Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.

What Can I Do if Drugs Don't Help My Depression?

Tuesday, 30 Jul 2013 09:53 AM

By Peter Hibberd, M.D.

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Question: What can I do when my depression doesn't respond to medication?

Dr. Hibberd’s answer:
 
Depression comes in many forms. There are several brain chemicals that are targeted in differing ways by different antidepressant agents. Sometimes a combination of carefully chosen antidepressants is required to treat depression effectively.
 
For instance, bipolar disorder typically requires the prescription of a mood stabilizer (such as Depakote, lithium, or Seroquel) in addition to antidepressant use. Sometimes an "augmenting" medication added to your antidepressant medication will provide the extra boost needed for effective management. But a psychiatric consultation is usually the best way to determine the right treatment or combination of medications. 

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That being said, there are indeed some forms of depression that may be initially drug resistant, or require the addition of complementary therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy. In severe cases, hospitalization or electroconvulsive therapy may be recommended and helpful.
 
So do not lose heart. Be sure to return to your treating physician for further guidance and, if necessary, request a specialty referral to a psychiatrist or go to your local emergency department for adjusted treatment recommendations and appropriate referral.
 
Above all, know that depression is a medical condition, and can be very effectively controlled and treated with skilled professional guidance. Avoid seeking treatment advice from family or friends except. Most primary care physicians can manage depression issues without requiring a psychiatric consultation, except in severe or resistant cases.


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Dr. Hibberd's advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital work in emergency medicine and surgery.
 
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