Finding the right depression treatment is a trial-and-error process for many patients. And, interestingly, the largest study tackling the effectiveness of antidepressants revealed that only 37% of people had their symptoms relieved after taking one medication.
Similarly, psychotherapy isn’t effective for all depressed people. Some feel worse after it or do not feel any remarkable changes at all.
If you suspect that you might need an alternative to therapy and antidepressants, see if these signs apply to you:
1. You Don’t Connect With Your Therapist
It is highly crucial to building a connection with your therapist. But this can be hard to achieve for a variety of reasons, including the following:
- Feeling irritated because your therapist doesn’t “get you.”
- You don’t look forward to seeing your therapist.
- Your therapist doesn’t give you a convincing explanation for your issue.
- You feel worse after the session.
2. Your Feedback Isn’t Followed Through
After several sessions, you may develop a deeper understanding of your condition, but not feel better. If you tell this to your therapist, and they don’t follow through with an action, it may be wiser to find a new therapist or seek another treatment.
3. Your Antidepressant Improved Your Mood Immediately
Psychiatrist Joseph Hullett, MD, senior medical director for OptumHealth Behavioral Solutions in Minnesota, says that people aren’t supposed to respond to antidepressants immediately. The medication should take two to twelve weeks to set in, and peak at the sixth to the eighth week. Feeling different immediately after taking antidepressants could either mean that you’re experiencing a side effect or a placebo.
4. No Relief After a Few Months
According to Zinia Thomas, MD, a psychiatrist at Spectrum Psychiatry in St. Louis, Missouri, patients should consider a new medication if their current antidepressants don’t give them relief after three months.
5. Your Mood Fluctuates
Feeling elated one moment, then blue on the next is both good and bad news. Miami-based psychiatrist Gabriela Cora, MD, MBA, says that this means the antidepressants are working the wrong way. A surge in energy, coupled with depression, could increase your risk for suicide, so you should report this symptom to your doctor immediately.
Alternative Treatments to Consider
Natural antidepressants are a popular alternative to prescription drugs. But before trying any of them out, you should consult your psychiatrist first.
Below are some treatments you can discuss with them:
If you’re frequently on social media, you’re undoubtedly aware of the buzz around cannabidiol (CBD). It’s mostly known for treating childhood epilepsy, but several studies show that it can also relieve depression and anxiety symptoms. Moreover, CBD has fewer side effects than antidepressants.
You can take CBD in various ways; some people use it in their vape, consume them as gummies, or as tinctures, sprays, or oils. CBD oil is probably the most popular product in trustworthy CBD stores.
5-hydroxytryptophan, or simply 5-HTP, may help the brain release more serotonin. A few studies also suggest that it may relieve depression symptoms.
However, some research also found that 5-HTP may reduce certain neurotransmitters, consequently worsening a depressed person’s mood.
3. St. John’s Wort
Studies found that St. John’s Wort works better than a placebo. Some research also showed that it could change how the brain processes happy hormones the way antidepressants do.
But St. John’s Wort must be taken with caution. It can decrease the effectiveness of prescription meds, and when taken along with antidepressants, the brain may release a life-threatening amount of serotonin in turn.
Before taking any of these treatments, remember that they’re not necessarily replacements to therapy and prescription medicines. You should still seek approval from your psychiatrist beforehand, or take any of them while receiving effective therapy.
Meta title: Signs That Your Current Treatment Isn’t Working for You
Meta description: Therapy and antidepressants are the most common treatments for depression. But if they seem unhelpful, what alternatives can you consider? Learn more.