Michelle Galen, MD; Family Medicine, Deaconess Clinic
Nona Mehrnia; Purdue University – West Lafayette
Mark Smith, MS II; Indiana University School of Medicine – Evansville
Tom Strobel, MSII; Indiana University School of Medicine – Evansville
A feeling of sadness that doesn’t seem to go away. Unexplained weight gain or weight loss. Inability to focus. Fatigued but just can’t sleep. If this sounds familiar, you may be experiencing major depression episodes caused by a disease called Major Depressive Disorder or MDD. If you have MDD you’re not alone. Depression affects 15.7 million American adults.
An individual with Major Depression will have five or more symptoms of depression, although any number of symptoms can be debilitating for some people. The severity and manifestation of certain symptoms are indicators for doctors on what type of treatment the patient should receive. Medical researchers are currently working on making the best possible treatments for all types of depression.
The following treatments and medications are currently available for patients with Major Depressive Disorder:
- Antidepressants- Antidepressants are medications used to treat depression by lifting a patient’s mood and providing relief from sadness. There are many types of antidepressants, but there are two major types. SSRIs, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, work by improving the action of serotonin on the brain. The other type of antidepressants are SNRIs, or serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors. SNRI’s work similarly to SSRI’s, but also increase the action of norepinephrine on the brain.
- Psychotherapy- Also known as “talk therapy,” psychotherapy is used to help individuals better understand their disease. By helping the patient identify the stressors that trigger their symptoms, they are able to better manage their depression. Psychotherapy is a long-term and consistent treatment. In many cases, psychotherapy is not able to completely improve an individual’s depression due to hormonal imbalances involved with the disease.
- Exercise- Physical activity is an additional treatment to help individuals with depression. Exercise increases the production of “feel-good” chemicals called endorphins. Endorphins work with different brain receptors to help ease pain and boost self-confidence which can improve overall mood.
- Vortioxetine- Currently in clinical trials, vortioxetine is an antidepressant that relieves multiple symptoms of major depressive disorder. The reduction of symptoms in a patient results in fewer major depressive episodes. Decrease in episodes leads to increase in quality of life. Vortioxetine is often prescribed to a patient when they are dissatisfied with their current antidepressant or are experiencing an abundance of side effects.
If you feel that Major Depressive Disorder is taking over your life, contact your doctor to see if you are eligible to participate in any ongoing clinical trials.
Learn about participating in clinical trials for Depression
email research@Deaconess.com or call toll-free 877-654-0311.