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Painted Brain | Do You Have Treatment-resistant Depression
Treatment-resistant depression and what to do about it.
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Do You Have Treatment-Resistant Depression

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Treatment Resistant depression: a woman sitting in a darkened room with one hand on the side of her head

It’s normal to feel tired, stressed, and hopeless from time to time. It happens to every human being on the planet. For people who are battling depression, these feelings can be intense and last longer than usual. And this will harm their home, work, and school life.

After a psychologist or experienced therapist has diagnosed you and concluded that you are depressed, they will prescribe antidepressants and therapy sessions. Some will feel relieved after taking antidepressants while others won’t improve at all. Research studies have shown that only 30 percent of people with depression improve after taking antidepressants. Depression that doesn’t respond to medication is called treatment-resistant depression. In this post, we are going to cover everything about treatment-resistant depression and how you can deal with it effectively. Let’s get started!

Diagnosing treatment-resistant depression

No one criterion can effectively diagnose treatment-resistant depression. However, psychologists and therapists come to this conclusion when an individual has tried two or more antidepressant medications without having any improvement. If you have treatment-resistant depression, you need to read health articles on professional essay writing services and get a diagnosis from a certified health professional. Even if you think you have treatment-resistant depression, your doctor will need to double-check several things such as:

  • Was your first diagnosis done well?
  • Are there underlying conditions that could be worsening the situation?
  • Was the medication taken correctly in the right amount?
  • Did the patient take the medication for a longer time than usual?

You need to keep in mind that antidepressants won’t work overnight. They need to be taken for around seven weeks in the right doses to enjoy the benefits. The medications need to be tried for a long time before concluding that they aren’t working. Research studies have shown that people improve within a few weeks of taking the prescribed medication eventually recover fully. Those who don’t respond to treatment early enough are less likely to improve after several weeks.

Causes of treatment-resistant depression

Medical practitioners don’t know why some people don’t respond effectively to antidepressants. However, there are a few theories that can explain this. The most popular ones are:

1.     Inaccurate diagnosis

The simplest theory is that individuals who don’t respond to treatment usually don’t have a depressive disorder. The symptoms that they show might be similar to those of a depressed person. However, they might have conditions that have symptoms similar to those of depression such as Bipolar Disorder.

2.     Genetic factors

One of many genetic factors that play a key role in causing treatment-resistant depression. Specific genetic variations can increase the process of breaking down antidepressants in the body thus making them less powerful. Other genetic variants can alter the body’s response to these medications. While extensive research is needed in this field, most doctors around the world can order a genetic test to find out which antidepressant is ideal for you.

3.     Metabolic disorder

Another popular theory is that individuals who fail to process treatment may process various nutrients differently. A research study found out that people who don’t respond to these medications usually have low folate levels around the spinal cord and brain. Till today, no one knows how low levels of folate in the body are linked to treatment-resistant depression.

4.     Other factors

Research studies have shown that certain factors increase the risk of having treatment-resistant depression. They include:

  • The number of symptoms and their severity: People with severe depression symptoms are less likely to respond to antidepressants effectively.
  • Depression length: People who’ve been depressed for a long time are highly likely to have treatment-resistant depression.
  • Other health conditions: People who are suffering from other health conditions such as stress and anxiety are likely to have depression that cannot be treated by drugs.

Treating treatment-resistant depression

Treatment-resistant depression can be treated despite its name. however, it may take time and effort to find the ideal plan for you.

1.     Antidepressants

Antidepressants are the ideal choice for treating this serious mental condition. If you’ve tried a specific antidepressant and failed to make progress, your therapist can suggest a different antidepressant in another class. A drug is grouped depending on how it functions. If you take one antidepressant and it fails, your therapist can prescribe two or more antidepressants that you should take simultaneously. For some people, combining these drugs can work them effectively.

2.     Other forms of medication

If antidepressants don’t improve your health condition, your doctor or therapist can prescribe other forms of medication that will help you recover. Sometimes, combining antidepressants with other forms of medication can work better than the antidepressant alone. Some of the common medications that are used together with antidepressants include:

  • Antipsychotics
  • Thyroid hormone
  • Lithium
  • Ketamine
  • Dopamine

Your doctor can also prescribe nutritional supplements especially if you show symptoms of deficiency. They include:

  • Folic acid
  • Zinc
  • Fish oil
  • L-methyl folate

3.     Psychotherapy

Sometimes, people who can’t be treated with antidepressants alone will find cognitive behavioral therapy or psychotherapy quite effective. However, your doctor or therapist will encourage you to continue taking your medication.

Research studies have shown that cognitive-behavioral therapy helps in improving symptoms especially in people who don’t take antidepressants. Most of the studies have involved people doing cognitive behavioral therapy whilst taking medication.

A person is going to therapy for help

by Nik Shuliahin

4.     Medical procedures

If medications and therapy fail to do the trick, several simple procedures can help you solve your problem. The two most popular procedures that are used to treat treatment-resistant depression include:

  • Electro conclusive therapy: This treatment has been around for many years. Back then, it was popularly known as electroshock therapy. However, it has fallen out of favor over the years. But it can be good for you if all other methods fail to work.
  • Vagus nerve stimulation: This procedure involves implanting a device to send electrical impulses into your nervous system. And it may help in relieving stress and depression.


It’s quite difficult to manage treatment-resistant depression. However, it’s not impossible. By being patient, you and your therapist can come with a comprehensive treatment plan that will improve how you are feeling. Connect with others and find out what worked for them.

Author Bio:

Sherri Carrier is a professional writer at paper writing service reviews and a member of several writing clubs in New York. She has been writing her own poems since she was a child. The young author gets inspiration from her favorite writers and people whom she loves.


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