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When you’re looking to feel better, either mentally or physically, your first instinct is to research treatments that can help. For mental disorders like major depressive disorder, you’ve probably heard of many different options that you can try to reduce your symptoms, such as antidepressants. But what if those don’t work?

Having treatment-resistant major depressive disorder (MDD) doesn’t mean that you’ll never be able to alleviate your symptoms. There are several options geared specifically toward diagnoses of treatment-resistant MDD. Everyone with symptoms should have a chance to improve their overall quality of life. The goal is to reduce their negative emotions, thoughts and behaviors.

Read on to learn about what it means to have treatment-resistant major depressive disorder. Then we’ll discuss two options that may help: TMS and Spravato.

What you need to know about treatment-resistant major depressive disorder

Major depressive disorder, generally referred to as depression, is a mood disorder that causes overwhelming negative emotions and thoughts that can interfere with your quality of life. Common symptoms include feelings of sadness, lack of enjoyment in activities and fatigue. Symptoms can affect every part of your life. It can impact everything from productivity at work to your relationships with others.

One of the first courses of action for an MDD diagnosis is antidepressants. Treatment-resistant major depressive disorder means that you didn’t experience reduced depression symptoms after two trials of antidepressants.

Potential reasons that you didn’t respond positively to antidepressants include:

  • Having too low of a prescribed dosage.
  • Having other psychiatric and substance use disorders that are difficult to treat.
  • Discontinuing them too early.

Major depressive disorder is one of the most common types of mental disorders. It affects approximately 3.8% of the adult world population, which adds up to more than 250 million people. When we’re specifically talking about treatment-resistant major depressive disorder, approximately 30% of people who have been diagnosed with depression have treatment-resistant major depressive disorder.

Now it’s time to talk about the options for treatment-resistant major depressive disorder that are worth exploring.

TMS for treatment-resistant depressive disorder

If you haven’t felt reduced depression symptoms from antidepressants, TMS could be the option that you’re looking for. TMS stands for transcranial magnetic stimulation. It’s a neurostimulation therapy that utilizes pulses of magnetic energy. The pulses are transmitted to areas of the brain that are involved in mood regulation. They stimulate brain activity in underactive areas. They work to change the neural networks and decrease your symptoms.

TMS treatment takes place over the course of six weeks. There are five 30-minute sessions held every week. Following the initial sessions, there’s also a taper period.

Past Active Path Mental Health patients prove the efficacy of TMS. Data shows that 79% of patients experience at least 25% reduced depression symptoms. Plus, 56% of patients have their symptoms cut in half. In fact, it’s possible to achieve remission following TMS. Thirty-three percent of patients no longer have depression symptoms.

It’s important to note that it’s safe to continue taking antidepressants during and after TMS treatment.

Spravato for treatment-resistant depressive disorder

When an oral antidepressant isn’t having the positive effect that you were hoping for, you may be able to help your treatment-resistant depressive disorder by pairing it with esketamine. This is a derivative of ketamine and is administered as a nasal spray, called Spravato. In 2019, it was approved by the FDA to be used for treatment-resistant depressive disorder.

You’ll self-administer the spray in a treatment center that’s been approved by the FDA’s Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies program. You’ll be watched by a technician under the supervision of a licensed clinician. 

Spravato works to decrease treatment-resistant depressive disorder by focusing on the NMDA receptor. It helps increase glutamate levels, which are low in people with depression. Our past patients experienced the positive effects of Spravato in just a few weeks. Many feel decreased depression symptoms after four weeks.

Active Path Mental Health has options for treatment-resistant depressive disorder

Your mental health journey is never a smooth path. It can be discouraging to have treatment-resistant depressive disorder. But there are still options that can help reduce your symptoms, such as transcranial magnetic stimulation and Spravato. 

At Active Path Mental Health, we will work with you to decide which option will be the safest and most effective for your treatment-resistant symptoms. We offer free phone consultations. You can talk to our knowledgeable team and gain a better understanding of our services. You’ll learn how we can contribute to your care plan.

Contact our team today for more information or to schedule an initial appointment.

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