Module 9.3 – Treatments and Drugs for Depression (MDD) in Humans


– There are many treatments available to treat depression as
you’ve read in this module. And so that is the good news. There may be some people that are still having difficulty being treated but there’s usually a treatment
for most people out there that alleviates some of
the depressive symptoms. Now one of the things that is really sort of an interesting catch 22, that when you start treating depression with serotonin, a specific
serotonin reuptake inhibitor or SSRI, the symptoms may
actually get a little worse first before they get better. Or, the person might be so depressed that gradual improvement of the depression actually gives the person more energy and maybe then can start acting out their thoughts of suicide. So it’s very important in the
beginning of the treatment with SSRIs to keep a
close eye on the patient so that the person does not actually gets into a situation
where they might act out on their suicidal thoughts. And so that may take several weeks because these SSRIs generally take several weeks to have
a therapeutic effect. And, you know, this
vulnerability to suicide in the first few weeks of SSRI treatment is especially seen in
children and adolescents maybe because their brain
hasn’t been developed as fully as in adults. But especially for
children in adolescence, it’s important to monitor them closely for suicide risk. Now, with all the other things
that we’ve been talking about already in this class, it’s also very apparent for depression that is a very heterogeneous disorder. And as a result, a lot
of different treatments, drug treatments, and psychotherapy, and even electroconvulsive therapy have been developed to treat patients because not a single treatment or not a single medication is
effective for all patients. And as I said again, when you
talk about the human disease such as depression, every person is their own individual, has their own environmental exposures, has their own genetic background that they inherited from their parents. And as a result, each individual is really an individual
that needs to be treated individually for the depression and therefore each person may have a different set of
medications or different strength of the medication
to treat their depression.

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