Psychiatrist Questions Depression

What can be done for chronic depression if medications do not work?

My sister has chronic depression and has for most of her life. She has tried many many medications, with no success. What can be done for her?

7 Answers

Only medications are not helpful, she needs supportive individual and group therapies.
Has she also gone to therapists? Psychologist, LCSW, LMFT? They are all trained to help with depression, which is sadly a very common problem in our society. Another option is TMS. Transcranial magnetic stimulation. It works for some people, but can be expensive and is not always covered by insurance. Telling her you love her and will do what-ever you can to help her sounds trite, but will help. Just knowing that her own sister loves her and wants to help her can make a huge difference. She will feel less "Alone" in her struggle. Invite her to do fun things with you. Try to get her to smile. Take her to a funny movie. Go to the beach or a lake or where-ever there is water..A creek, stream, waterfall. Humans love water. We love the sound of water, the sound of rain, the smells of the ocean. Give it a try...You never know until you try!
Without knowing the age at which she first experienced depression, or what other symptoms she has, it's difficult to know. She may have been misdiagnosed (e.g., she may have Bipolar or another psychiatric disorder), she may not have been compliant with her medications, she may not have been prescribed the right medications at the right doses and or in the right combinations, or her depression may truly be extremely treatment-resistant. In the latter case, there are treatments such as Ketamine therapy, TMS (Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation), ECT (Electroconvulsive Therapy), and Vagal Nerve Stimulation. She may benefit from an evaluation at a major medical center--such as the Mayo Clinic--if no treatments have been effective; or she may need a second or third opinion. I champion those who, despite treatment failures, continue trying to get help.
I wish her the best.


Dr. Lisa Fairweather
It's hard to answer without knowing details about her symptoms and treatment. Sometimes there are personality issues where certain kinds of psychotherapy are useful. Sometimes there is drug or alcohol use which causes these problems. Sometimes it is treatment resistant depression which requires combinations of medications or other approaches such as ECT, TMS, Ketamine.
Recommend a review of all her medications perhaps with a new psychiatrist for a 2nd opinion, also there is genesight testing that can further clarify what meds May work best for her...beyond medications there is trans cranial magnetic stimulation for depression, Ketamine infusions, and Electroconvulvie therapy...first thing is to sit down with new eyes of a professional to throughly review everything.. Best wishes for a full recovery soon for your sister, Sincerely, Dr. Amy
I'm not sure how severe its is. there is TCMS (magnetic stimulation, for severe depression ECT. for mild but chronic depression. psychotherapoy meditation, exercise. always worth getting a general check up
First you should review what "many medications " actually means. For instance, has she had Parnate,or Nardil these come from a group of antidepressants called MAOIs. They are not widely used because of "side effects" and many psychiatrists never learn to use them.By the way , has she been treated by a psychiatrist? They can get better results from medications, than general practitioners. How about stimulants added to antidepressants. How about Mirapex? These are all effective in treatment resistant depression.Does she have depression. Does her doctor do psychotherapy with medication, has her condition been carefully diagnosed as depression?There are many questions. Has she been seen by a true specialist in depression? Of course this format leaves many of these questions unanswered.

chophrmacologista really good psychophrmacologistbe sure she has been treated by