Depression is hard. It’s even harder when you think the medicine you’ve been prescribed isn’t working.
Antidepressant medications usually take 2 to 12 weeks to start working. According to Dr. Paul Keck of the Lindner Center of Hope: “In studies of depression it’s been shown that after one antidepressant trial:
- 1/3 of people will have a full remission of symptoms
- 1/3 of people will have partial improvement, but be bothered by significant side effects;
- 1/3 will not have any improvement at all.”
“That’s two thirds of people who are not getting well after a single trial of an antidepressant,” said Dr. Keck.
Antidepressant Not Working?
Look for these signs that indicate you may need to talk with your healthcare provider:
- Your Symptoms Don’t Improve. According to the Mayo Clinic, depression can manifest in a number of symptoms: feelings of sadness, bursts of anger, loss of interests, sleeping too much or too little, reduced or increased appetite, trouble thinking and others. If (after six weeks) your depressive symptoms haven’t improved, you should consider revisiting your options with your healthcare provider.
- Your Depression Gets Worse. Unfortunately, antidepressant medications can sometimes worsen depressive symptoms. You should contact your healthcare provider immediately if you can’t get out of bed, have uncontrolled fits of rage, or other increasingly worsening symptoms. If you have suicidal thoughts or actions, go immediately to your nearest emergency room.
- The Side Effects Interrupt Your Life – Or Worse. According to Pharmacy Times, nearly 4.5 million Americans rush to the ER or physician’s office due to adverse side effects from prescription medications. While many medications cause side effects, debilitating ones that affect your daily life or cause significant physical or mental harm should not be ignored. The GeneSight® test can help doctors identify and avoid medications likely to cause significant side effects.
- Euphoric/Miserable/Livid Within Minutes of Each Other. Violent mood swings are not normal and could be sign of something wrong. Manic and hypomanic feelings or episodes while on an antidepressant are often indicators the patient may very likely be suffering from bipolar disorder, which is different than depression and treated using different medications.
Ending the Frustration of Trial-and-Error
Getting on the antidepressant that works best for you used to be a trial-and-error process. A doctor would prescribe a medication that they thought may work best, based on previous experience and patient history, among other factors. However, if a patient experienced continuing symptoms like those previously mentioned, the doctor would then increase or decrease the dosage, add another medication, or switch the medication completely.
This leads to frustration. Catherine K., who struggled with depression, describes feeling “tired of never feeling better” when prescribed antidepressants that didn’t work. Catherine was able to turn things around with GeneSight, and explains:
“As a breast and uterine cancer survivor, I’m familiar with genetic testing, but I had no idea that it could help make treatment decisions regarding my mental illnesses. (…)
“My psychiatrist reviewed the results with me, including what everything meant and what we would do about it. Shortly after, I started taking medications that he prescribed from the green category – to be used as directed. I truly feel like I experienced a miracle thanks to GeneSight.”
To see if the GeneSight test would help you, please start by taking the next step here.