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What to do if You’re Struggling with Treatment-Resistant Depression

TMS Gaithersburg Experts Review Your Treatment Options for Depression

Living with depression can be challenging. For most people with this mental health disorder, they are able to manage it with medication and/or therapy. But for those struggling with treatment-resistant depression, these standard practices aren’t enough to improve their symptoms. TMS Gaithersburg experts, the Psych Associates of Maryland, review your options for dealing with treatment-resistant depression in our latest blog post. 

What Is Treatment-Resistant Depression?

TMS Gaithersburg experts explain what constitutes treatment-resistant depression

woman speaking to mental health counselor

Treatment-resistant depression refers to depression that does not respond to two or more medications. Some people don’t respond to their first medication, so treatment-resistant depression isn’t entirely uncommon. Others receive only partial relief with their medication. Side effects such as insomnia or low libido can also make people feel worse rather than better after going on these medications. 

Why don’t depression medications work for everyone?

There are numerous reasons why it doesn’t feel like your medication is working. You might just need to give your prescription more time. It usually takes four to eight weeks for a medication to take full effect and for any side effects to ease up. 

Certain populations, including women and elderly citizens, are at a higher risk of developing treatment-resistant depression than other populations. People who experience other illnesses like chronic pain in addition to their depression are also more likely to experience treatment-resistant depression. 

Medical researchers are still studying the biological causes of depression. Many studies have found that people with low levels of neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine are at an increased risk of developing depression. However, new studies have suggested that inflammation in the brain could also cause depression. If you are on a medication that targets these neurotransmitters, that could be why you are not responding to treatment. 

Signs That You Are Struggling with Treatment-Resistant Depression

How to know if you have treatment-resistant depression

person wringing their hands

If you find that your medication isn’t working even after waiting eight weeks, you might have to visit your doctor for an alternative treatment. They may have you try a different medication. If that medication doesn’t work either, the physician may conclude that you have treatment-resistant depression. 

Whatever you do, don’t change up your medication dosage on your own. If you are worried about the effects of your medication, you should schedule an appointment with your physician. Your doctor might want to try a different type of depression medication or even add another medication if you are only experiencing partial relief. 

If none of these medications work, you still have numerous treatment options to try for your depression. 

Options for Managing Treatment-Resistant Depression

Alternative options like TMS by Gaithersburg mental health experts could help you

patient and physician

If your symptoms are not improving even after going on medication, you still have numerous treatment options to try. 

Psychological Counseling

While medications can improve your mood, they do not help you address any problems or stressors in your life that could be causing your depression. Psychological therapy with or without medication can help you address problems that could be worsening your depression, such as emotional trauma or substance use issues.

There are different types of therapy available for treating depression:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Treatment where your mental health counselor helps you address negative thinking patterns and teaches you skills for coping with some of life’s biggest challenges
  • Family Therapy: If you are having trouble with your partner or certain members of your family, working it out through counseling may help alleviate your depression 
  • Group Therapy: Group therapy settings where you can work with a counselor alongside a group of people struggling with similar issues can be beneficial
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy: People struggling with chronic suicidal thoughts or self-harm often benefit from dialectical behavioral therapy

Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)

Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) is typically used for patients struggling with severe major depression and who have not responded to other treatments. During an ECT session, you will be put under general anesthesia as small electric currents are passed through your brain. This triggers a mild seizure. Medical professionals have found that ECT is effective in alleviating symptoms of different mental health disorders. 

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)

During a Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) session, a healthcare professional places an electromagnetic coil against your scalp. This coil creates electrical currents that stimulate the nerve cells in your brain responsible for mood control. 

Lifestyle Changes

Making lifestyle changes like eating healthier and exercising on a regular basis can supplement your current treatment. Getting enough sleep in and avoiding drugs and alcohol can also help improve your moods. 


Dealing with treatment-resistant depression is never easy. Sometimes, additional treatment options like ECT or TMS by Gaithersburg mental health efforts are needed. If you are struggling with treatment-resistant depression, the Psych Associates of Maryland are here to help you. Contact our team today to schedule an appointment.

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