Us, humans, may be the apex predator, the most resilient and adaptable form of life on the planet, but we are also very weak. We managed to take over the planet despite our inferior physical prowess, but we still get devastated if we get rejected. And so, we get depressed. Studies have recently shown that despite contrary belief, antidepressants are just as useful as therapy in curing depression.
- 20 million United States citizens suffer from depression every year
- Around the world, 350 million people are affected each year
- The World Health Organization predicts depression to be the second leading cause of disability by 2020, after HIV/AIDS
- Depression has an estimated cost of $30.4 billion every year
- One in four people will experience a major depressive episode by the age of 24
Researchers from the Danube University performed a study spanning over 1,500 people in 11 controlled trials in order to find the better cure for depression.
The group found a 45% rate of improvement among the participants. Out of the over 1,500 participants, some were on antidepressants, like Prozac and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, while others went to various types of psychological therapy, like cognitive-behavioral therapy or CBT. Both types of treatment proved to be equally effective in the treatment of depression.
The study author, Halle Amick, from the Research Triangle Institute-University of North Carolina, wanted to stress that this study is one of the few that actually consider both types of treatment valuable.
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy was the first type of therapy accepted by insurance companies in America, as it had actual proof of patients improving when seeing a practitioner. It focuses on working together with the patient in order to solve current problems and change unhelpful thinking and behavior. It is generally viewed as the most effective type of short to medium term therapy.
Antidepressants are a cheap, fast alternative to therapy. They affect the chemical imbalances in the brain, allowing for more happiness hormones to pass through. They are about as effective as therapy, however once the patient is off them, the depressive state can return, as no changes are made to his way of thinking.
The study is very useful, as it shows that patients should be given both alternatives, in order for them to choose the one they feel is better suited to their needs.
It shows how it’s wrong for doctors to only suggest one of the approaches, as for some patients, being stuck with an option they’re not comfortable with, can lead to even more complications.
Get help! If you feel like depression has its claws in you, talk to someone. You may not want to, you may feel like it’s pointless, you might even think you can handle it. But you won’t be able to. For you and everyone around you. They care. Get help.
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