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Treatment-resistant depression (TRD)

Despite numerous treatment methods for depression including evidence-based therapies and anti-depressant medications, not all patients respond to the initial one or two courses of treatment. Treatment-resistant depression (TRD) is a diagnosis for patients whose symptoms of depression do not improve following the initial treatment.

Depression as a common mood disorder characterised by low mood and affecting how you think, feel and behave, this means that some patients need to try several different courses of medication (and psychological treatment) before they feel relief from symptoms.

TRD is addressed at Priory through a holistic psychological, pharmacological and physical approach; other areas of treatment are looked at beyond simply medication. This can involve psychotherapy sessions where you work with a therapist to further understand and examine issues that may not yet have been resolved. Lifestyle changes such as stopping the use of recreational drugs and increasing amounts of exercise can also help provide relief from symptoms.

TRD is diagnosed if you haven’t responded to two or more courses of anti-depressant medication. While many people will respond well to medication, even if symptoms are not completely relieved, it remains a significant challenge to treat people whose symptoms don’t improve, which can be up to a third of those who are diagnosed with depression.

The length of treatment time for depression that doesn’t respond to initial treatment can be discouraging. It is important not to give up however, even if the process is taking months or even years, as many people receiving treatment for TRD are eventually able to manage their symptoms and lessen their impact on everyday life.

This page was clinically reviewed by Dr Leon Rozewicz (MBBS, FRCPsych, MRCGP, MRCPsych) in June 2018, and is scheduled to be reviewed again in June 2020. To view all Priory TRD specialists, please click here.

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