Treatment-Resistant Depression: When Antidepressants Aren’t Working
Are you struggling with depression but not finding relief from antidepressants? You’re not alone. Treatment-resistant depression is common. In fact, one large study found that more than half of depressed patients did not experience full remission of their symptoms after taking antidepressants. And one-third still didn’t achieve remission after four courses of treatment with antidepressants.
What can you do if medication isn’t working for you?
1. Why Do Antidepressants Make Some People Better but not Others?
A 2018 study, which was conducted using brain SPECT imaging, found that people who didn’t respond to depression treatment had lower overall blood flow in the brain and particularly in key brain regions: frontal lobes, temporal lobes, parietal lobes, and parts of the hippocampus. For patients with low blood flow, antidepressants that enhance serotonin, known as SSRIs, may not be helpful since they tend to lower brain activity.
2. Know your Depression Type
Depression isn’t a simple or single disorder. In fact, brain imaging studies reveal that there are 7 types of depression and anxiety (anxiety often accompanies depression). Each type requires individualized treatment. The best way to know your type is with brain imaging, but most psychiatrists never look at the organ they treat.
3. Look for Biological Causes of Depression Symptoms
Did you know that the feelings of sadness, lack of motivation, irritability, and trouble concentrating associated with depression may actually be caused by biological issues? For example, neurohormonal problems, such as thyroid abnormalities, estrogen-progesterone imbalances, or testosterone issues can cause some of the same symptoms. Past head trauma and concussions can lead to symptoms of depression. And infections, such as Lyme disease, are often associated with the condition. If antidepressants aren’t working for you, it’s a good idea to see your healthcare professional to investigate these possibilities and treat them if necessary.
4. Consider Trying Natural Treatments
When antidepressants aren’t working, natural treatments may help. A healthy diet helps keep blood sugar levels stable to reduce anxiety, physical exercise releases feel-good neurotransmitters to boost your moods, and supplements provide your body with the micronutrients it needs to handle stress. Other natural treatment options include neurofeedback, hypnotherapy, IV nutrient therapy, and psychotherapy.
If you or a loved one is struggling with treatment-resistant depression, be reassured that antidepressants are not the only treatment option.
At Amen Clinics, we use brain SPECT imaging, as well as a comprehensive 4-circle approach that looks at biological, psychological, social, and spiritual elements to diagnose and treat depression symptoms. To learn more or to schedule your comprehensive evaluation, please visit us online or call 888-288-9834.