How Common is Treatment-Resistant Depression?

How common is treatment-resistant depression? Treatment-resistant depression (TRD) is a prevalent condition, affecting approximately 30% of individuals with major depressive disorder (NCBI). Despite multiple treatment attempts, including medication and therapy, these individuals do not achieve sufficient relief from their symptoms. Understanding TRD’s prevalence underscores the need for alternative treatments, such as ketamine therapy, to address this significant mental health challenge.

Treatment-resistant depression (TRD) is a significant concern, affecting approximately 30% of individuals with major depressive disorder.

Despite multiple treatment attempts, this prevalence highlights the challenge many face in finding effective relief from their symptoms. Addressing TRD’s impact is crucial for developing alternative therapies, such as ketamine, that offer hope for better outcomes.

This article explores a common question we hear from patients interested in solutions for treatment-resistant depression: “How common is treatment-resistant depression?”

What Is Treatment-Resistant Depression?

Treatment-resistant depression (TRD) is a form of major depressive disorder that does not respond adequately to standard treatments, such as antidepressant medications and psychotherapy.

Typically, TRD is identified when an individual does not achieve significant improvement after trying at least two different antidepressant treatments at appropriate doses and durations.

This condition can significantly impact a person’s quality of life, making daily activities challenging. TRD often requires alternative or additional treatments, including advanced pharmacological options, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), or newer approaches, like ketamine therapy, to help manage symptoms and improve overall mental health.

How Common is Treatment-Resistant Depression?

Treatment-resistant depression (TRD) affects about 30% of people with major depressive disorder. This means that despite trying different antidepressant medications and therapies, a significant number of individuals do not find enough relief from their symptoms.

Knowing how common TRD is can help you understand that you are not alone in facing these challenges. Many people with TRD feel frustrated and hopeless, but it is essential to remember that ongoing research is working toward finding better treatments.

Exploring options like ketamine therapy and other advanced treatments can provide new hope for managing your symptoms and improving your quality of life.

Risk Factors and Causes

The risk factors and causes associated with treatment-resistant depression fall into different categories, including mental health, physical health, and demographics ( Mental health risk factors include the severity of a person’s depression, suicidality, how long they have been dealing with depressive symptoms, and any co-occurring disorders, such as anxiety or addiction.

Physical health risk factors refer to negative symptoms within the body. These include heart disease, chronic pain, thyroid problems, diabetes, and autoimmune diseases. Demographic risk factors of TRD include younger age of onset, being female, unmarried, and unemployed.

In discussing mental illness, there are also genetic, biological, environmental, and personality factors that likely play a role in determining whether someone develops TRD.

Impacts on Quality of Life

Quality of life is how people perceive themselves in various aspects of life. It is determined by measuring the positive and negative components of a person’s overall well-being. Common areas include physical and mental health, relationships, education, career, social status, financial status, sense of safety and freedom, living environment, social belonging, and ability to make good decisions.

Unfortunately, treatment-resistant depression can interfere with how a person functions professionally, socially, academically, and in other areas. They may feel they have a low quality of life due to the painful symptoms associated with TRD. On the other hand, once someone finds a treatment that works, their quality of life will improve.

Treatment for Treatment-Resistant Depression

Treatment for TRD must include nontraditional methods, sometimes in combination with traditional medications and therapies. One of the most successful treatment methods is ketamine. The FEDA approved Esketamine, a nasal spray, for treating TRD. However, there are intramuscular and intravenous methods available using off-label ketamine.

Ketamine infusions help people with TRD see positive results in a matter of weeks compared to the months or years it may have taken with antidepressants and therapy alone. Ketamine is administered at the lowest dose by a psychiatrist, preventing any chance of addiction. Ketamine-assisted psychotherapy, working with a therapist while on ketamine, can provide greater results. In addition, ketamine may improve how antidepressants work.

Lifestyle Adjustments: Supporting Recovery

Ketamine, along with traditional and alternative therapies, is a great way to start your journey to recovery from treatment-resistant depression. Fortunately, you can take many other steps to improve your recovery outcomes. Making lifestyle adjustments, like the following, are a few examples:

  • Create a Routine
  • Become More Physically Active
  • Improve Your Diet
  • Participate in fun activities

Depression Treatment in Los Angeles

Are you struggling with treatment-resistant depression and feeling like you have exhausted all your options? In Los Angeles, specialized support and innovative treatments are available to help you find relief.

The Mental Health Center in Los Angeles is committed to providing personalized care tailored to your unique needs.

Contact us today to discover how we can help connect you with a mental health professional near you.

Frequently Asked Questions

For the millions struggling with treatment-resistant depression, there are new treatments, like ketamine therapy, helping many feel happier in just a few weeks. Here are some answers to common questions regarding TRD and available treatments.

Is there hope for treatment-resistant depression?

With the use of ketamine to enhance traditional treatment regimens, people with TRD are experiencing breakthroughs and are feeling happier and capable of enjoying life. Some notice a difference after just one session of ketamine therapy, which is a safe and non-addictive treatment.

What are the outcomes for treatment-resistant depression?

Many report that after ketamine therapies, they feel happier and more motivated. Research shows ketamine treatments drastically reduce suicidal thoughts. In addition, ketamine improves the effects of antidepressants. When combined with talk therapy, the effects of ketamine last even longer for some participants.

Is ketamine therapy an option for treatment-resistant depression?

Ketamine therapy is an excellent option for anyone with treatment-resistant depression. New research shows it can also help with other mental health disorders, such as anxiety, substance abuse, post-traumatic stress, chronic pain, and suicidal ideations. Future research may prove it can benefit many other conditions.


Treatment-resistant depression impacts a person’s quality of life, but with new advances in treatments, like ketamine, they can see improvements.

People can also make lifestyle changes to enhance the effects of ketamine therapy. So, how common is treatment-resistant depression? Treatment-resistant depression is affecting millions of people. If you are one of those millions, don’t wait any longer to try ketamine therapy.

Contact The Mental Health Center today to discuss your options.