What Is Treatment-Resistant Depression?

What Is Treatment-Resistant Depression?

Depression is a common mental health struggle. While some individuals experience relief from their depressive symptoms through traditional treatment methods, many experience treatment-resistant depression (TRD). TRD can make living with depression even more challenging.

Understanding Depression

There are many different kinds of depression, but the most common is major depressive disorder. Depression deeply impacts the way an individual feels. It can create negative thought patterns and it can affect the way that a person deals with their day-to-day responsibilities. It can also affect other daily habits, such as sleeping, eating, socializing, or working.

For most people, depression is treatable. The earlier an individual start participating in treatment, the more effective the treatment can be. Depression is most often treated with medications, psychotherapy (also known as talk therapy), or a combination of the two. While depression is treatable, it can take some trial and error to find the treatment that will work best to treat an individual’s symptoms.

Treatment-Resistant Depression

Sometimes, a person might try a variety of treatments to ease their depressive symptoms and find little to no relief. If an individual has been treated for depression but realizes that their symptoms have not improved, they are likely battling treatment-resistant depression. This can be the case if an individual’s symptoms do not respond to standard treatments or if they have recurring symptoms. 

If a person finds themselves dealing with TRD, they will want to ask their general practitioner to recommend a treatment center or other physician specializing in treating psychiatric disorders. Finding a team that understands the specific obstacles that a person with TRD faces is essential. Once an individual has people on their side that are familiar with TRD and how to properly diagnose and treat it, that will make a big difference on their path to recovery. 

Treatments to Consider for TRD

When a person begins working with a mental health professional, they will consider several things together while determining the correct treatment plan. The first thing that they might explore is the potential presence of any co-occurring disorders. Treating depression can be much harder if there are undiagnosed contributing factors or disorders. Ruling out any other possibilities and ensuring a correct diagnosis is vital for effective treatment and recovery.

Medication Management

Focusing on different medication strategies is also a common step in the process of putting together a treatment plan. A mental health team will consider many different strategies while figuring out what medications might work best for any given individual. Clients will most likely need to discuss what type of medications they have tried in the past and what their experiences were. Healthcare professionals might prescribe new medications, new dosages of medications, or different combinations of medications. It is imperative that clients stick to the treatment plan as prescribed by their doctor to properly acknowledge whether the treatment is working. It is essential to foster open communication with one’s treatment team throughout this process.


Psychotherapy is another common factor that will likely be included in an individual’s treatment plan. Finding the right therapy and the right therapist can take some trial and error. Fortunately, there are many different types of therapies. If a person finds that one course of therapy is not particularly helpful, they will need to talk to her mental health team about utilizing a new approach. An individual will work with several healthcare professionals to find the right type of therapy that will be most beneficial for them. 

Being open and honest with all the medical and mental health professionals that a person is working with is the best way that a person can ensure that a treatment plan is working for them. Communicating personal thoughts and feelings will help the doctors determine what is and isn’t effective throughout the treatment process. It is essential to self-advocate during treatment and recovery.

Alternative Treatments for TRD 

There are some more intensive treatments available for TRD. The following options are not offered by all treatment centers. Likewise, an individual will need to discuss these options with their healthcare team to determine whether or not they will be beneficial. Some of these treatments include:

  • Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS)
  • IV ketamine transfusion therapy
  • Electroconvulsive therapy

Any treatment plan should be carefully considered. Individuals will need to explore the pros and cons of each approach and follow any advice recommended by medical professionals.

Finding Extra Support

Living with treatment-resistant depression can be overwhelming, and it may be easy to feel defeated at times. While finding the course of treatment that works, it is important to have a support system in place. Individuals should educate their friends and loved ones about their experiences with TRD and let them know how they can best support them. Individuals can find support groups, therapy options, and many other services to help themselves and their loved ones at Alter Wellness Care. Raising awareness can be a very helpful tool to foster greater understanding and empathy for all who struggle with mental health disorders.

Treatment-resistant depression does not have to hold you back from living the life you envision for yourself. There are treatment plans and options out there that can help you reach your goals. If you or your loved ones need extra support while learning to cope with treatment-resistant depression, Alter Wellness Care can help you. We have an understanding and caring team of professionals who will support you during every step of the process. We offer a variety of services that will be beneficial for you. We work closely with our clients to determine what their needs are. Call us today at (866) 311-3510 for more information on treatment-resistant depression and how we can help you get your life back. 

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