Depression feels like a cellar wherein the sunlight enters, but doesn’t warm. It is agonizing to be trapped in such a dull, lifeless, often scary place…and all the more so when you’re trying hard to leave, but can’t find the exit.
This is the frequent experience of sufferers who are taking antidepressants as directed, but to no avail. Luckily, medicines for depression are evolving and emerging treatment options provide hope.
An Action Plan for When Medicines for Depression Fail
1. Explore Your Options
Depression treatment sometimes fails because the antidepressant you are taking isn’t suited to you or your needs. Other times, it may be because you are overlooking important details concerning how to take your medication. This is why it is important to speak to your doctor, ask questions, and fully understand your regimen. When beginning a course of antidepressants, you should have clear knowledge of the following:
- How long your antidepressant should take to work
- When and how your medication should be taken
- What side effects you may expect and how they might be managed
- Whether there may be other, better-suited options
2. Give It Time
Medicines for depression restore brain chemicals to normal levels, thereby allowing you to feel like your old self. This does not happen overnight, though. It takes time for your brain chemistry to change, and some experimentation may be required to determine an antidepressant dose that is appropriate for you.
3. Acknowledge When Depression Treatment Fails
The above notwithstanding, it is crucial to recognize when treatment fails. If after four to six weeks of trying two or more antidepressant medications at the maximum recommended dose you notice no meaningful reduction in symptoms, it is important to talk to your doctor about treatment-resistant depression (TRD). Up to 30% of those with depression suffer from this condition. Once TRD is identified, it is important to look to emerging treatment options, as severe and lasting damage can come of leaving mental health ailments unaddressed.
Ketamine therapy is a promising new avenue for treating depression that has shown to be remarkably effective against TRD. The drug’s unfortunate association with illicit use has long obscured its potential to provide life-saving mental health relief, and yet, in recent years, scientific research has been successful in overcoming this stigma. In 2019 the FDA approved esketamine—a ketamine-derived nasal spray—for TRD, signaling growing awareness of the drug’s life-saving potential.
Ketamine therapy prompts the increased release of glutamate in the brain cortex and stratum, while at once acting as an N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist. At the same time, ketamine stimulates the α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid (AMPA) receptor which, taken altogether, facilitates new inter-neuron communication that positively impacts mood. This innovative approach to treating TRD has shown remarkable success providing renewed hope to those who have failed to find solutions elsewhere.
To learn more about how ketamine therapy can relieve TRD, contact us at Vitalitas Denver, one of the few ketamine clinics to staff a psychiatrist and thus offering a full spectrum of mental healthcare.