Depression is a complicated issue. While there are many treatments that are effective at relieving depression symptoms, these treatments can lose varying degrees of effectiveness over time.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) one in five adults in the U.S. will experience some form of mental illness in any given year; with around 16 million people having been impacted by depression alone.
In addition, a 2016 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found that one in six people in the U.S. now take a psychiatric drug, with antidepressants being the most commonly prescribed treatment for mental illness.
Yet, even with the massive prevalence of these drugs, there’s still no guarantee that this medication will be effective for everyone or that it will continue to be effective after a certain amount of time.
But how can one tell if they’re mental health treatment plan is truly ineffective? Courtesy of TMS Center of Lehigh Valley, here are five signs that it may be time to reevaluate.
You’re Feeling a Bit Apathetic
While you don’t have to feel pure joy at every given moment to know whether your mental health treatment is effective, you also shouldn’t be feeling glum, grey, or flat in your everyday endeavors. If you find yourself less depressed, but also less motivated to do things that bring you joy, this is a sign that it may be time to reconsider your treatment options.
According to a 2016 report by Harvard Health, it isn;t uncommon for those who regularly take psychiatric medications to experience a sort of “blunting” effect that seems to almost dull their emotions altogether.
Another 2018 study found that antidepressants can also induce apathy, indifference, and lack of interest in some people within just six weeks of starting a medication.
You’re Having Trouble Sleeping
From quality of sleep to even the dreams you experience, certain mental health treatments can affect your sleep patterns in many different ways. While one sleepless night may not constitute a major issue, trouble sleeping over the course of several weeks is enough to merit a visit to your doctor or mental health professional.
According to Dr. Mark Goulston, MD, a psychatirst, author, and co-creator of the suicide prevention documentary Staying Alive, says “persistent sleepiness or sluggishness that may cause you to drink excess caffeine to stay awake” is one indication your treatment isn’t a good fit. Additionally, Goulston says that if your medication is causing “persistent insomnia,” it may also be a sign your medication isn’t right for you.
Issues sleeping can be a sign that something more serious may be lurking beneath the surface. For this reason, it’s important to monitor your sleep carefully to make sure nothing is out of the ordinary.
Your Relationships are Suffering
Have you recently been irritable and impatient in ways that are causing fights with friends and loved ones? If so, the side effects of your current mental health treatment plan may be the source.
There are many emotional side effects to certain medications, and loss of temper is often one of them. According to Dr. Camilla Lyons, MD, a psychiatrist and member of the Alma mental health co-practice community, if these side effects become “intolerable,” or don’t seem to go away after steady dosage, it may be time to reevaluate its usefulness.
Don’t let your mental health interfere with the people you love and care about. If you sense that you’ve recently been on the outs with everyone, this may be a result of an ineffective mental health treatment plan.
You’re Experiencing a Loss of Appetite
Have you recently been having trouble eating? Are you eating inconsistently or very little? Often, this is another side effect of the medication you’ve been taking to treat your mental health issues.
This is another symptom that is relatively easy to brush off, but if you’re not really eating, there could be something more going on. Ignoring it could lead to the development of other problems such as unwanted weight loss, bad fatigue, or even worsening depression symptoms you’ve been working so hard to fight.
If you notice a serious decrease in appetite, talk to a medical professional to get their opinion on next steps to take, or talk to your mental health professional about alternative treatment options.
Your Symptoms Haven’t Improved
While your symptoms don’t have to be completely eradicated in order for a treatment plan to be deemed effective, you should always keep an eye out for worsening or persistent symptoms. No treatment plan is perfect, but there’s no sense in sticking it out any longer if you’ve seen no real improvement for 90 days or longer.
“If you are feeling ‘back to yourself,’ and those close to you agree, the treatment you are engaged in is likely working,” says Dr. Scott West, the medical director of ThriveLogic TMS And Neurohealth, and Nashville NeuroCare Therapy.
However, if your mental health issues still seem to be interfering in your daily activities, work, or relationships, you still might need to speak with a mental health professional about other available treatment options.
TMS Center of Lehigh Valley, is the region’s first depression treatment center offering FDA approved, non-drug, non-invasive transcranial magnetic stimulation treatment for patients who suffer from mental illnesses like depression and anxiety.
Our dedicated staff is made up of tireless advocates who, with our expertise and compassion, help people struggling with depression conquer their disease and get their smiles back. To learn more about what we do or how we can help, don’t hesitate to contact us today.