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VIDEO: Now there's HOPE for TRD!

Now, there is HOPE for TRD
ABM is excited to partner with The Georgia Treatment Resisitant Depression Clinic and offer HOPE to those suffering from Treatment Resistant Depression (TRD). 
We are one of the few sites in the state offering a cutting-edge non-medical treatment for TRD, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) with the Neurostar system.
Major depressive disorder (MDD) is common, having a one year prevalence of 6.4% of the US adult population and a lifetime prevalence approaching 20%, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. A large number of these patients do not respond to currently available treatments, including the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and the first line antidepressants and eventually result in treatment resistant depression (TRD).
TRD accounts for approximately 12–20% of those who are diagnosed with depression and sums to annual nearly $50 billion in additional costs. Usually there is a delay of weeks to months in treatment response with conventional antidepressants even in cases of successful treatments, which is a major drawback and necessitates the development of faster acting antidepressants. This is particularly of paramount importance for depressed patients who present with suicidality, a major challenge in TRD. Thus, there is a clear need to offer innovative, rapidly effective, and longer lasting treatments for patients with TRD. 

Evaluation & Treatment Options:


3) PSYCHOPHARMACOLOGY CONSULTATION by Board-Certified Psychiatrist
4) BLOOD TESTS to rule out underlying medical causes of depression 

7) EVALUATION FOR Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS)



How To Schedule a Consult
  • Patients with moderate to severe depression who have not responded to at least 2 antidepressant trials of adequate dose and duration are candidates for referral to the TRD Clinic. 
  • Ask your Primary Care Physician, Neurologist, or Psychiatrist to refer you for a one-time consultation by visiting www.athensbehavioral.com, filling out the brief "TRD Clinic Referral Form," & submitting it electronically. 
  • Our TRD Clinic Patient Coordinator will then call you to schedule the consultation, which is covered by most insurance plans. 
  • Patients will continue care with their referring Primary Care Physician, Neurologist, or Psychiatrist.  Doctors at our clinic will NOT prescribe or manage your psychiatric medications but will supply the referring doctor with detailed written treatment recommendations.
  • If patients choose adjunct TMS treatments at our clinic, your doctor will continue to manage your other medications and will receive periodic updates on your progress. 
  • If a patient desires follow-up with a Psychiatrist, we will be happy to refer you to either a clinician at Athens Behavioral Medicine or another psychiatrist in the community.

Additional info on TRD

Recently, Al-Harbi summarized the standard of care, therapeutic trends, and the challenges involved in patients with TRD. It is important to note that most of the approved antidepressant medications primarily target the brain monoamine systems (serotonin, norepinephrine, or, in some cases, dopamine) and, unlike Ketamine which acts ultrarapidly (usually within 2 hours of infusion or even quicker than this), none of these are known to target the glutamate system which has been implicated as an important therapeutic target based on the recent research in TRD. 

In general, the therapeutic options for TRD include two major strategies, that is, augmentation of antidepressant medication(s) which is done for partial responders and optimization of antidepressant medication(s) which is used for nonresponders. Before using these strategies, a thorough revision of psychiatric and medical diagnoses is necessary not only to identify misdiagnoses, if any, but also to identify any medical and psychiatric comorbidities that could contribute to the treatment resistance. The augmentation strategies involve adding one (or more) agent(s) which is not an antidepressant but may enhance the effect of the antidepressant. These augmenting agents are lithium, thyroid hormones, buspirone, pindolol, psychostimulants, atypical antipsychotics, sex hormones, anticonvulsants/mood stabilizers, and dopamine agonists. 

In contrast, optimization strategies involve maximization of the dose of the antidepressant for adequate time and assessment of serum levels of prescribed antidepressants if indicated. It may also involve switching to another antidepressant(s) (usually from a different class) or using a combination of antidepressants or may include addition of atypical antipsychotics with antidepressant properties. Adequate dosage and duration (usually 6–8 weeks) and adherence must be allowed for these psychotropic agents before they are deemed ineffective. If these agents fail, other approaches involve use of somatic therapies like ECT (electroconvulsive therapy), VNS (vagal nerve stimulation), and rTMS (repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation). Use of DBS (deep brain stimulation) in TRD has remained experimental and is usually reserved as last resort for isolated and utterly resistant cases only. Last but not the least, integrated approaches for TRD involve use of antidepressants together with other modes of treatment which include ketamine, psychotherapy, risk management strategies, complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies (including Yoga and mindfulness approaches), and life style changes such as aerobic exercises, stress management, and vacation. Additionally, use of strategies to manage the side effects of antidepressants and other psychotropic agents remains important in treating patients with TRD. Despite these existing strategies, TRD still remains a huge public health burden which includes the burdensome risk of suicide in this population.

Considering the severity of TRD and scarcity in the availability of effective and relatively faster acting pharmacological and psychological treatments, it is quite pertinent to look for other treatment options, as sole modality of treatment or as adjunct. It is encouraging to note that there has been considerable progress in this regard, which includes the newer potential treatment modalities such as TMS. 


TRD in the Press