Depression that doesn’t respond to the standard medication or psychological counseling therapies, may be classified as treatment resistant depression (TRD). If you have tried the standard treatments and they have not relieved your symptoms, or your symptoms improve for a time but keep coming back it may be time to ask your doctor about referring you, for a consultation, to a specialist who can diagnose and treats major depression. Members of the TRD program evaluate an individual’s symptoms and current treatment course to see if other newly proven therapies that may offer relief.
We hosted a live chat on Tuesday, September 13 with the care clinicians and psychiatrists from Emory’s Treatment Resistant Depression program. Participants had the opportunity to ask questions and get real time answers about depression and new treatment options that may be able to help you manage this often chronic condition and improve the quality of your daily life. We received a lot of great questions. Below you can find some highlights from questions we were asked before and during the live chat. You can read the full chat transcript here.
Question: I have tried many of the “available” mess for depression with very little result. Is there a difference in depression and bi- polar depression. If so, what are some meds geared toward bi-polar depression?
TRD Program Team: Yes, there is a difference between people diagnosed with bipolar depression and, unipolar depression. Bipolar depression has both highs (in the form of manic and hypomanic episodes) and lows in the form of depression. The lows for bipolar and unipolar depression are similar, but treating a person with bipolar depression with an antidepressant puts them at risk of developing mania. So treating a person with bipolar depression can be more difficult.
Persons with bipolar depression may get put on a lot of medications- some for mania, some for depression and some for anxiety. Treating bipolar depression can be challenging and getting expert treatment may involve a comprehensive evaluation, and sometimes using fewer medications rather than more, and using other therapeutic treatments such as psychotherapy is the best option. Our Treatment Resistant Depression program may be an option for someone who has been under psychiatric care with little or no relief, you can find more information on our program here.
Question: What is late onset depression, and how can it be treated besides drugs?
TRD Program Team: Late onset depression is depression that starts after the age of 50. Often depression that starts after the age of 50 has a medical cause, so the patient should be evaluated carefully. Psychotherapies are as effective as medications in late onset depression. You can read more about late-life depression in general here: http://fuquacenter.org/depression
Besides medication and psychotherapies, there are also non-medication treatments available. Treatment options for late-late depression can be found here: http://fuquacenter.org/treatmentoptions
Question: My son said he heard Ketamine might help with my depression. Is this true?
TRD Program Team: Yes, Ketamine is an off-label treatment for depression that has been shown to be effective, but it is not widely available and is not an FDA approved treatment at this time. You can learn about one woman’s story with Ketamine here.
If you are seeking Ketamine treatment through Emory, your psychiatrist can make a referral to our TRD program. You can learn more about that here.