Treatment-Resistant Depression: 4 Things You Should Know

For so many people who are doing their best to deal with some form of major depressive disorder, antidepressants can play a big role in relieving symptoms, but those who experience what is known as treatment-resistant depression, where standard treatments are not enough, can find themselves disheartened. It is far from rare and can occur in up to one-third of adults with major depression. Symptoms such as feelings of sadness, low energy, or thoughts of suicide can prevail, but here are four things everyone should know about it:

It May Be Caused by Something We Don’t Fully Understand Yet About Depression

The biology of depression is still a mystery in many ways. While people experience depressive symptoms and respond well to antidepressants, this would subscribe to the popular theory that depression is caused by low levels of neurotransmitters like norepinephrine and serotonin, which are both associated with feelings of happiness. However, recent research suggests that these are not the only sources of depression. Other theories point towards inflammation in the brain being a cause or result of depression.

Gender, Age, and Overall Health May Increase Your Risk of TRD

While there is no way to predict who will not respond to treatment for depression, research has suggested that certain populations are more vulnerable to treatment-resistant depression than others. For example, women or senior citizens, which is very likely due to biological and psychological functions. Someone who has had severe or recurrent bouts of depression could also be more susceptible to TRD. Additionally, conditions such as substance abuse can have the potential to make an individual more prone to TRD as well as the medical health of an individual.

There Are Methods Established for TRD

Many people may feel disheartened at seeing the expression “treatment-resistant depression,” especially those that have been looking for a solution for years. But the reality is that there are a number of tools that can provide support for people with TRD. A study published in 2012 identified five main strategies that psychiatrists can use to create a personalized plan to treat people with TRD including:

  • Optimization of medications. 
  • Switching medications. 
  • Somatic therapies, such as electroconvulsive therapy, repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation, transcranial direct current stimulation, magnetic seizure therapy, deep brain stimulation, and vagus nerve stimulation.
  • Using a combination of medications and therapies.
  • Augmentation with non-antidepressants, psychosocial and cultural therapies.

It’s important to remember that there are a variety of options for anyone who is experiencing TRD. A lot of the above treatments have been stigmatized in recent years, especially electroconvulsive therapy, but over the years, procedures have become safer and have been reserved for people with severe depression.

There Is New Research Being Conducted

There are a number of studies being conducted on treatment-resistant depression using a number of interventions including lorazepam, clonidine, ketamine, and scopolamine. Many studies that have been conducted have concluded that further research involving newer drugs is warranted to improve the quality of life of people. For many people experiencing treatment-resistant depression, they can naturally feel disheartened about the lack of progression, but it’s important to note that there are continuing clinical trials for treatment-resistant depression, and there are calls for clearer definitions to warrant better research.

It is something that clearly requires a lot more research, but treatment-resistant depression is something that may require a combination of methods. For those who have already tried antidepressants and they didn’t work, it can be easy to lose hope. We have to remember that there are a variety of factors at play when it comes to depression and, as a result, there is not a one-size-fits-all approach to dealing with it. Treatment-resistant depression can span a range of symptoms with varying severity, so some of the following may benefit: 

  • Increasing dosage. 
  • Adding another type of antidepressant. 
  • Incorporating psychological counseling, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, and group psychotherapy. 
  • Focusing on health by getting regular exercise, sleeping well, managing stress, and stopping the use of drink or drugs.

Reach out to Peaks Recovery

Treatment-resistant depression is not a rare occurrence in adults across the world. When we are looking at combating depression in all of its forms, it’s vital to know that the support is going to make a big difference to the person’s overall ability to deal with the symptoms. If you ever feel that depression is not subsiding or there are deeper-rooted issues at play, reaching out to Peaks Recovery will give you a grounding to understand that there are a wide variety of methods to combating depression.