Dealing with depression can feel like a long, strung-out battle. You try treatment after treatment and drug after drug, hoping that one of them makes you feel normal again. Many people eventually do find the right combination of antidepressants to alleviate their symptoms at least somewhat. But what should you do when you feel like you've tried everything in the book and your symptoms are still lingering? Here are three more "experimental" depression treatments you may want to look into when conventional antidepressants fail:
Ketamine was originally formulated to be an anesthetic drug to put patients under during surgery. Some people used it as a street drug in order to elicit hallucinations. However, doctors are finding that it has a therapeutic use for relieving depression symptoms. It has even helped some people overcome suicidal thoughts and tendencies.
Now, ketamine is not FDA-approved for the treatment of depression, but there are doctors who are using it off-label. It works differently than standard antidepressant drugs, sometimes leading to improvements in mood within hours whereas typical drugs can take weeks to have an effect. If you do try ketamine (under a doctor's supervision, of course) you will know whether or not it works for you within a few hours.
Magnetic Seizure Therapy
Another experimental treatment that has brought some people relief is magnetic seizure therapy or MST. This is a procedure during which your doctor uses electromagnets to carefully stimulate a seizure in the brain. You're put under anesthesia during the procedure, so you do not feel a thing. When you wake up, you may feel less depressed.
This treatment sounds scary, but it is not as new and experimental as you might think. It has actually been used to treat Parkinson's disease for years, so its safety has been proven. Only its use in depression treatment is new.
It has long been known that diet can affect the mood and the secretion of hormones related to depression. But there is no specific diet that has been found to cure depression, so nutritional therapy in this regard is still quite experimental. Consider seeking out a nutritional therapist who has experience working with patients with mood disorders. Depending on your current eating patterns, they may recommend various changes -- from consuming more vegetables to drastically increasing the amount of fat in your diet. The great thing about this treatment is that you can use it in conjunction with either of the treatments above.