Treatment resistant depression is a severe depressive illness where the symptoms of depression do not respond to treatment or keep recurring.
There is some debate as to diagnosis criteria of treatment resistant depression, but in general if someone has tried antidepressants from two different classes and failed to respond, then it might be time to consider whether they have treatment resistant depression.
Treatment resistant depression is a very frustrating and distressing illness; sufferers and their families may feel huge relief that things seem to be getting better, only to be knocked back when they get worse again.
Despite its name, there are effective treatment options for treatment resistant depression, but it is important to get an accurate diagnosis to start with.
Bipolar disorder and psychosis are two diagnoses that may be considered when someone fails to respond to medication and treatment adequately.
It has also been suggested that patients who experience repeat episodes of depression should have another assessment to ensure that they haven’t developed another mental health condition that requires a different medication regime.
The doctor was very thorough and took their time to understand my history of mental illness, I felt like I was really listened to and that they cared about helping me get better.
We do not always know why some people have treatment resistant depression but the following factors could contribute:
Depression symptoms can be made worse by several factors, which might mean it is harder to effectively treat depression.
There are options available for help with treatment resistant depression.
The most important step is to get a thorough assessment with an experienced psychiatrist, who will be able to rule out any underlying health issues and investigate any factors that might have been previously neglected.
Talking therapies have been found to help improve the symptoms of depression. A study from 19972 found that for more severe cases of treatment resistant depression, treatment was more successful where psychotherapy and medication were combined than these treatments alone.
Electrical currents are passed through the brain to trigger a seizure. There can be side effects such as confusion or temporary retrograde amnesia but for some patients ECT offers immediate relief of severe depression.
Not currently available on the NHS due to costs, it applies magnetic fields to alter brain activity.