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What do you do when antidepressants aren’t working?

What do you do when antidepressants aren’t working?

Antidepressants have been one of the greatest tools of the last several decades, providing relief for countless patients. For some people, however, traditional, oral antidepressants are not the best answer for a patient due to a condition known as treatment-resistant depression, or TRD. In still other cases, a person may find that antidepressants stop working for them over time. When antidepressants don’t work for you, what options do you have?

Engage in proactive medication management with your doctor

When taking any prescribed medication, it is important to engage in proactive and effective medication management with your doctor. This means apprising your doctor on a regular basis of just how effective your medicine is. If you believe that your antidepressants are not working, let your doctor know. They can provide the guidance and recommendations you need to find a viable alternative.

Switch up your treatment plan

For many years, psychiatric professionals have believed that a combination of prescribed medications and psychotherapy is the best bet for patients with depression. If this traditional approach is not working for you, discuss the following options with your doctor:

  • Switching antidepressants
  • Adding another antidepressant to your regimen
  • Switching the form or increasing the frequency of psychotherapy used
  • Adding a group program to your individual therapy

Just as with medication, finding the right balance in your overall treatment plan is essential. By working in close consultation with your psychiatrist, you may well be able to overcome your treatment-resistant depressive symptoms.

Can you still have bad days on antidepressants

Yes, most certainly. Depression is a cyclical condition, and some days are easier than others. Additionally, your medication may be more effective on one day and not so effective the next.

Can you become immune to antidepressants

Many patients can develop a tolerance to antidepressants over time. If you have been on oral antidepressants for some time, you may begin to realize that you are no longer feeling the same benefits from your medication that you experienced in the earlier stages of treatment. Building a tolerance, too, may mean that you need more medication to get similar results, which can lead to an increase in side effects.

How do I know if my antidepressants have stopped working

If you suspect that your oral antidepressants are no longer working, look for the following:

  • A consistent increase in your levels of anxiety, irritability or sadness
  • Depression that interferes with your quality of life or ability to function
  • Insomnia
  • Excess side effects, including nausea, headaches, weight gain and sexual dysfunction

In some cases, patients may also experience suicidal ideation. If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 immediately.

What other options are out there for TRD

There are alternatives to traditional interventions out there. One FDA-approved treatment option includes Spravato®, an esketamine nasal spray, which has delivered demonstrable results to patients with treatment-resistant depression. If you have been receiving regular treatment for depression and experiencing little to no improvement, or if you feel your oral antidepressants are no longer delivering results, Spravato may help. This prescribed medication is taken in tandem with oral antidepressants and is particularly effective for those with treatment-resistant depression, or TRD.

If you are experiencing TRD or feel that your antidepressants are no longer working, you do have other choices. Get in touch with a medical professional today to discuss your options, including interventions such as Spravato that can supplement traditional oral antidepressants and help you conquer your depressive symptoms.