If you’re struggling with depression, it can be hard to figure out exactly what type of treatment to seek out.
Although we’re getting much better as a society when it comes to talking about mental illness, there’s still a widespread lack of empathy for those that suffer from conditions like anxiety and depression. Treatments are available for people that need them, but what about when these traditional treatments, like medication and therapy, don’t work?
We’re taught that these things are the path forward, but depression isn’t so predictable that the same treatments can be used for every patient. Some people need either something more or something different. We can’t forget that depression is ultimately a life-threatening disease.
Below are signs that your current depression treatment isn’t working. When you’re in the thick of it, it’s tough to recognize whether or not a form of therapy or type of medication is actually helping. If any of the following signs are occurring in your situation, it could be time to try a new treatment.
1. Anti-Depressants Aren’t Working
Anti-depressant medications come in various forms depending on the type of depression that you’re diagnosed with. SSRIs, which work to boost the chemical serotonin in the brain, are the most common types of anti-depressants. SNRIs work on both serotonin and norepinephrine, while pharmaceuticals like Bupropion may be in a different classification of antidepressants.
Getting the right medication prescribed to you can take time. It’s said that just 3 out of 5 people experience varying degrees of relief on the first medication that they try out. Most medications are prescribed for 4-6 weeks and if there’s no change in your condition after that, then you’ve got to either try a different form of treatment or at least try another type of anti-depressant.
So, give it time. It’s important not to stop taking the medication on your own because abrupt cessation can cause withdrawal symptoms – headache, nausea, anxiety, etc. Let your doctor know that your medication isn’t doing enough for you and they may prescribe you a different medication or go back to the drawing board.
Being communicative with your medical doctor and therapist is so important to get the right type of treatment. If you find yourself resistant to multiple forms of medication, you may have what doctors call “treatment-resistant” depression.
2. Psychotherapy Doesn’t Help
Another first step in treating depression is to undergo psychotherapy with a licensed therapist.
Psychotherapy, aka “talk therapy”, is what doctors prescribe when they deem that a patient has a mild or moderate form of depression. It’s used as a treatment for various types of mental illness, whereby a therapist and patient discuss symptoms, triggers, and anything else having to do with a patient’s mental and emotional state.
There are numerous styles of talk therapy that a therapist might go to in order to assist a patient. What they use could depend on the illness that you’re dealing with and your personal preference as the patient.
Around 75% of people that undergo psychotherapy experience some benefits, usually alongside some form of medication. The numbers are good, but that still leaves 25% of those that have tried psychotherapy in need of something more. It takes time to work, but if you just don’t feel right about therapy, then you could have a more severe type of depression than talk therapy is designed to assist.
What does not feeling better really mean? It’s a vague statement, but in essence, if you have symptoms that prevent you from sleeping, eating, working, or taking any enjoyment from life, then psychotherapy alone isn’t the answer.
3. Significant Side Effects From Medications
Anti-depressants are strong medications that have side effects like any other type of drug. That said, if you’re experiencing symptoms from your anti-depressants that outweigh the good that they do for your mental health, then it can really put a damper on things. Typical symptoms from SSRIs include nausea, vomiting, weight gain, drowsiness, diarrhea, and sexual problems.
This can be so frustrating because even if you’ve found a medication that helps you, there could be side effects that prevent you from living a high-quality life. Some side effects decrease as your body gets used to the medication, but if they’re ongoing and severe, then you may need further medications to combat them. If that doesn’t work, you’ll have to try another anti-depressant and potentially, a different type of treatment altogether.
4. You Still Struggle With Symptoms
Depression is a complicated illness that can have many effects and symptoms. No two people suffer from the exact same sort of illness because it’s often informed by other things that are going on in one’s life.
Take psychotic depression, for example, which can cause sufferers to see and feel things that aren’t actually there. While normal anti-depressants could help with one side of their symptoms, these drugs aren’t designed to treat symptoms of an illusory nature. This type of mental illness should be treated with a different type of drug or maybe even a more intense type of therapy.
It should also be noted that depression occurs alongside other mental illnesses, like anxiety, PTSD, and substance abuse. These other conditions can’t be treated with depression drugs alone, so a patient is likely to experience some relief, but not complete relief. Each illness, whether mental or physical, needs to be treated separately in order for the depression medication to work properly.
If You’re Still Struggling With Depression, There Are Other Options
If you’re still struggling with depression even after medication, therapy, or a combination of both, it’s important to understand that you’ve got options. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation is a proven, breakthrough form of therapy that heals specific parts of the brain to improve mental and neuropathic disorders without medication.
At Brain Therapy TMS, you’ll get a recognized leader in TMS treatment in Southern California, using the latest tech to resolve your mental disorder. All of our clients get individualized treatment plans that focus on your specific illness and your road to recovery. If they aren’t working, then stop taking medications and heal your brain with a simple and effective treatment process.