We’ve all heard of depression before, but very few are aware of treatment-resistant depression. When someone is diagnosed with depression, they will go through various treatments to find a way to limit, prevent, or reverse the symptoms. Anyone suffering from treatment-resistant depression will fail to see much in the way of results from their treatments.
This can be extremely frustrating to someone already going through a lot in life. Struggling with depression is one thing, but knowing the treatments being prescribed by doctors are not having a positive effect on your situation can make matters worse.
Nearly 40% of people with depression will only experience partial improvement in symptoms when taking an antidepressant. Furthermore, nearly 10% of people with depression will experience no improvement at all. Since antidepressants aren’t for everyone, researchers are constantly on the lookout for new treatments.
While a majority of people will have plenty of questions surrounding treatment-resistant depression, we’re hoping to clear some of those questions up with answers. Continue reading below to find out the various causes of treatment-resistant depression, how it’s diagnosed, treatments for it, and how Methyl-Life can help.
Causes of Treatment-Resistant Depression
As we mentioned above, researchers aren’t exactly sure what causes treatment-resistant depression in patients. There’s still a lot to learn about it, but there are various theories as to how this mental illness forms.
One of the leading theories surrounding this disorder is an incorrect diagnosis from the start. Some researchers believe that the patient might have been struggling with a different illness with similar symptoms. This would explain why the antidepressants and other treatments aren’t working. In fact, the antidepressants could have a negative effect on the body.
Another theory is centered around genetic variations and mutations that could affect how the body breaks down antidepressants, making them less effective. One study concluded that a majority of people who weren’t responding to antidepressants also had low levels of folate in the brain and spinal cord.
Some researchers believe the low levels of folate are due to a mutation of the MTHFR gene, which is responsible for converting folate into its active form -- methylfolate. The mutation can cause your body to struggle to make this conversion, leading to various health concerns.
How Is Treatment-Resistant Depression Diagnosed & Treated
Much like there are no telltale causes of treatment-resistant depression, there are no clear guidelines for diagnosing or treating this illness. As a general rule of thumb, doctors will start considering a diagnosis after the patient has failed to see improvement after taking two or more antidepressants.
Before they move forward with a diagnosis, they will want to analyze a few things regarding the treatments received up to that point. The doctors will try to figure out whether the antidepressants were taken correctly, whether there’s anything causing the depression to worsen, whether they gave the antidepressants enough time to work, and whether the patient received the correct diagnosis in the first place.
If they conclude the antidepressants aren’t working and they’ve already tried different classes of antidepressants, they will start to look for other treatments. Psychotherapy is a common choice for doctors and will typically be done while the patient is still taking antidepressants. Unfortunately, many individuals will continue to struggle with depression even after psychotherapy.
Once that’s ruled out, there are two treatments that have been receiving attention lately. Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS) will send a small electrical pulse to the nervous system with the use of a device. Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) is known as a last resort when it comes to treating depression, especially considering the level of controversy that comes with it.
Light therapy, acupuncture, magnetic stimulation, and brain stimulation have also been used in the past.
Can Supplements Help?
Supplements have started to gain popularity as a potential treatment for depression. A lot of the research being conducted today is centered around folate and particularly the form L-Methylfolate, which we briefly touched on earlier. Methylfolate has been linked to helping the body naturally improve your mood by boosting SAMe in the body which helps promote the generation of serotonin.
Some studies have shown that low levels of methylfolate can even have a negative effect on antidepressants. Not only can it make the antidepressant less effective, but it can also prevent the depression from returning after it has left. This would explain a lot of the confusion surrounding treatment-resistant depression.
The theory behind this is quite complex, but to put it in layman’s terms:
Neurotransmitters (like dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine) are known to regulate mood. Since methylfolate aids in the production of neurotransmitters, low levels of methylfolate could mean a low number of neurotransmitters.
While antidepressants make the neurotransmitters more available, it doesn’t increase the production of neurotransmitters -- otherwise known as the root of the problem.
By taking methylfolate as a supplement, researchers believe it normalizes the production of neurotransmitters. With more neurotransmitters, the antidepressants will be able to do what they do best. Some studies have even shown the methylfolate to work quicker than just taking the antidepressant alone.
While supplementing with folate, the non-active form, can show positive effects in some people, it won’t do much for those with an MTHFR gene mutation (which is more than half of the population). This is where methylfolate can start to work its charm, by bypassing the body’s need to convert the folate.
Contact Methyl-Life Today!
If you’ve been struggling with depression long enough to be diagnosed with treatment-resistant depression, there’s a good chance your doctor will recommend the use of L-Methylfolate. When searching for a methylfolate product that’s right for you, Methyl-Life has you covered. We offer a variety of supplements that contain the purest methylfolate on the planet (confirmed by lab testing, our methylfolate is 3x more pure than the other industry leaders, including the pharmaceutical). We also carry the methylation-supporting vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients you need to fight a methylation or folate imbalance.
In regards to our methylfolate-only supplements, we offer them in four different sizes. They’ll all come in tablet form, but you can choose between the different dosages -- 2.5mg, 5mg, 10mg, and 15mg. Most dosage levels targeting neurotransmitter production are in the 7.5-15 mg range. You can also find our methylfolate supplement combined with active B12s (methylcobalamin, hydroxocobalamin & adenosylcobalamin), magnesium, zinc, citicoline, and phosphatidylserine. Taking methylfolate along with an active B12 is important to prevent the masking of a B12 deficiency - so be sure to take these two nutrients in combination for the maximum health benefit.
If you have any questions about our products or about methylfolate in general, our team of professionals are on standby ready to assist you. Feel free to contact us today!
“How to Manage Treatment-Resistant Depression.” Healthline, 5 May 2020, How to Manage Treatment-Resistant Depression.