Treatment-Resistant Depression

I'm wondering if anyone else here has had any experience with treatment-resistant depression. I was put on anti-depressants at age 15 (I'm 27 now). I've been tried on different doses and combinations of SSRI's, atypical antidepressants, mood stabilizers, etc. Also undergone extensive therapy with multiple doctors over the last decade, and been hospitalized twice. Basically, it has reached the point where despite any of these interventions I am in and out of a severely depressive state (whether on or off of medications). I'm wondering if anyone else has been in this boat, and how they have dealt with it. I'm unwilling to try any more medications, due to the fact that they have done more harm than good, and I'm not willing to run the risk of becoming more anhedonic (I've had a harder and harder time getting back to a baseline with each medication they've tried, and have been told that it is most likely because of the SSRI's at such a young age, and their risk of permanent damage to the serotonin receptors that are having a hard enough time as is).

7 Replies

  • Hi Bun Bun, I take it this is your first Post..... Welcome to the Forum.

    I am afraid I have no personal experience with treatment resistant Depression,

    But are you not very young at 27 to give up on the medication route.

    I do have a friend who had that type of Depression and the one thing that

    Helped was ECT, she was much older than you.

    I'm surprised that your Drs cannot help as there is always hope. Don't give up

    Your search and maybe try other avenues, Therapy and support Groups.

    I'm not sure what else I can say to you, as you seem sure that you

    Are done with antidepressants and that's your decision.


  • I would say after over a decade of different types (over a dozen), doses, and combinations I'm not really too young. I've spent more than half of my life sick and over medicated. I'm not willing to go through the side effects and then the withdrawal when the meds don't work again. As far as therapy and groups I haven't found either helpful despite being fully open and honest each time. I can talk until the cows come home about how depressed I am and any bad things that have happened, but in the end it just ends up being the same thing I've told multiple groups and doctors. Talking about it hasn't even made it better. I know that it does for some people, but I've never found any sort of relief from it. I was considering looking into ECT since I can't live like this anymore.

  • Please don't even think of ECT bun bun I think it is awful and there is no scientific proof that it works and even if it seems to no one knows how or why.

    I have heard some pretty awful stories or people suffering permanent memory loss and even brain damage from it. Please do as much reading about it as you can if you still want to go ahead.

    Have you ever been on a CBT (cognitive behavioural thereapy) course? That might help you as it has a different approach to other therapies.

    If you are determined not to take ad's any more, and in a way I don't blame you, then you need to look at natural ways to help depression like exercise, diet, vitamins and stuff like St. John's Wort etc. There is lots of research online about it. Good luck.

    Oh and welcome to the site. x

  • I was in an outpatient CBT group about a year ago. I've found that no matter what I try it doesn't seem to make much of an impact. Even trying different coping techniques, exercise, thought records, etc. doesn't lessen the frequency or degree of depression. I've mentioned St. John's Wort to doctors before but have been advised against it due to my medical history (also have issues with infertility).

  • Hi

    I totally understand how you are feeling. Yes, we are all different, but I have had depression and generalised anxiety disorder and post traumatic stress since the year 2000, when I was involved in a light aircraft crash. I have been on so many different anti-depressants over the years, had CBT, seen several Psychiatrists, been to groups, had community mental psychiatric nurses, psychiatric social worker.

    I was admitted to hospital firstly for 3 months, then for 6 months and finally 3 months, and during this stay, I underwent ECT, PLEASE, be very careful about going this route. The doctors never tell you what to expect. I have lost most of my long term memory, and a lot of short term memory. I am 53 years old, I have lost most of my lifes memories, and can barely remember what happened yesterday. It traumatised my family on seeing me after each session. I had no idea who my husband and family were, obviously this part wore off over a short period, but the overall memory side of things has gone for ever. Had I known what to expect, I never would have agreed to it, but at the time, I was not eating or drinking, and it was a last resort so they said, so we agreed I would go ahead.

    I am so sorry to say that over 14 years have passed, and I am still suffering with the depression and GAD. I was told to contact LIFT, who you can refer yourself to for help, maybe they could help you, sadly they did not help me. I am on a waiting list (approx 9 months apparently), to be seen at my local hospital by the Health Psychology people.

    I try to keep going for my Husband and family, I am sure you have people in your life who love you very very much and that we need to keep in the fore front of our minds.

    I am sorry that I have not been able to give you any help, but remember, you are not alone. Take good care and keep going.

    Best wishes to you


  • Hi, I totally feel for you. I have been on antidepressants, almost every one you can imagine sine the birth of my son who died before delivery full term to the day 22 years ago. Not a single minute of any day, 365 days a year goes by without me thinking of the loss and trauma. I too have been under psychiatrist, had cbt, help groups etc, but nothing works, when people say "i know what you mean" they really do not. Ect was mentioned but disregarded as the only memories I have of him could well be taken away. I was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder, and the treatment for that is also inappropriate as the memories are too cherished to lose.

    I just have to think, well I try my best everyday to get through that day. Mental health problems are no different to any other illness or disease, we just dont walk around with a bandage on show. My depression has taken me to very dark places, and now I just think well I cannot do certain things in life, but I am here, which is a godsend, as I thought I might not be. I have chronic anxiety, dont go out alone anywhere, but it could be worse. I still take sertraline, 3 a day, and propranalol, I dont know now if they help or not, but if it means just taking a tablet everyday allows me to wake up, not be normal as I knew it, but try and carry on, then so be it! I wish you strength and hope, and the determination and pride that you can handle this dreadful illness which some have in different degrees, and you are a strong person for being able to try and cope with depression.

    Best regards Emm.

  • i can't comment on how well ECT might suit,

    This might be a case of "teaching grandma to suck eggs" , but i was having another look at ACT. Part of the philosophy involves identifying and acting on your values... no it's not about being all moral and holy ....

    To give an example of my own, i do value having a living space that is usable and relatively uncluttered... And i am embarrassed to admit how long the place has been a chaotic mess .... anyway a couple of months ago i got fed up with things, and acted ---finally on what i valued..... ok not the most enjoyable or interesting few weeks....and painfully slow progress, , ,, but i'm hoping that the results will bear a practical as well as an emotional way..

    Anyway not sure if you have already comes across ACT therapy, it's a path i think i'll explore again.

    I hope you find a way upwards.. A

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