Treatment-Resistant Depression

When Treatment Doesn’t Help

Treatment-Resistant DepressionTreatment is a vital part of helping a person with depression towards recovery. There are different forms of treatment for depression, including medication and therapy, and many people find a combination of treatments very helpful.

However, in some cases a person undergoing treatment for depression may feel like there has been no improvement in their moods or behaviors. Symptoms may still arise and continue to have an impact. This is known as treatment-resistant depression.

It is been suggested that only one third of people diagnosed with depression show improvements with medication such as antidepressants. When treatments appear to show no help, those with depression may feel a sense of hopelessness, which can lead to further depressive moods and even thoughts of self-harm or suicide.

Why Doesn’t Treatment Always Work?

Studies show that there are many different factors that may contribute to the occurrence of treatment-resistant depression. Other mental illnesses that exist alongside depression may interfere with treatment, and personality disorders like borderline personality disorder and avoidant personality disorder can prevent improvements, too. Eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder may also have an effect.

Another possible cause of treatment-resistant depression is substance abuse. This can prevent recovery with medication or worsen the symptoms of depression. Additionally, those who have a more severe depression may not show improvements with treatments as readily as others.

Patients with treatment-resistant depression are also at a higher risk of relapse whilst undergoing treatment.


What To Do

If you feel like your current form of treatment is not improving your symptoms or your symptoms are getting worse, you should inform your doctor, therapist or other medical professional about this. There are ways of working with treatment-resistant depression to help improve symptoms where your current treatment is proving ineffective.

If your currently prescribed medication is not effective, your doctor may suggest increasing the dosage of medication, or prescribing different medication to replace your current one or act alongside it. Medications like mood-stabilizers, beta blockers or anti-psychotics can be prescribed alongside anti-depressants to help treat other symptoms or disorders.

Next page: coping strategies to help manage depression.

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Nikki ThompsonNikki Thompson

Nikki has a diagnosis of depression and borderline personality disorder, and is determined to change mental health perceptions. You can usually find her with her cat, with her head in a book, indulging in anything horror or with a soy latte in hand.

Jun 29, 2015
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