What to do if your antidepressant isn’t working

What to do if antidepressants do not work

Modern antidepressants don’t work right away, but they can work wonders.

However, many people are concerned that even after several weeks or months of their use, their mood and mental state do not improve. This is especially true for people with severe or chronic depression.

  • Despite their proven effectiveness, antidepressants are not a great treatment option for all people.
  • Some studies show that the recurrence rate of the disease is 20-30% within one year.

A relapse of depression is a situation in which fatigue, sadness, irritation, guilt, and other symptoms return after an apparent recovery.

Why antidepressants lose effectiveness

Researchers remind that the effectiveness of a given drug can vary from person to person. It is influenced by the severity of the disease, gender and other characteristics.

However, the antidepressant may stop working as expected for other reasons, such as:

  • Diseases that worsen depression. The nervous system is very sensitive to hormones produced in the body. For example, such diseases as hypothyroidism are accompanied by a deficiency in thyroid hormones. Insufficient level of thyroid hormones makes the depression more severe.
  • Nicotine and alcohol. These substances themselves can contribute to poor mental health. Combining alcohol with antidepressants is most often strictly prohibited. Violation of this prohibition can result in very severe side effects.
  • You have started using a new medicine. One drug may make another drug less effective, or the combination may increase the risk of side effects. This is called drug interactions. Avoid using multiple medicines unless recommended by your doctor.
  • Drug resistance. Receptors in the brain may become less responsive to the drug. This can happen with inadequate treatment – low dosage, misdiagnosis, early discontinuation of treatment, concomitant mental disorders.
  • Age. With increasing age, more and more changes occur in the body. The functioning of the digestive system and internal organs changes. All these lead to the alternation of the way that the body processes and responds to drugs, compared to the way it used to do before.

Back to treatment

Use of antidepressants should lead to positive changes in life and our well-being. If you understand the reason why the antidepressant drugs stopped working for you, you should resolve the situation.

You can do it in the following ways:

  • Change the dosage
  • Use another drug
  • Add other drugs
  • Resort to psychotherapy