Depression is a common mental health condition, affecting an estimated 15 million to 20 million adults in America each year. Although medications and talk therapy can be highly effective for many, about a third of individuals may not respond fully to treatment. These individuals may have what is known as treatment-resistant depression.
What Is Treatment-Resistant Depression?
If your medications are being properly managed and you have not responded sufficiently to at least two different antidepressants, then your depression is considered treatment-resistant depression.
Treatment Options for Severe Depression
If you have been diagnosed with treatment-resistant depression, we offer advanced treatment options that are not widely available elsewhere, including:
These treatments affect each person differently and may not be appropriate for some individuals. UC San Diego Health mental health professionals will work with you to find a modality that is right for you.
Why Don't Antidepressants Work for Everyone?
There are many possible reasons for not responding to antidepressant therapy. Sometimes the medications are not managed correctly. The dose can be too low, for example, or the medication may not have been given sufficient time to take full effect. Some people may not take their medications as prescribed because of the drugs' side effects.
Standard treatments may also be less successful among individuals with other mental health challenges, notably substance use disorders or severe anxiety, or chronic health conditions. Major life stressors such as a death in the family or loss of a job may also complicate and impair a person's response to therapy.
If any of these factors are present, dealing with these confounding issues should be part of your treatment plan.