Depression not responding to antidepressants

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Hi, I have been suffering with severe depression for 8 months (triggered by a health scare which is resolved). I was put on Sertraline but had such a bad reaction had to be taken off after a week. I then tried to cope without medication but couldn't.  

I am currently on Mirtazapine (30 mg last 10 weeks) and Venłafaxine (5 weeks, last two at 225mg).  I am not seeing any improvement at all, if anything, I'm getting worse.  Yesterday, for the first time in a while, I felt actively suicidal.  Mornings are absolutely terrible. 

I'm now petrified that I have treatment resistent depression as I cannot continue to live like this.  Please help, this time last year everything was fine but now I don't recognise myself or my life.  I have had counselling and CBT.

I'd be so grateful for any advice x

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8 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi sorry to hear that you are feeling like this. If your meds aren't working after being on them for 10 weeks I'd suggest to go back & see your doctor. Have you been prescribed them by a GP or psychiatrist? If you feel like you are getting worse then that isn't a good sign. Cortisol (stress hormone) levels are at their highest in the mornings so that may explain why you feel worse in the AM.

     I too suffer with depression & have had GAD now for several years. I'm not taking anything for it at the moment but tried Mirtazipine but had a bad reaction to it. I suffer with SAD  & have a trapped nerve which is making everything worse for me. spenind most days in tears alone. I was diagnosed with "acute depression" 15 years ago & put on Sertraline, they kept upping the dose & I didn't feel like that was working for me either. Is it hard to find the right medication & can be very frustrating.  that's good that you've had counselling & CBT, did you find that they helped you? 

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    • Posted

      Thank you for replying.  I'm very sorry to hear that you've struggled for a long time.  

      I'm under a psychiatrist and have a follow up appointment with him soon.  Mirtazapine and venłafaxine are known for really helping people when other treatment hasn't and that's why I'm so scared that I'm not going to get better.  I really try to think positively but it's getting more difficult each day.

      CBT and counselling wasn't a great help.  

      The psychiatrist believes my type of depression is severe but the type that would respond well to medication.  After increasing the dose of venłafaxine from 75 to 150mg I had 3 normal days, I couldn't believe it, I thought that we'd finally hit the nail on the head, but unfortunately it didn't last.

      i don't understand why that would happen, the change was too significant to be placebo.  

      Just cannot believe that this is happening to me xxx

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  • Posted

     Hi Gen,

     I know what you're going through. Back in the '90's I suffered from several suicide attempts. After on time I was put on too strong an anti-depressant (Luvox) and I became psychotic. I won't go into detail about it but will just say that I was soon put on an anti-psychotic medication named Olanzapine. Later turned out that I was alergic to anti-deprssants. They just made me more manic and delusional. I'm bi-polar. The anti-dedpressants made my life a living hell. My psychiatrist later put me on mood stabilizers instead, She put me on Carbamazepine and Divalproex. She reduced the dosage of the anti-depressant. Turns out that I can't take anti-depresants any more. Mood stabilizers seem to keep me relatively stable although I still suffer from a little too much mania. As it turns out I found that there is no magic formula for all people. Everyone reacts to medication differently. As is your case. You just have to stay in constant communication with your doctor and tell them how lowsy you feel and that you want to try a change in medication. Ask if they think mood stabilizers might work for you. From what I've heard, they really do the trick for a lot of people. They often have fewer side effects than just anti-depressants. My advice is to stay in constant communication with your doctor. Often it's trial and error trying to find the right medication or combination thereof. Sometimes it takes months getting a person the right meds. But it's worth it in the end once you've found the right one(s). Good luck Genn. I'll be thinking of you especially when I think back on what I went through to get the meds right. You can do it if you trust your doctor to be open to making changes. God bless. xxoo

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  • Posted

    Hi and how I understand what you are going through. I have not been on Mirtazapine as I refused but I was on Sertraline and then Venlafaxine, both of which I had a terrible reaction to as well .The Sertraline ended up being mixed with Amitriptyline which  I was taking and this almost put me in the hospital with Sertatonine Syndrome. The answer from my GP when I saw him was 'go home and rest'..that was it. It took about three weeks of hell to leave my system and Im still struggling now. I am supposed to be taking Venlafaxine but until I have stopped the Amitriptyline I have NO intention of taking the two together - my 'gut feeling' tells me not to do it.  I have to agree with you about the mornings.,they are terrible for me too and I dont know why. I have had counselling and 'talking therapy' both of which did not much if Im honest, but believe me, you WILL get through it. If you feel suicidal, then you MUST go and seek help, and if its out of hours at the GP's then go to the hospital. You may be having a reaction to the drugs themselves and you need to be looked at by a professional. Today has been a terrible day for me too, but I just think that tomorrow is another day and perhaps, just perhaps, something may change. Dont give up...there are plenty of people on here whom you can talk to and some of them have really helped me.

    Im sure if I can give you any advice then I would be more than happy to do so or if it makes you feel better to leave a message, then please do so. Remember - you ARE NOT alone!!

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    • Posted

      Oh Marie, I know about serotonin syndrome.  At the very beginning of all this I was taking a low dose of the painkiller tramadol as I'm allergic to caffeine which is in most of the strong over the counter painkillers.  I'd pulled a muscle under my rib cage, I'm a gardener for a living.

      After a few weeks of taking the tramadol I felt mildly depressed and saw my doctor who put me on fluoxetine, telling me to stop the tramadol because of serotonin syndrome, after 3 days I was then put straight onto Sertraline as I didn't feel 'right' on fluoxetine and what followed next was the worst 7 days of my life.  I was taken off everything but put on propranolol because the anxiety was so extreme and then what followed was this horrendous depression which is a million times worse than the mild depression I originally went to the doctors with.

      I'll never know if tramadol caused the original low mood but I am certain that there was an interaction between tramadol, fluoxetine and Sertraline which cause that horrendous 7 days.  I felt like I was being poisoned and was lying my mind.  Terrible experience xxx


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  • Posted

    Thank God someone else knows what I went through!! I too was taking Tramadol as I have chronic pain and ME so they gave me this to try and help through it. I started shaking with the Tramadol, more like muscle twitches if Im honest and I couldnt stop. My hands would shake and although I asked the doc, they didnt tell me about these symptoms.I was also taking Amitriptyline and Flupentixol for anxiety and I guess that there was an interaction between all of them, especially the Amitriptyline.  I do agree with you though.. you have to go through the syndrome to know just how bad it is. They didnt give me anything to get me through it, although I had to beg and beg for some Diazapam to help with the shaking...they very reluctantly gave me 5 days of 2mg, three times a day.  They only gave me these because I pointed out to them that if I was a Heroin user, they would give me Methodone and as they had given me the drugs in the first place, I dont see why they couldnt help me. I still have the shakes, although I do try and overcome them myself but its not easy, and I find myself resorting to herbal meds more than regular meds. But as you say, the next week of not taking the tablets due to the seratonine syndrome are the worst that I have ever experienced, and then they go and give me Sertraline AGAIN two weeks before christmas...this meant that I had it all over the holidays and couldnt enjoy anything. The worst part of all of this for me was the sweating....I couldnt stop no matter what I did and I lost a stone in a week due to fluid loss. When I told the doc, they didnt even give me anything to replace electrolite loss - I had to buy them myself from the pharmacy as I was keeling over due to loss of salts and electrolites. It makes me wonder if they prescibe these things, would they actually take them themselves as they know what harm they do? I very much doubt it!! Hope you are getting on the best side of things now and that you are feeling at least, a little better. I have to say though that it does make it easier when you know that there are people out there with the same least, we are not alone.

    Take care. X

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