Treatment-Resistant Depression (TRD)

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At least 6.8 million American adults are estimated to be directly affected by depression. Of those people, slightly less than half are actively receiving treatment for this condition. This is worrisome, and many people struggle silently with their depression symptoms. Therefore, getting as many people into treatment as possible is essential. However, it is also important to note that some people experience something known as treatment-resistant depression (TRD).

What is Treatment-Resistant Depression?

The struggles one goes through when combating treatment-resistant depression are very challenging to overcome. The reason is that those with TRD symptoms often feel frustrated and do not respond well to traditional depression treatment options. The National Library of Medicine defines TRD in the following way:

Treatment-resistant depression falls under the umbrella of a Major Depressive Disorder. However, TRD is not something that traditional therapeutic options can effectively manage.

The inability to see concrete results from traditional methods of treatment is something that can be understandably frustrating. In some cases, it may cause a patient to want to throw in the towel and give up on treatment options.

Woman sitting on the floor with her hands on her neck, tear-stains on her face.

How can Treatment-Resistant Depression be Identified?

The only way to begin to address the problem of treatment-resistant depression is to identify it. Patients who have visited their doctor with concerns about depression will likely be prescribed antidepressant drugs to help them manage symptoms. Antidepressants can be highly effective for many people and are often used to tackle common cases of depression. However, this measure will not be effective for people dealing with treatment-resistant depression.

Those who have been prescribed antidepressants, take them as prescribed, and have not seen any improvement in their symptoms should ask their doctor some follow-up questions about the possibility of TRD in their life. Patients should ask their doctor if they can be referred to a psychiatrist.

How Can a Psychiatrist Assist a TRD Patient?

The role of the psychiatrist is to review the potential symptoms of various treatments. While also  discussing options with the patient to see how they might want to address the issue. Mental health professionals sometimes encourage alternative therapies to help people struggling with TRD. 

It is essential for a psychiatrist to fully understand the patient’s depression symptoms and prior treatments before formally diagnosing a patient with TRD. There are many factors professionals will consider when discussing depression symptoms.

Here are some things that a psychiatrist may do to try to help manage depression symptoms:

Speak with Patients About Life Factors that May Contribute to TRD

Many psychiatrists will need to get into the details of a person’s life to figure out which factors may contribute to issues with TRD. They will want to examine the patient’s life to determine why persistent depression has become the norm. Being as open and honest as possible with the psychiatrist is best. The only way they can do the job is if patients are truthful.

Review Medications

There is a possibility that a person has not been prescribed a medication that works for them. A person’s brain and body may be completely resistant to all depression medications and forms of treatment. However, it is also possible that a person may simply need to have their various medications reviewed to see if there are additional options that may be to their benefit to use. A psychiatrist can help people figure out this aspect of their treatment regime.

Physical Health Condition

Mental health and physical health often play hand-in-hand. Thus, a psychiatrist needs to look at the physical factors of a patient’s health. Some health factors may play a role in depressive symptoms.

Look at the Possibility of Other Mental Health Conditions

There is a possibility that what appears to be depression may be another health condition entirely. All options must be considered before someone is diagnosed with TRD.

It is essential to eliminate all other possibilities before moving on to the treatment and management stage of TRD. If all other treatments do not work, the person may have TRD.

Medication Strategy for Combating TRD

It is possible that your treatment-resistant depression can be conquered if specific measures are taken. This may involve looking at a revamped medication strategy that will work better for you. Some mental health professionals want patients to consider a combination of antidepressant medications.

In some cases, it just takes time for a patient to find the right medication strategy. However, for those patients who find no relief, there are other therapies, including TMS and other options.

Therapist/psychiatrist writes in his notebook as he talks to his patient.

Treating TRD with TMS

Patients with treatment-resistant depression may struggle after trying various antidepressants or therapies that did not help their depression symptoms. However, there are other methods used to treat TRD. Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) offers people with TRD a solution to their symptoms.

TMS therapy treats depression by using electromagnetic pulses to send signals that stimulate the brain. This therapy has successfully treated patients who do not respond to classes of antidepressants or other therapies. TMS therapy is a noninvasive procedure that has very minimal side effects. This method of treatment has proven to be effective when it comes to treating TRD in many patients.

We Can Help

At Inland Empire TMS, we treat TRD with TMS brain stimulation therapy. Our patients receive the help and treatment they need to move past their TRD symptoms. We use trusted TMS therapies to treat people with TRD.

People struggling with TRD may feel hopeless or like no treatment can ease their symptoms. However, TMS has been proven to treat TRD effectively in our patients. Reach out to us to learn more about TMS therapies and our services. We help support and guide our patients through the therapeutic process.

Contact us to learn more about TRD and the treatments we provide.