Depression is a very common, mental health condition that effects roughly 264 million people per year. If you have been treated for depression but your symptoms haven’t improved, you may have treatment-resistant depression. While anti-depressants and/or therapy help many depression sufferers, this alone isn’t enough for everyone. If you think you may have treatment-resistant depression, here’s what you need to know.

Risk Factors

Not all people with treatment-resistant depression fit the same profile, but there are risk factors that may increase the likelihood of one developing treatment-resistant depression, like age, gender, and medical history.

  • Women are at higher risk than men.
  • Senior citizens are at a higher risk than all other age demographics.
  • The more periods of depression one has in their life, the more likely they are to develop treatment-resistant depression.
  • Those living with certain medical conditions, like thyroid disease or chronic pain, are also at higher risk.


Treatment-resistant depression can be hard to diagnose. If you think you might have it, consult with your doctor. They’ll likely take the following measures to confirm your diagnosis.

  • Rule out other mental health conditions like bipolar disorder or substance dependency, which can mirror the symptoms of depression.
  • Make sure you’ve been following the proper guidelines for your medication. If you’re not taking it regularly, it’s less likely to work.
  • Make sure you’ve been taking your medication long enough. Some can take up to 12 weeks to kick in.
  • Ensure your therapy is right for you. There are many therapies that work for different people, and the problem may be as simple as needing to change which therapy you use.

Treatment Options

There are many options to help treatment-resistant depression. If you’re diagnosed, you will likely need to make a combination of the following treatment options to find the best care routine for you.

  • Switching medications
  • Adding in a second medication
  • Talk therapy
  • Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS)
  • Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)
  • Hospitalization or inpatient treatment

If you or a loved one are living with treatment-resistant depression, local researchers need your help. Participate in a clinical trial; learn more by entering your information below.

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