It can seem cruel when you're doing everything right - seeing a doctor and taking the prescribed medication - when your depression simply does not improve. It can feel like you’re totally alone and you’re never going to get well again, but you shouldn’t give up hope because you are not alone and many people who have been in your exact situation have eventually found relief from their symptoms.
Here’s what to do if your depression medication doesn’t work:
Give it Time
For some people, antidepressants can kick in almost overnight, whereas for others it can take weeks or even months for any progress to be made. It is important, then, that you don’t give up and throw your pills away after a few days. Give your medication a real chance to kick in before you seek other options for managing your depression.
Go Back to Your Doctor/ Try a Different Medication
If your medication isn’t working, it’s a good idea to go back and talk to your doctor. Just because one type of medication hasn’t worked for you doesn’t mean that none of them will and it may be worth trying a few different medications/combinations of medication to see if any of them can help.
If you aren’t already involved with therapy, it may be a good idea to try it in conjunction with your medication. It is often the case that medication alone is not effective, but when combined with good therapy it can make a world of difference. The medication stabilizes you just enough that you can work on your issues and the therapy allows you to get to the root of your depression so you can start dealing with it more effectively.
Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle
Make sure you are making healthy choices when it comes to your diet and exercise. Limit caffeine around bedtime to make sure you are getting enough rest. Eat vitamin-rich foods that can help combat depression and avoid excessive sugar. Consider exercising a few times a week since it can help you release endorphins, gain confidence, have social interactions and release tension. Yoga can be especially helpful.
Unfortunately, for some people, antidepressant medications are simply not effective under any circumstances. These people have what is known as treatment-resistant depression and they will need to look at alternatives to medication in order to get well again.
Of all the alternative depression treatments, one of the most promising is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS). This is a therapy we offer here at MidValley Healthcare that stimulates areas of the brain that are less active than they should be. It is totally non-invasive and has been proven to be effective with the American Psychiatric Association recommending it as a second-line of treatment for adults who have not been helped by antidepressants.
If your depression medication isn’t working, don’t accept the status quo. Work with your doctor to find a solution that does work for you, the above options are just some of the treatments available to you.