top of page

Current Depression Research Made Simple

Unveiling the Latest Research on Depression

Recent research has highlighted the impact of depression on individuals' lives, and there have been novel advancements in its treatment. Depression is a leading cause of disability worldwide and can affect individual's educational and work trajectory[1][2]. There are more than 350 million people with depression worldwide, with an estimated lifetime prevalence of 15%[3]. Some studies have shown promise in experimental brain stimulation that led to remission in 79% of participants with severe depression[4]. Advances have also been made in treatment approaches, such as behavioral activation therapy and antidepressant medications[5]. Additionally, wearable technology has been used to monitor sleep patterns and physical activity in individuals with depressive disorders[6].

In this blog post, we will explore some of the latest research findings and advancements in the field, providing hope for individuals battling this condition.


 

Types of Depression:

There are different types of depression, each with its own set of symptoms. Here are some common types of depression and their associated symptoms:


Major Depression: This is the classic type of depression characterized by a persistent feeling of sadness and a loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyable. Common symptoms include trouble sleeping, changes in appetite or weight, loss of energy, feeling worthless, and thoughts of death or suicide.

Persistent Depressive Disorder (Dysthymia): This type of depression involves long-term symptoms that may last for years, but they are less severe than major depression. Symptoms include low mood, irritability, poor concentration, low self-esteem, and a lack of interest or pleasure in daily activities.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): SAD is a type of depression that typically occurs during certain seasons, such as winter, when there is less natural sunlight. Symptoms may include low energy, excessive sleep, weight gain, and a craving for carbohydrates.

Postpartum Depression: Postpartum depression occurs in women after giving birth. Symptoms can include extreme sadness, anxiety, and fatigue, difficulty bonding with the baby, withdrawal from friends and family, and thoughts of harming oneself or the baby.

Bipolar Disorder: This is a mood disorder characterized by alternating periods of depression and mania. During the depressive phase, symptoms are similar to those of major depression. During the manic phase, individuals may experience an elevated or irritable mood, increased energy, and impulsive behavior.

It is important to note that symptoms may vary among individuals and may not always fit into a specific category. It is recommended to seek professional help for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.


 

Learn more about the biology of depression HERE.


 

The Global Impact of Depression:

Depression is a leading cause of disability globally and has far-reaching consequences. A study by Ferrari et al. reveals that depression is responsible for a significant burden of disease, affecting areas such as work productivity, education, and overall quality of life. These findings emphasize the urgency to address depression as a public health priority.


Experimental Brain Stimulation:


Women with tech on her head for brain research and treatment

One promising area of research is the use of experimental brain stimulation techniques. A recent study at Stanford University investigated the use of high-dose magnetic brain stimulation for severe depression treatment. Remarkably, the study reported remission in 79% of participants. This breakthrough could potentially offer a new and effective treatment option for those struggling with severe depression.


Advancements in Treatment Approaches:

Therapist taking notes in a therapy session

Treatment approaches for depression have evolved over the years. Behavioral activation therapy has shown promising results in helping individuals regain a sense of engagement and pleasure, combating depressions' pervasive symptoms. Antidepressant medications remain a widely used option in the treatment of depression, but ongoing research aims to enhance their efficacy and minimize side effects. These advancements give hope to individuals seeking effective and personalized treatment.


Evidence-based treatments for depression include both psychotherapeutic and pharmacological interventions.

Psychotherapeutic interventions are recommended as first-line treatment for mild to moderate depression.


Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based psychotherapy for depression that helps improve mood and teaches patients to restructure negative thought patterns.


Interpersonal therapy (IPT) is another psychotherapy that aims to improve personal relationships and social functioning. Both CBT and IPT have been found to be effective in treating depression.


Other treatments currently being researched:


Systemic therapy: "Systemic therapy approaches place a lot of importance on the relationships between people – for instance, within your family, your group of friends or at work. These relationships can play a role in the development of depression. The therapy might involve trying to improve communication within the family, for instance. The aim is to reduce the symptoms of depression."(1)


Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT): effectively helps the effects of antidepressant medication in depressed adults. 75% percent of depressed adults treated with Dialectical Behavior Therapy and medication reported remission after 6 months. (2)


Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy: EMDR was introduced in 1987 by Francine Shapiro as a treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). EMDR therapy has the goal to integrate maladaptive information into a functional memory network by focusing on stressful memory content and simultaneous bilateral stimulation. "A large number of scientific studies are available that not only demonstrate the effect of EMDR in PTSD (Chen et al., 2014), but also that EMDR leads to symptom reductions in depressive disorders."(3)


Pharmacological interventions (medication): Medication may be necessary in addition to psychotherapy. Antidepressants, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), are the most commonly prescribed antidepressants. They work by increasing the levels of serotonin and/or norepinephrine in the brain, which can improve mood. These medications have been found to be effective in treating moderate-to-severe depression.


*It is important to note that the appropriate treatment for depression may vary for each individual, and treatment should be tailored to fit the patient's needs. As such, it is recommended that each person experiencing depression seek out a mental health professional to determine the best course of treatment for them.

Sources

Ferrari, A.J., et al. (2013). Burden of Depressive Disorders by Country, Sex, Age, and Year: Findings from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010. PLoS Medicine, 10(11), e1001547. ↩


Stanford Medicine. (2021). Experimental Deep Brain Stimulation Offers Promising Approach to Severe Depression. Retrieved from: https://med.stanford.edu/news/all-news/2021/10/depression-treatment.html


Ekers, D. et al. (2008). Behavioural Activation for Depression: An Update of Meta-Analysis of Effectiveness and Sub Group Analysis. Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy, 36(03), 291–321. ↩


Phillips, M.R., et al. (2019). Advancing Global Mental Health: Epidemiology, Systems, and Programs. Annual Review of Public Health, 40, 25–45. ↩


Baskaran, A. et al. (2020). Wearable Devices for Mood Regulation in People with Depressive Disorders: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of User-Adherence and Dropout Rates. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 22(6), e16830. ↩


American Psychiatric Association. (2010). Practice Guideline for the Treatment of Patients with Major Depressive Disorder. https://www.psychiatry.org/File%20Library/Psychiatrists/Practice/Clinical%20Practice%20Guidelines/APA-Draft-Depression-Treatment-Guideline-Rev-1-Final.pdf ↩


Cuijpers, P., et al. (2013). Psychotherapy for depression in adults: A meta-analysis of comparative outcome studies. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 81(4), 631–643. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0033580


Rush, A. J., et al. (2018). Acute and longer-term outcomes in depressed outpatients requiring one or several treatment steps: A STAR*D report. The American Journal of Psychiatry, 175(10), 982–991. https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.ajp.2018.17030325


National Institute of Mental Health. (2021). Depression. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression/index.shtml


 

The latest research on depression illuminates a path towards better understanding, diagnosis, and treatment of this complex mental health condition. Breakthroughs in areas such as experimental brain stimulation, advancements in treatment approaches, and the utilization of technology bring new hope to individuals battling depression. As researchers continue to delve into this challenging field, it is crucial to raise awareness, and prioritize mental health resources to ensure effective support for those affected by depression.



Population-Based Approaches to Mental Health-History-Strategies-and Evidence-2020
.pdf
Download PDF • 292KB


Mental_health_of_young_people_a_global_p
.pdf
Download PDF • 221KB

Other Sources



 





2 views0 comments

Comments


bottom of page