Treatment Resistant Depression that defies all the standard pharmaceutical attempts to conquer the Black Dog is an especially pernicious villain. Combine clinical depression that fails to respond to Paxil, Prozac, Wellbutrin, Buspar…and, well, the list goes on…with a personality disorder that messes you up more severely than ninjas with a license to maim and you have the blueprint for a spiral that appears ready to take you into a black hole from which recovery is not even a realistic enough goal to call a dream.
I write those words from the perspective not of a great researcher into the subject, but a first person shooter. I have been facing the world in the grip of Treatment Resistant Depression and I have been detailing it in the form of a handful of articles published here that describe my own person experiences with alternatives to all those lovely little pills that flip on the lights for others. I experienced that vision once and enjoyed a respite from the darkness for about half a decade.
And then the drugs stopped working. And that is why you can read articles about treating Treatment Resistant Depression with 5-HTP, SAM-e, pramiracetam and tDCS. None of which worked for me. But that doesn’t mean any or all of them won’t work for you or someone you love. In fact, if you or someone you love is dealing with a case of clinically diagnosed depression that just refuses to respond to traditional treatment, I cannot urge you mightily enough to give every avenue open a try.
But this article is about the latest attempt by someone like you or someone you love to find relief from the crushing oblivion that surrounds Treatment Resistant Depression. I was recently prescribed Strattera. Strattera started out in the world of pharmacological research as a treatment for depression. The final results of those studies failed to support the hope-for hypothesis, but did seem to be quite effective at helping with ADD and ADHD. Fortunately for my depression, I was also diagnosed with that syndrome and so my insurance—which I will only call by its secret name, Satan U. Healthcare—covered a small portion of the cost of Strattera.
Look, nothing works for everyone. And when it comes to Treatment Resistant Depression, that truism needs to be not doubled but quadrupled. You name an anti-depressant and I have probably tried it. In fact, it would be easier for me to list the anti-depressant medications that have not worked than those that have. I don’t want to get anyone’s hope up, because I know exactly what that is like. The expectation quickly followed by a crash and burn that only worsens the situation.
The very first day I took Strattera, I felt a fog lift. I was nowhere near the situation I had been in during my “Flowers for Algernon” period of medications that worked to the greatest degree imaginable. But the difference between the afternoon I first took Strattera and the weekend right before was like turning on a light with a dimmer that seemed to be broken. Suddenly, as if by magic, the dimmer switch turned and what had been a dark room turned frigid by the lack of heat warmed up and was filled with a pool of light. I looked around and saw familiar items that had grown strange and foreign.
With each passing day, the dimmer switch would turn a little more and the light would travel a little farther and grow a little brighter. After a week, I cannot say that I am back near where I was when my version of Charly gone genius was located, but I am no longer Charly gone idiot.
Treatment Resistant Depression has, in my case, with the addition of Strattera, become a misnomer again. It can be treated. If you are dealing with a history of pills that work wonders for others littered behind you like the hammered bodies of “Oldboy” in an alley then you may want to get Strattera a try. I have been where you are. I have, in some cases, been a place much darker than where you are. And I have given up hope like you.
But hope is back. And even if I never return to my glory days of looking around and asking, “Depression? What’s depression?” that’s okay. Because where I am now is about nine miles away from the litter of SAMe, 5-HTP, pramiracetam, tDCS, St. John’s Wort and every other failed treatment option left behind on a ten mile long island.
So, with a little luck, this may be the last in my series of articles on battling Treatment Resistant Depression. And if you or someone you love has been engaged in the same war and there has not been skirmish on the hills of Strattera yet, then I have to suggest that you at least give it a try.
The effects, alas, proved quite temporary. Within three months, the effects of Strattera had worn off completely. But it had been effective temporarily and interested readers may have better luck. The point is that unlike the overwhelming bulk of medications and treatments I have tried, Strattera DID prove effective if only for the short term; something that makes it stand out significantly from the host of alternatives.