Treatment Options for Major Depressive Disorder
When considering treatments for depression, particularly treatment-resistant depression, there are many options. A few of the most common kinds of depression treatment for those suffering from major depressive disorder (MDD) are talk therapy, depression medication, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). When thinking about how to treat depression, it is important to look at a wide array of possible depression treatment options, as just one may be insufficient for a particularly severe case.
- Talk therapies, like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT), are crucial treatments for depression. It is important for patients to identify stressors and develop positive coping mechanisms or adjustment strategies. In order for talk therapy to be completely effective, however, an accompanying medication for depression is usually necessary.
- A common treatment for depression, depression medication, can be quite effective, if the side effects of antidepressants can be tolerated. In cases of treatment-resistant depression, options can be limited, as antidepressants do not tend to be successful in treating those cases.
- ECT is one of the more powerful treatments for depression and can be effective for patients who are at imminent risk for suicide or depressive cases marked by psychotic features, but the side effects of ECT can be severe.
TMS works as a depression treatment without debilitating side effects for patients that have not had success with depression medication.
Treatment-Resistant Depression Defined
Treatment-resistant depression is a term used in clinical psychiatry to describe cases of depression that have not responded to at least one failed trial of antidepressants.
Factors that contribute to nonresponsive, or inadequate, treatment include insufficient dosage, concurrent disorders, patient noncompliance or early discontinuation of treatment.
A common cause of early discontinuation of treatment is the side effects from the medication itself: patients are affected too negatively and opt to stop taking the medication altogether. Treatment-resistant depression options do exist. TMS is proven to be successful without the concurrent use of antidepressants; it is very helpful for patients with resistant depression or who are averse to taking depression medication because of side effects.