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Signs That Your Depression Treatment Might Not Be Working


For people taking an antidepressant, it can feel frustrating when they don’t see results right away. But finding the right depression treatment can take time and often requires collaboration with your doctor.

If you’re antidepressant isn’t working, don’t give up. You may need to try a different treatment option or make adjustments to your current treatment until you find what works for you. Below, we discuss some common signs that your depression treatment may not be working, and that you should speak to your doctor about finding another option. 

You Continue to Struggle with Symptoms

If you’re taking an antidepressant and don’t feel an improvement in your symptoms within six to eight weeks, talk to your doctor. There are several different types of antidepressants used to treat depression symptoms, and you may need to try a couple before you find the one that works for you.

If you’re currently seeing a therapist and you feel that you don’t “click” with them or that you don’t feel comfortable really opening up, you may want to find a new therapist. Working with a therapist with who you feel comfortable is an important part of sticking with your depression treatment. At Madison Avenue TMS & Psychiatry, our resident psychiatrist, Dr. Woo, has a special interest in treating patients with depression. 

You Feel Better Quickly, but It Doesn’t Last

If you feel better quickly after starting an antidepressant, and then start to feel worse, this is a sign that your antidepressant isn’t working. If you feel that your depression symptoms are returning after you’ve seen an initial improvement with an antidepressant, talk to your doctor.

You Feel Worse after Starting Treatment

Some antidepressants may make you feel worse before you feel better. It’s not entirely clear why this happens, but in some cases, an antidepressant can make some people feel worse for a couple of weeks before it helps them feel better. Always communicate with your doctor about how you are feeling with a particular antidepressant. If you continue to feel worse a few weeks after starting a new antidepressant, talk to your doctor. 

You’re Struggling with the Side Effects

Like any medication, antidepressants can cause side effects. If you’re currently taking an antidepressant, it’s possible that it’s helping with your depression symptoms, but that it’s also causing side effects that are difficult to tolerate. 

Most people typically experience side effects during the first couple of weeks and then see a decrease in side effects. However, in some cases, the side effects may not subside. If you experience side effects from an antidepressant that are causing difficulty in your daily life, and that last for more than a few weeks, talk to your doctor.

Never Stop Taking an Antidepressant or Change the Dosage on Your Own

If you believe that your antidepressant might not be working, continue to take your medication exactly as prescribed and contact your doctor. Do not stop taking your antidepressant or lower your dosage without first consulting your doctor. Quitting an antidepressant suddenly can cause withdrawal symptoms and can cause depression symptoms to worsen, both of which can have dangerous consequences. 

Getting Help for Treatment-Resistant Depression

If you’ve tried multiple antidepressants, while also seeing a therapist, and have not seen relief in depression symptoms, you may need to try a different treatment option. Fortunately, there are other treatment options available for people who do not respond to antidepressants. 

Transcranial magnetic stimulation, also called TMS, is proven to help people get relief from depression, even when antidepressants don’t. TMS is a medication-free depression treatment that uses magnetic pulses to electrically stimulate neurons (nerve cells) and treat depression symptoms. At Madison Avenue TMS & Psychiatry, we administer TMS for the treatment of depression. To learn more about how TMS helps treat depression without medication, click here

Dr. Woo has been seeing patients in private practice since 2002, always with the goals of combining evidence-based medicine with psychodynamic psychotherapy and collaborating with other mental health professionals to ensure the best possible outcomes for his patients. He has been certified to administer TMS at his practice since 2017. His greatest clinical interests include helping patients suffering from depression, anxiety, and obsessive compulsive disorder.

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