Depression FAQs

What is treatment-resistant depression (TRD)?

Roughly 1 in 3 people with depression are deemed “treatment resistant.” 

Treatment-resistant depression (TRD) occurs when you have an inadequate response to at least two antidepressants or treatments. TRD doesn’t mean that there isn’t a treatment that will work for your depression; it is just taking extra time to figure out the right treatment. 

If you have struggled to find the right treatment for your depression, you may have TRD. Luckily, you are in the right place! Options MD specializes in assisting individuals with TRD to find the right treatment. 

What is chronic depression?

Depression can be a chronic and recurring disorder for some individuals. For others, depression lasts for a set amount of time and is resolved with the right treatment. Chronic depression is a general term that is used to describe multiple forms of depression that can be chronic. 

Persistent depressive disorder (PDD) is a type of chronic depression where symptoms are present on the majority of days for two or more years. 

The symptoms of PDD are less severe than those associated with major depressive disorder (MDD). The persistent nature of the symptoms can cause people to normalize the symptoms; however, PDD also requires treatment. The symptoms can include: 

  • Low energy
  • Appetite changes
  • Difficulties with concentration
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Sleep disturbances

Major depressive disorder (MDD), bipolar depression, psychotic depression, and seasonal affective disorder (SAD) can all be chronic, resulting in recurrent depressive episodes over the course of someone’s life. Unlike PDD, depressive episodes for these types of depression are usually shorter but the symptoms may be more severe than PDD. 

What are the different types of depression?

There are many types of depression. Some types of depression are caused by life events and others by chemical changes in your brain. 

  • Treatment-resistant depression (TRD)
  • Major depressive disorder (MDD)
  • Persistent depressive disorder (PDD)
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
  • Psychotic depression 
  • Peripartum (postpartum) depression
  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) 
  • Situational depression 
  • Atypical depression

How do you know what treatments will work for my depression?

At Options MD, you undergo an extensive intake process, where we learn as much as possible about your medical history, lifestyle, and unique circumstances to understand what treatments will work for you. This is a personalized process that requires close work with the team to find the right solutions for you.

Is depression a chronic disorder?

Yes, depression can be a chronic and recurring disorder for some individuals. For others, depression lasts for a set amount of time and is resolved with the right treatment. 

What is the most severe form of depression?

Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), also known as major depression, can have the most severe and serious symptoms. 

With major depression, the dark mood associated with depression is all-consuming. You may lose interest in activities that previously brought you pleasure. You are more likely to have numerous depressive symptoms at the same time, like low energy, appetite changes, difficulty with concentration, sleep disturbances, or feelings of hopelessness or guilt.  

These symptoms are severe enough to impact your relationships, work performance, or other important areas of your life. Your depressive symptoms may sometimes start after a personal loss or difficult life event, but symptoms persist significantly longer than what would normally be expected. 

Major Depression can be managed with the right treatment. 

Who is most at risk for depression?

There are numerous risk factors for depression. The reporting of depression is twice as common in women as in men. However, gender isn’t the only risk factor for depression. 

  • Age:  Major depression seems to occur most often in people between the ages of 45 and 65. However, when depression occurs in the very young or the very old, the symptoms may be more severe and may cause more impairment in the ability to function in everyday life.
  • Economic and educational status: Those with less resources, sometimes associated with less financial stability and less education, may be at higher risk of developing major depressive disorder. 
  • Marital status: Being divorced can increase one’s risk of depression, whereas being married can lower the risk of depression in both genders. 
  • Family history: Depression can be passed through families. If you have a parent or close relative with a history of depression, you may have a higher risk of developing depression. 

What if I am already seeing a mental health provider?

If you are already seeing a mental health provider, you can still work with the team at Options MD. We will take your complete medical history and document your personal circumstances. We will use that information to create a customized treatment plan for your depression.

Why weren't my past medications effective?

Your past medications may not have been effective for several reasons. Each medication can react differently in different people. This is true for medications in the same class, and also for medications in different classes. 

Another reason might be that the medication was not taken consistently. Almost all medications that treat depression should be taken every day. If you stopped the medications too early, that might be the reason your antidepressant did not work.

How long does it take to see improvement after starting a new medication?

After starting or changing a dose of medication for depression, it can take up to 6-8 weeks, or up to 12 weeks, for the medication to take its full effect.

However, some psychiatric medications can work after the first dose, like Ketamine. Your depression may improve after taking the first dose of other types of medications for depression. 

Do antidepressants change your personality or make you feel numb?

No, antidepressants do not change your personality or make you feel numb. If you believe you have experienced feeling “numb” after taking an antidepressant, talk to a psychiatrist at Options MD.

If I start an antidepressant, will I become dependent on it and have to take it forever?

No, antidepressants are not addictive. Usually, patients are encouraged to take an antidepressant for at least 6 months if the medication is effective. 

After 6-24 months, your psychiatrist may recommend slowly lowering the dose and stopping the medication to see if you still need the medication. You should always talk to a psychiatrist before deciding to change the dose or stop taking any medication.

If I want to avoid prescription medications, are there other effective treatment options?

Yes. The most effective alternative to medications for certain types of depression is psychotherapy (talk therapy). In fact, some studies have found that psychotherapy can be more effective than medications for certain types of depression, insomnia and anxiety. Other options include lifestyle changes and natural therapies.

Is it safe to take antidepressants if I am taking other medications?

Some medications for depression may interact with other medications. Talk to a psychiatrist at Options MD before combining medications for depression with other medications.

If I experienced side effects from antidepressants in the past, does that mean antidepressants are not an option for me?

Different medications have different side effects. If you have experienced side effects from medications for depression in the past, it may improve if you try a different medication. 

Some medications for depression have similar side effects. The expert psychiatrists at Options MD can help you avoid the side effects of medication, especially if there is a certain side effect that you have experienced in the past.

Do you prescribe controlled substances?

Options MD takes controlled substances very seriously. At this time, Options MD clinicians may only prescribe controlled substances where patients both:

1) have an existing prescription for a controlled substance, and;
2) have been seen in-person by a healthcare professional within the last 24 months.
Options MD clinicians may renew or refill existing prescriptions for controlled substances at their discretion based on the above requirements; federal and state regulations; and clinical judgment. As always, clinicians make the final decision on whether to prescribe.
Options MD does not allow new prescriptions for controlled substances.
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