Why is My Depression Medication Not Working?

Everyone is different. Everybody’s brain is made differently with different chemical compositions and different ways of thinking and feeling. This also means that everyone’s depression is different, and therefore everyone’s ideal depression treatment is different. Working with a good team of mental health care professionals, such as a psychiatrist and a therapist can seriously increase your chances of recovery from depression. However, sometimes even if you are following all of your doctor’s advice you may not feel better. Why does this happen? Here are some reasons:


  • Different or additional medication needed: Every psychotropic medication is different, with slightly different chemical makeups. Where one type of antidepressant may not work well on you, another similar medication may do the trick. Be patient and try to be open minded with treatment options. Sometimes it takes many tries to get the right medication combination for you.
  • Presence of another medical disorder: Depression can have a variety of symptoms. Sometimes depression can mask another disorder, such as a sleep disorder, an anxiety disorder, a virus or even anemia. It is important to keep in close touch with your general medical practitioner to rule out any and all other medical conditions.
  • Interactions with other medications: Many individuals who are on psychotropic medications are on multiple medications for different mental health symptoms. In addition, other medications from medical disorders may also interact with your antidepressant.
  • Failure to take medication exactly as prescribed: One of the most important parts of antidepressant treatment is following your doctor’s directions. Even taking the medication at the wrong time of day may have adverse effects or change the effectiveness of your drug.
  • Incorrect diagnosis: Many mental disorders overlap in symptoms. Although doctors and psychiatrists are trained to make correct diagnosis, sometimes one disorder is mistaken for another by the way it presents itself in a patient. If you have any misgivings about your diagnosis, bring it up to your doctor or psychiatrist.

medication for mental disorders

Because of all these factors, experts suggest to be patient with your recovery. However, it is very important to remain an active part of your treatment and know your treatment options. Below we will discuss how you can make sure you are actively participating in your medical depression treatment to maximize your potential for recovery.


  1. Know your medication options: Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, also known as SSRIs are antidepressant medications that work on the brain chemical serotonin. Serotonin is known to affect your mood, and to little available serotonin in the brain can cause depression. Some SSRIs include Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Paxil and Lexapro, to name a few. Other options include serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) which work on both serotonin and norepinephrine. Some examples include Effexor, Cymbalta and Pristiq. Other medication types exist to treat depression, and are often used in conjunction with SSRIs and SNRIs. Some examples include aminoketones such as Wellbutrin, and atypical antipsychotics such as Abilify.


  1. Talk with your doctor about your treatment plan: You are the most important part of your own recovery, and it is important to not take a passive role in treatment. You should discuss all the treatment options with your doctor, including the benefits and side effects of each medication, and how long the medication should take to work. You should work with your doctor for as long as it takes to find the correct medication combination for you to fully recover and stay in remission.


  1. Manage your symptoms: While you are waiting for your medication to work, or for the correct combination of medications to be prescribed, it is important to take an active role in managing your symptoms. Doctors suggest sticking to a schedule, eating right and exercising and making sure to save time for regular socialization.


  1. Be patient: Unfortunately, there is no magic pill to cure depression. Finding the correct combination of medications and therapy can take an unfortunate amount of time. When you are depressed, this can feel like an eternity, but it is important to be patient with yourself, your doctors and your medications.