It often takes great effort to reach out for help with depression, so it can be soul-crushingly disappointing when the medication prescribed doesn't work and you still feel terrible after months of effort. Although you may feel like giving up, it's important to stay the course and continue looking for solutions to your problem. Here are two reasons your depression medication might not be working and what to do about it.
You Have an Undiagnosed Medical Condition
It's not unusual for people with depression to have multiple contributing causes, some of which might go undiagnosed and untreated.
For instance, hypothyroidism — a condition where the thyroid doesn't produce enough of the hormones the body needs to regulate important processes — can cause symptoms of depression, as can liver disease, diabetes, Hepatitis C, and even heart disease. If your medication is intended to address one cause of depression, but not another that's still affecting you, your depression medication may not be working as expected. An undiagnosed condition may be interfering with the drug.
Keep track of how you feel physically and mentally for a few weeks and talk to your doctor about getting tested for possible contributing disorders if it seems like you are suffering from health issues besides depression.
Your Lifestyle Isn't Conducive to Healing
Make no mistake. Depression is typically caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain or body, and medication is often a good way to help fix this issue. That doesn't mean, though, that external factors have no effect on a person's mental health. Certain lifestyle choices can interfere with the effectiveness of your depression medication and may even make things worse.
For example, consuming alcohol while taking antidepressants can worsen symptoms, as well as increase the severity of side effects. Likewise, certain supplements, such as St. Johns Wort and vitamin K, can also make depression meds less effective. Even living in a high-stress environment can lead to unsatisfactory outcomes with medication.
Although it may be tough, be honest with your healthcare provider about your lifestyle and inform him or her about any and all supplements and meds you may be taking. Your doctor can tell you what's hurting your recovery and how to fix it or, at the very least, he or she can make adjustments to your dosage to account for your specific needs and situation.
For more information about treating depression and the assorted challenges associated with combating this mental health disorder, contact a profession who offers depression treatment services.