems are very important because they make it clear that we know that we have a long-term illness, and it can take time to get it under control."

Establishing a routine is important. It can help you feel more stable in your daily life. It won't solve your entire problem, but having a regular time for getting up and going to sleep will allow your body to adjust to different therapies and treatments.

Exercising. Exercise, even a short walk around the block can help you feel better and combat depression.

What to do if you are finally improving

Knowing the signs you're on the right track is important. Although treatment-resistant depressive symptoms can take a while to heal, it is important that you note small steps.

Posey explained that as someone gains in health, they would like to see them sleep better and their energy and appetite increase.

"Or, they are able to get up and do things they like."

No matter what treatment option or treatment method you use, everyone is affected by treatment-resistant depression in their own way. It's crucial to pay attention to how your mental health changes and whether you may need new treatments. To learn about your best options, talk to your doctor or psychiatrist. Reach out to your psychiatrist or to connect with support groups such as the:

988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline