When you have a health complaint, the process of managing it should be simple. It’s one we’re all familiar with and have likely followed at some point in our lives:
- You feel unwell or are experiencing a particular symptom.
- You visit a medical professional to discuss it.
- The medical professional diagnoses you.
- You receive a course of treatment, be it therapy, medication, or even surgery.
- Your symptoms improve.
- You are well again.
That’s the happy path, right?
We’re used to how this pattern plays out; we’ve lived it and have seen it in action. We all expect that if you visit a doctor with an ailment, that doctor will be able to cure you, and life will go on as normal.
So what happens when you don’t get cured; when the treatments don’t work? Dealing with this scenario can happen to any of us, and there’s no doubt it can be deeply distressing to experience. If you find that you are not responding to prescribed treatments, try not to be too despondent – there’s a variety of reasons why this might be happening.
When Conventional Treatments Aren’t Working
#1 – You Have Been Misdiagnosed
Misdiagnosis is a common cause for treatments failing to work. For example, many bacterial infections present near-identical symptoms to fungal infections. If you were misdiagnosed with a bacterial infection, then antibiotics would do nothing to fix the issue.
If you find that your symptoms don’t improve following a course of medication, then it’s always worth asking for a second opinion.
#2 – You’ve Yet To Reach The Working Dose
Many medications, and particularly those for mental health conditions such as anxiety, need time to work. You may also need to gradually increase the dose to a ‘working dose’ – the point at which symptoms are expected to improve. If you have yet to reach the working dose, then this may be why you’re not seeing a reduction in symptoms.
Your doctor should have a good idea of what dosage they believe will produce results. Ask them what their target dose is. If you are already at the working dose, you may need to explore other options. However, if you are still gradually increasing the dose at the doctor’s recommendations, then patience may be beneficial.
#3 – The Problem Is In Your Genes
No medication or therapy works 100% of the time; there will always be those who fall outside of the statistical margin. We’re all different; everyone has a different genetic makeup and will respond to medication and therapies in different ways. There’s no such thing as a sure thing in medicine. This variable issue is one of the reasons companies like Poseida are researching ways of incorporating our genetic makeup into treatment plans; hopefully, this is something that can be developed really soon.
In the meantime, you may just have to accept that due to a quirk of fate, a particular treatment isn’t going to work for you. You should discuss your alternative options with the relevant medical professional; there are usually different options that may be more in sync with your genetic makeup!
Over to you
If a treatment option doesn’t work for you, exploring the options above may help you to find the resolution that you need. Ultimately, don’t give up and keep working with your medical professional to come up with solutions!