Treatment-resistant Depression: When Standard Treatments Fail, Patients With Chronic Depression Have Other Options

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Many but not all people with depression get better with standard treatment of medication and psychotherapy. New information on MayoClinic.com covers many options to consider when standard depression treatments don't help.

Many but not all people with depression get better with standard treatment of medication and psychotherapy. New information on MayoClinic.com covers many options to consider when standard depression treatments don't help.

When patients have tried three or four anti-depression medications without fully improving, the depression diagnosis falls into a new category called treatment-resistant depression, chronic depression or resistant depression. It does not mean that symptoms won't ever improve. In fact, the goal of treatment should continue to be alleviating all symptoms and living a healthy life.

MayoClinic.com provides a comprehensive overview of treatment-resistant depression, from what might be contributing to the condition to the best types of medical providers to seek out. Some strategies to treat chronic depression that are covered on MayoClinic.com include:

Genetic testing: Testing can provide information on which antidepressant medications could be effective with the least bothersome side effects.

Augmentation: This involves taking an antidepressant medication along with an additional psychiatric medication such as anti-seizure or anti-anxiety medications, mood stabilizers, anti-psychotics or stimulants. Augmentation may help make antidepressant medications more effective.

Combination: Different classes of antidepressant medications are taken together for greater effect.

Psychotherapy: A different type of therapy -- group therapy, family therapy or dialectical behavior therapy that teaches behavior skills -- might be helpful when other therapy approaches haven't worked.

There's no single best way to treat depression or chronic depression. But finding relief is important to short- and long-term well-being. Research indicates that patients who experience full recovery are less likely to relapse into depression compared to patients who still experience some symptoms.

About MayoClinic.com

Launched in 1995 and now visited by more than 10 million users a month, this award-winning Web site offers health information, self-improvement and disease management tools to empower people to manage their health. Produced by a team of Web professionals and medical experts, MayoClinic.com gives users access to the experience and knowledge of the more than 2,000 physicians and scientists of Mayo Clinic. MayoClinic.com offers intuitive, easy-to-use tools such as "Symptom Checker" and "First-Aid Guide" for fast answers about health conditions ranging from common to complex; as well as more in-depth sections on over 25 common diseases and conditions, healthy living articles, videos, animations and features such as "Ask a Specialist" and "Drug Watch." Users can sign up for a free weekly e-newsletter called "Housecall" which provides the latest health information from Mayo Clinic. For more information, visit http://www.mayoclinic.com.

To obtain the latest news releases from Mayo Clinic, go to http://www.mayoclinic.org/news. MayoClinic.com (http://www.mayoclinic.com) is available as a resource for your health stories.

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Ginger Plumbo
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