Resistance to Antidepressant Treatment

It may come as a surprise to anyone who’s read my writing to hear that I was reluctant to start antidepressant treatment for my depression. While I would not call myself “pro” medication, my life has been changed by antidepressants, and I know quite a few other people who feel the same way.

However, my initial reaction to my psychiatrist’s suggestion that I start antidepressants was a firm “no.” Or, that is, as firm as I was about anything at that time. I was in the middle of the third, and worst, major depressive episode of my life. Most of the time I was either numb or crying. I had made an appointment for a mental health evaluation after reading William Styron’s “Darkness Visible” and realizing that in all likelihood I was suffering from clinical depression.

My psychiatrist’s confirmation that I did have clinical depression was a huge relief to me. I think he was somewhat surprised; I’m sure some of his patients were resistant to the diagnosis. I was just relieved that what I was going through had a name and that my symptoms were part of a medical condition. I wasn’t, however, ready to treat it with medication.

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Depression: Doctors Are Turning to Ketamine for Treatment | Time.com

There hasn’t been a major depression-drug breakthrough in nearly three decades, but a number of factors are conspiring to change that. Scientists are gaining a more nuanced picture of what depression is–not a monolithic disease, but probably dozens of distinct maladies–and they’re getting closer to learning what works for which kind of ailment.

Source: Depression: Doctors Are Turning to Ketamine for Treatment | Time.com

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Can exercise cure depression and anxiety? – The Washington Post

Please note that the writer of this article should not have used the word “cure.” Exercise is a treatment for depression, not a cure. There is no cure for depression at this time. Also, your depression treatment should always be under the care of a doctor, whether medication, therapy or exercise. – Editor

At the age of 16, Heather Troupe received a diagnosis of chronic severe depression and a prescription for an antidepressant. Eight years and 20 pounds later, she was sleeping poorly, felt a lot of anxiety and had lost her therapist because of insurance complications. Looking to “fix herself,” as Troupe, of Knoxville, Tenn., put it, she began using an elliptical machine every day at the gym, hoping to sweat away what was ailing her. Today, Troupe, 33, has been medication-free for nine years and credits her daily exercise habits with helping her achieve mental health.

Read on: Can exercise cure depression and anxiety? – The Washington Post

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Talk Therapy May Help Depressed Teens Who Shun Antidepressants

(HealthDay News) — Depressed teens who refuse antidepressants may benefit from counseling, a new study suggests.The study included more than 200 teens who were unwilling to take medication to treat their depression. The researchers found that those who tried a type of short-term “talk therapy” — known as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) — were more likely to recover than those who didn’t.”High numbers of adolescents experience depression, as many as 10 to 15 percent each year — and up to one in five by age 18,” said lead researcher Greg Clarke. He is a depression investigator at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland, Ore.”Unfortunately, most of these depressed teens are not treated. As few as 30 percent get specific depression care,” he said.In many cases, depressed teens refuse to take antidepressants, “often because of side effect concerns,” Clarke said. These include warnings going back to 2004 about suicidal thoughts and behavior related to antidepressant use, the researchers said. Other common side effects from antidepressants include weight gain and fatigue.”Offering brief cognitive behavioral therapy is an effective alternative,” Clarke said. The small to moderate benefits found in this trial may be tied to reduced need for psychiatric hospitalization, the researchers noted.

Source: Talk Therapy May Help Depressed Teens Who Shun Antidepressants

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Exercise Might Lift Libido in Women on Antidepressants

(HealthDay News) — Exercise might help treat sexual problems in women taking antidepressants, especially if their workouts occur right before sex, new research reveals.

The study included 52 women who had reduced desire and other sexual side effects while taking antidepressants.

For the first three weeks of the study, the women did not exercise. They were then divided into two groups for the next three weeks, with one group assigned to exercise immediately before sex and the other group assigned to exercise in a way that was not timed to having sex. The researchers then reversed the two groups for another three weeks.

via Exercise Might Lift Libido in Women on Antidepressants.

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Lilly says depression drug didn’t meet goal in three studies – chicagotribune.com

Eli Lilly & Co. will end development of the depression medicine edivoxetine as an add-on therapy after the drug failed to meet goals in three studies.A current trial evaluating the experimental compound’s long-term effects will continue, the Indianapolis-based company said in a statement Thursday. Edivoxetine was in the final of three stages of testing usually required for marketing approval by U.S. regulators.

via Lilly says depression drug didn't meet goal in three studies – chicagotribune.com.

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How to Treat Depression When Psychiatrists Are Scarce – Wired Science

Mental health doesn’t even rate a mention in most policymakers’ lists of global health priorities. But mental illness and substance abuse disorders rank among the greatest causes of disability worldwide. In poor countries, where there aren’t nearly enough therapists, these conditions cause tremendous suffering and block economic development. Vikram Patel, a psychiatrist at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, has a solution: train ordinary people to be coun­selors.

via How to Treat Depression When Psychiatrists Are Scarce – Wired Science.

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Taking Antidepressants During Pregnancy May Not Raise Autism Risk

(HealthDay News) — Children of mothers who take a widely used class of antidepressants during pregnancy are not at increased risk for autism, a large new study finds.

Autism, a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects communication and social skills, is estimated to affect about one in 88 children in the United States.

Previous research has suggested that women who take antidepressants during pregnancy are up to five times more likely to have children with autism.

via Taking Antidepressants During Pregnancy May Not Raise Autism Risk.

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Why Do Some People Prefer “Natural” Treatment for Depression?

Image: Detail from The Sleeping Beauty by Henry Maynell Rheam
Detail from The Sleeping Beauty by Henry Maynell Rheam

Since I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, several people have suggested bee stings as an alternative treatment to the interferon beta shot I do once a week. The first time a helpful soul suggested it, I was stupefied for a minute. I mean, honestly. How is being stung by bees preferable in any way to medication? Granted, my interferon medicine does have side effects, but what would make anyone think bee stings are free from side effects? I’ve had allergic reactions to stinging insects in the past, for one thing, and there’s a reason that many people carry epi-pens to counteract bee stings. I’m wondering if somehow the potential throat-closing-up-lack-of-breathing is seen as inconsequential compared to medication side effects by the people who suggest the bee sting regimen.For some inexplicable (at least, to me) reason, some people think that if a treatment is natural, it is always superior to one developed in a lab. For me, this is a head-scratcher. Natural is not even safe in every situation, let alone superior. Digitalis, which is derived from foxglove, is used to treat heart conditions, but do you know any cardiac patients who grow the plant and just clip some off when they’re in distress? No, of course not, or at least I hope not. They use pills that are prescribed for the condition, as the level of digitalis in them is safe.

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Variant of Club Drug ‘K’ Might Have New Life as Antidepressant

HealthDay News — The veterinary tranquilizer ketamine — perhaps better known as the illicit "club drug" Special K — may be reformulated for use as an antidepressant, and researchers report promising early findings.The goal is to produce a ketamine-like drug without nasty side effects, such as hallucinations. In this new study, which researchers say is the most comprehensive of its kind, depressed people who took the drug reported improvement over three weeks.

via Variant of Club Drug 'K' Might Have New Life as Antidepressant.

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