Refractory depression, also known as treatment-resistant depression (TRD) or drug-resistant depression (DRD), is a form of major depressive disorder that failed to respond to at least two antidepressant treatments.
To get a better understanding of this serious mental health condition, we'll walk you through the signs, symptoms, and treatment plan for refractory depression.
Refractory depression results from a failed response to sufficient treatment for a depressive disorder. This means that symptoms are exacerbating despite taking antidepressants or going to psychotherapy.
Pay attention to the following indicators of treatment-resistant depression:
A wide range of factors can cause refractory depression. When diagnosing treatment-resistant depression, psychiatrists usually watch out for these causes:
There is no established set of diagnostic criteria for refractory depression. Doctors come to this diagnosis if a patient has tried at least two different types of antidepressants but did not gain improvement. They will also assess the following:
The following individuals have been considered by medical professionals to be susceptible to treatment-resistant depression:
There are several methods to treat refractory depression — from pharmacologic to psychotherapeutic. Psychiatrists will often try these methods simultaneously to see what works for the patient.
If you’ve taken one type of antidepressant without much success, your psychiatrist can prescribe another from a different drug class. It could be a:
For some patients, a combination of two antidepressants may work better. Your doctor will assess if this approach is more suitable for your condition.
This involves the use of other medications and nutritional supplements with an antidepressant. Examples are:
Some patients do not respond well to the pharmacologic approach. Instead, they find the psychotherapeutic approach, like dialectical behavioral therapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy, more effective. It can also be combined with medication intake for a synergistic effect.
In some cases, doctors use neurological stimulation to treat recurring depression.
The proof that the combination of stimulants with antidepressants for refractory depression is still inconclusive. But experts have begun using the following to manage the condition:
The success of treatment for severe depression is dependent on proper diagnosis and patient compliance to medication and/or therapy.
If you're looking for a clinical practice specializing in psychiatric disorders, reach out to us at Luminous Vitality Behavioral Health. Our experienced depression psychiatrists conduct both in-person and telehealth consultations to support you.