January 11

Tachyphlaxis: When Antidepressants Stop Working

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Depression is experienced by millions of people over the world. Many people experiencing depression reach out to medical professionals looking for guidance in managing their mental health symptoms. Everyone suffers from depression time to time. When the symptoms become unmanageable, it may be time for medical intervention.  

Individuals should reach out to a mental health professional like a psychiatrist and schedule talk therapy with a counselor. Depending on the severity of the depression, a psychiatrist may also prescribe antidepressants to help manage symptoms.  

What are antidepressants?  

Antidepressants are medications that are prescribed to help relieve an individual suffering from depression, mood disorders, and anxiety. The chemical compounds of these medicines interact with the chemicals present (or lack thereof) in the brain. 

The most common antidepressants prescribed are SSRI’s (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors). Used in treating clinical depression, SSRI’s block serotonin from being reabsorbed into the brain’s neurons, allowing them to be available in the body.  

The available serotonin improves the messaging from the brain, releasing mood enhancing signals. These signals help shift the clouds of depression away. 

SSRI’s, and other antidepressants improve the chemical balances of the brain that cause chronic depression, allowing for the individual to begin experiencing relief.  

When prescribed antidepressants, it is very important for patients to follow the directions as prescribed. You may experience relief from your depression for an extended period of time.  

For others, the familiar dark feelings begin to creep in and no increase or change in medications seem to help.  

Why do antidepressants stop working?  

Many people experience relief from their chronic depression with the help of antidepressants. They maintain a medication regimen for years that helps them combat and manage their depression. Unfortunately for some, their medication becomes less effective and the individual experiences a depression relapse. 

Some signs to look out for when you think your medication is no longer working: 

  • Your mood seems low 
  • Changes in your appetite or sleeping patterns 
  • Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities 
  • Increasing desire to isolate 

There may be countless of reasons why your antidepressant has stopped working. The most common explanation is tachyphylaxis. Tachyphylaxis is a medical term used to describe when a previously effective medication is no longer successfully treating your condition.  

Just like other chronic illnesses, depression can progress in severity over time. And it will need new approaches in treatment. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (or TMS) can help individuals suffering from treatment resistant depression. 

A noninvasive form of treatment, TMS is a type of depression therapy that sends out magnetic pulses to specific areas of the brain. This specific region of the brain is connected with mood, and TMS revives this under active area.  

If you’re suffering from a breakthrough depression, and would like to explore your options with TMS, reach out to a mental health professional for an evaluation. If your psychiatrist believes you are an appropriate candidate for TMS treatment you should schedule an appointment today.  

With the guidance of your psychiatrist patients can utilize TMS as a treatment by itself or in conjunction with their medication and talk therapy. Each person is different, and the nature of their severe depression can vary. But TMS makes long-term remission possible. 


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