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Understanding Treatment-Resistant Depression

Sep 01, 2022
Understanding Treatment-Resistant Depression
If you’ve tried several antidepressants and haven’t gotten relief, you may feel like it’s hopeless. But this condition is called treatment-resistant depression, and there’s hope for you.

Getting effective treatment for your depression is always possible. But it may not always be easy. Even if your depression is relatively uncomplicated, you may still have to try different doses or several antidepressants to find relief from your symptoms. 

If your depression doesn’t seem to respond to antidepressants, you may feel discouraged, which is understandable, especially if you expected otherwise. This condition is called treatment-resistant depression. The providers at Nurocoach are specialists in treatment-resistant depression and can help you get the relief you deserve.

What is treatment-resistant depression?

Most depression can be treated well by medication and therapy. Some medication management may be necessary to find the correct dosage or possibly even a combination of medicines. But sometimes, your depression doesn’t get much better (or even better at all.) 

If this is your situation, you will likely get the label of having treatment-resistant depression. This label may sound discouraging, but it really means you’ll have to work a little harder with your provider to find more solutions.

What causes treatment-resistant depression?

The causes of treatment-resistant depression vary depending on the individual. Some of the more common causes include the following:

  • Misdiagnosis

Some people are incorrectly diagnosed with depression when they have another mental illness. One of the most common conditions that contribute to misdiagnosis is bipolar disorder. Depression is one of the symptoms of bipolar disorder, which makes a misdiagnosis more likely, especially if you seek medical attention during the depressive phase of the illness. You may need different or additional medication if you have another issue.

Other diseases can have depression symptoms as well, which warrants further investigation. 

  • Genetics

There’s a lot we don’t know about the causes of depression. One of the unknown factors is the genetic component. People who don’t respond well to antidepressants often have other family members with similar reactions.

How to manage treatment-resistant depression

If your depression is treatment-resistant, it doesn’t always mean that treatment won’t work for you — it may simply mean that you need something more in addition to your antidepressant.

Some of the most commonly-used procedures for treatment-resistant depression include the following:

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)

Although it has largely fallen out of favor in recent decades, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) may be a preferred remedy when other treatments fail. If you’ve heard horror stories about ECT, it’s good to know that the procedure has evolved and improved in recent years.


This drug was formerly a popular, illegally-used drug on the club scene. Today, ketamine is more reputable, especially when used therapeutically in a controlled setting with a medical provider.

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)

Transcranial magnetic stimulation, or TMS, is a safe and painless way to treat your depression. Unlike other treatments, TMS doesn’t require sedation or anesthesia, and you can return to your normal activities immediately afterward.

TMS uses magnets, similar to MRI machines, to transmit energy to targeted areas in your brain. For many people, this provides effective relief from depression.

If you have depression and haven’t been getting adequate relief from antidepressant medication, more options are available to help you. Contact our Nurocoach providers today or request an appointment online for a consultation at one of our offices in Katy or Houston, Texas.