Is There Such a Thing As An “Untreatable” Anxiety or Depression?

Is There Such a Thing As An “Untreatable” Anxiety or Depression?

Is There Such a Thing As An “Untreatable” Anxiety or Depression? 2000 1333 Aware Behavioral Health

Anxiety and depression are among the most common mental health disorders globally, affecting millions of individuals in their daily lives. These conditions can vary greatly in severity and impact, from mild, transient episodes to severe, chronic forms that can significantly hinder personal and professional functioning.

Anxiety and depression are generally treated with a combination of psychotherapy, medication, and lifestyle adjustments. However, some individuals may find themselves struggling with symptoms despite trying various treatments, leading to the question: Is there such a thing as untreatable anxiety or depression?

Depression and Anxiety Can Be “Treatment Resistant”

There is a term for anxiety and depression that is not responding well to treatment: treatment resistant. Treatment resistant is used to describe cases of anxiety and depression where standard treatments – such as antidepressants and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) – do not result in significant improvement.

Many factors may cause anxiety or depression to be “treatment resistant,” including:

  • Biological Factors – Genetic predispositions, neurochemical imbalances, and other physiological conditions can affect how well an individual responds to traditional treatments.
  • Psychological Factors – Personal history, trauma, and underlying belief systems can also influence treatment outcomes, making some traditional approaches less effective.
  • Environmental Factors – External stresses such as ongoing relationship problems, financial difficulties, or chronic health issues can impede the effectiveness of conventional treatments.

However, treatment resistant does NOT mean “untreatable.” It only means that we may need to look for new approaches, and that simpler conventional methods may not be the right choice.  One thing that many people do not realize – and something that can be both a benefit and a weakness of treatment – is that there are many, many possible treatment choices at any given time.

Even in the medication world, there is a wealth of medication that can be used to treat depression, and part of our role as psychiatrists is to help you find the one that is likely to work best, or use that information to decide if we need to do something else instead.

At Aware Behavioral Health in Dallas, we have alternative options like TMS therapy, which is specifically used to treat treatment resistant depression (among other mental health issues), offering yet another option at our disposal. There are also many forms of therapy,

Strategies for Managing Treatment-Resistant Conditions

Despite the challenges, there are several approaches that can improve outcomes for those dealing with treatment-resistant anxiety or depression:

  • TMS Therapy – As described earlier, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is an extensively researched and effective way to treat depression that requires no medications, using electromagnetic impulses to stimulate brain activity. It is a very unique, very welcome treatment in the world of mental health.
  • Advanced Pharmacotherapy – This may involve the use of different types of medications, such as using atypical antidepressants, combination therapies, or exploring newly approved drugs that target alternative biochemical pathways.
  • Psychotherapy Modifications – Tailoring psychotherapy techniques to better suit individual needs or intensifying the therapy sessions can sometimes overcome resistance. Therapies like psychodynamic therapy, intensive short-term dynamic psychotherapy (ISTDP), or schema therapy might be considered.
  • Lifestyle Interventions – Incorporating regular physical activity, meditation, diet changes, and sleep hygiene can have a profound impact on mental health.
  • Support Systems – Engaging with community support groups or family-based support can also play a crucial role in managing chronic conditions.

The landscape of mental health treatment is continually evolving, with new studies and technologies developing at a rapid pace. Research into genetic markers and the brain’s neuroplasticity might soon provide breakthroughs that could lead to more effective treatments for everyone.

While anxiety and depression can be highly resistant to treatment in some cases, they are typically not “untreatable.” Multiple avenues for management and intervention can still be explored. Most importantly, maintaining hope and continuing to seek help from a range of healthcare providers can lead to finding the right combination of treatments that can bring relief and improve quality of life. For those struggling with these mental health challenges, it is important to keep exploring options and advocating for comprehensive care.

Dallas Psychiatrist Dr. Surin Sehdev

Dr. Surin Sehdev is the lead psychiatrist at Aware Behavioral Health in Dallas (formerly Bedford, TX). He has been working in the psychiatric field for 7+ years. He specializes in opioid withdrawal, ADHD, anxiety, depression, insomnia, and sexual dysfunction. Content on this blog and this website should be considered informal and should not be considered medical advice, as may be written and/or edited by non-medical staff. Please contact Dr. Sehdev for specific and accurate diagnoses and treatment information.

All stories by : Dallas Psychiatrist Dr. Surin Sehdev