In the past year, an estimated 16 million adults in the U.S. had one major depressive episode. It is also the most common health problem for students in college. Fortunately, over the past thirty years, medications have improved the health and well-being of those suffering from this wide-spread illness.
Depression affects employees’ and students’ performance and productivity. Among mental and behavioral disorders, depression accounts for a majority of disability claims for adults. A patient having feelings of hopelessness, despair, irritability, and fatigue for at least 2 weeks are some of the warning signs for depression. There are many other symptoms, some physical and others psychological or behavioral.
Types of Depression
Depression often co-occurs with other mental or physical disorders, such as bipolar disorder, substance abuse and general anxiety disorder. Because there are various types of depression that develop under unique circumstances, “Clinicians need to be curious about their patient’s physical and psychological history,” explained Dr. Andrew Cutler, Meridien Research’s Chief Medical Officer. “They need to listen for the important things that will help them determine the best diagnosis for their patient.”
Below is a list of the different types of depression from the National Institute of Mental Health:
- Persistent depressive disorder,
- Seasonal affective disorder,
- Psychotic depression
- Premenstrual dysphoric disorder,
- Perinatal disorder
- Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder, and
- Premenstrual dysphoric disorder.
Is There a Cure?
The cause of depression is a complex mixture of genetic and environmental factors, “When we’re talking about mental illnesses, like depression, we aren’t talking about a single cause and effect,” remarked Dr. Cutler. “There are many phases in the neural system that may have one or more failures. That means that one medication may work at one phase, yet may not help the patient because the cause is at a different phase or occurs over multiple phases.”
For decades, drug companies have focused on the serotonin or noradrenaline pathways. These have been the most successful drug treatments for depression and the initial medications for doctors to see what works best for their patients. The down side for these drugs is that they have a lag time for the drugs to present a response.
Another path research has taken is to refine the methods used to treat depression and use a combination of medications or multimodal drugs that target monoamine function in the brain. According to a 2015 study, the combination of therapeutic medications and multimodal medications are in late trial phases and proving to show greater efficacy for patients that failed to respond to single mode treatments.
Recent studies suggest depression may occur from the body’s inability to regulate glutamate. Drugs affecting the glutamatergic system have been shown to provide a more immediate response for patients, sometimes within hours; however, more research and clinical trials are necessary to understand the efficacy and safety for patient health and well-being.
With the use of advanced technology and pharmaceutical research, the race toward a cure for depression continues in a very positive direction. Meridien Research is dedicated to helping patients with clinical depression. Dr. Andrew Cutler is currently involved in multiple research studies investigating depression in adults and adolescents. Each study focuses on different aspects of depression therapies, including non-medication interventions. If you would like to learn more about these studies for yourself or someone you know, please contact Meridien Research confidentially at 941-756-8680 today.