Depression is a clinical disorder that is now unfortunately very common in people of all ages. India has the highest rate of depression in youth. Globally more than 264 million people are suffering from depression. Depression is one of the major contributors to suicide amongst the younger generation.
What makes it more concerning, is that it is diagnosed with difficulty and way too late. Lack of awareness and conceitedness makes it more difficult for the person to seek out help.
Although in recent years much effective medication like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), and therapies have been discovered to cure depression such as behavioral activation, cognitive behavioral therapy. But it is to understand that mediation for depression is not as simple as any other curative medication.
Antidepressants are used generally for mild to severe cases of depression and are not the first line of treatment. But when it comes to antidepressants many face-to-face psychological treatments are used to come to the right type of antidepressants for the patients.
The point with antidepressants is that it is a difficult and long process to find one which suits the patient most harmlessly. Most common antidepressants don’t work for 70% of people. It takes a long and painful process of hit and trial. This takes a lot of time and is a very taxing process for the patient. Some do not even find their perfect or near to perfect match. Trial and error make patients prone to side effects like anxiety, restlessness, insomnia which will not be able to find is a side effect or result of depression. This can make depression a lot worse than better.
So, away is brought to light to skip the trial and error and straight to the important part.
Yes, a finger-prick blood test can predict likely can guide the depression treatment towards effectiveness in less time.
Research published by some researchers in England suggests a premedication test to suggest the right medication.
Let’s dismantle this problem first to get a better understanding.
Depression affects bodies in different ways. This demands unique medication accordingly. A blood test can be used to come up with a way to better decide on the required antidepressants which would help the patient to recover from clinical depression without trial and error. This method could bring an end to the guessing game of antidepressant prescriptions.
US Southwestern Medical Center says that having a biological explanation can change the way depression is treated.
What are we looking for in the blood?
Blood has biomarkers in it. These act like chemical signals. People have different levels of these biomarkers. Levels of these biomarkers indicate whether the medication would work for the patient or not.
According to scientists tests of levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) will give a better understanding to doctor about the drugs to prescribe and their success rate.
This will not only help the patients who still haven’t got a working medication for them and increase the rate of cured depression patients.
A very common behavior seen in depression patients is dropping the medication course in just 3 months.
Dr. Trivedi Director of the Depression Centre of UT Southwestern Medical Center says “giving up hope and dropping medication is a very common behavior.” But a treatment plan including blood test and a biological proof will give results and patients would be more likely to continue the medication.
A relation between CRP levels and drug used is found by scientists.
- CRP level less than 1mg/L – escitalopram works just fine.
CRP level higher –
- escitalopram plus bupropion works more effectively
CRP is a very general, basic, and effective way to measure inflammations in a human body hence it is an effective marker for depression.
According to Dr. Trivedi’s research one does not need a higher amount of inflammation to experience the symptoms of depression. A small range of inflammation in the body can trigger depressive symptoms, inpatient.
Many advanced types of research are to get a better idea of the role of CRPs with other antidepressants and to find more alternatives for CRPs.
Patients are hopeful that biological reasoning could be found so there are better and more chances of curing the illness. Rather than just relying on guessing treatments and questions and answer with the patients which has not proven to be much effective.
One major benefit is finding, what type of metabolizing system the patient has?
- A better understanding of how a certain drug will react to the genes in the body. For eg. How the patient process the drug can be predicted. Is it too slow that it can cause buildup in the body or too fast that the drug leaves the body without working?
These blood tests can also help in determining how the body will react to a certain drug. It helps in avoiding harmful, ineffective drugs, and side effects.
This does have its limitations but it’s the beginning to find a more stable and effective treatment route for depression.
With the constant research and studies, treating depression can surely become easier and quicker in the future, helping people avoid the emotional, physical and mental stress of trial and error method of f antidepressants and therapy techniques and eventually making them realise what’s actually important, a move towards a healthy life.
We should be more responsible about health issues and specifically towards mental health as we tend to ignore it. Science have been making constant efforts to tackle this condition have made appreciable efforts towards it.
All we can do it hope for the best while managing the rest.