Why is Resistant Depression?


In some cases, antidepressants do not work to cure this mental disorder.

No one is aware that the number of people with depression is increasing worldwide. Moreover, this will be the world’s first disability according to WHO . This is why it is considered the ailment of the 21st century. Although there are several pharmacological treatments and therapies, there are people suffering from resistant depression. Discover, then, what it is.

What is resistant depression?

Resistant depression or refractory depression occurs when the patient undergoes psychological treatments and is medicated but neither the antidepressants nor the therapies have almost any effect on him or any.

In word collected by the BBC , the psychiatrist Wagner Gattaz, coordinator of the Neurosciences Laboratory of the Institute of Psychiatry (IPq) of the University of Sao Paulo (USP), explained that «this occurs when a patient, after following a treatment with two different classes of antidepressants for more than six weeks in therapeutic doses, it does not show any improvement ».

It should be noted that at present it is not yet known why this type of depression is due and why the therapies do not work.

It should be borne in mind that about 70% of patients metabolize medications normally. But the other 30% may do so in an accelerated manner, which causes the body does not have enough time to absorb the drug and that it takes effect on the person. On the contrary it can also happen, which is metabolized very slowly, the drug is stored in the body causing side effects.

On the other hand, there are other ailments that can interfere with resistant depression such as bipolar disorder, thyroid, chronic pain and taking other medicines.

How to treat the problem

It is a fact that treating resistant depression can be difficult. However, there are methods that can be very useful. For this it is necessary to do a DNA analysis. In this way, it will be possible to verify which drugs are suitable for each individual and which ones have intolerance.

There are three alternatives to take the exam. One is with a blood test. Another is with a saliva sample. And the last one is collecting buccal mucosa.

Wagner Gattaz commented that in Brazil they do it “through blood. We look at the genes in the group of cytochrome P450 enzymes responsible for the metabolism of drugs in the liver, and we can identify a priori if the patient is an ultrafast or slow metabolizer ».

An alternative that should also be considered for resistant depression is somatic therapies. These should go hand in hand with pharmacologists. A clear example is transcranial magnetic stimulation (EMT). This method is non-invasive and helps stimulate the brain through magnetic waves by modulating neurotransmitters. It is recommended to do 1 session for 20 days, at least to begin to notice the improvement.

You can also opt for electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). This works by means of low electric current, which drives seizures, causing chemical changes in the brain. To perform ECT, the patient is anesthetized and 9 to 12 sessions are done between 2 or 3 times a week.

It should be noted that only a psychiatrist can authorize the completion of the EMT or ECT.


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