Help for Special Problems
If you'd rather not use medication, or if allergies or other problems prevent its use, cognitive therapy is an effective and safe option. As you now know, there are many kinds of depression treatments available. Keep in mind that you do not have to stick with anything that isn't working for you, whether it's medication, therapy, or, for that matter, depression itself.
If You Can't Stomach Meds
If stomach or other problems prevent you from taking pills, you might enjoy more success with a transdermal medicine patch. (That is, one that delivers the medication through the skin.) The patch is placed on the back, upper arm, stomach, or other part of the body where there is a lot of skin and where it will be out of the way. One caveat: Nausea can still occur with the use of transdermal patches, so use with care.
Many medicines are also available in liquid or syrup versions. If your pharmacy cannot accommodate you, seek out a compounding pharmacy, which can formulate its own medicines. You might start by asking your doctor or pharmacist for recommendations.
For Treatment-Resistant Depression
New possibilities are emerging for depression that has not responded well to conventional treatment. We've already mentioned neurofeedback as one of the newer, drug-free possibilities.
Researchers have also begun experimenting with other techniques such as magnetic seizure therapy, deep brain stimulation, and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), all of which work directly on the brain. Magnetic seizure therapy and deep brain stimulation require hospitalization and general anesthesia; transcranial magnetic stimulation does not.
Deep brain stimulation has the longest history, as it is currently used in the treatment of Parkinson's symptoms. It does carry a risk of side effects, however. Transcranial magnetic stimulation, though not always effective, seems to pose few risks and have few side effects, but it is prohibitively expensive for most, and only available currently in a very limited number of clinical and research settings. As of this writing, only small numbers of people have tried any of these depression treatments in clinical trials. More research is needed to determine their safety and effectiveness.