Depression is a profound problem in American and worldwide. Depression is more than “having a bad day” or “feeling blue”. It is a long-lasting experience of low mood, loss of enjoyment in life, loss of interest, low energy, changes in sleep and/or appetite, and a decrease in one’s ability to think clearly (cognition).
Many people with depression experience extreme distress and anguish. They may struggle each day to get up and function. They may even struggle daily to stay alive – to resist suicidal urges. Many have virtually no quality of life and are trapped in their misery. (more…)
Neuroimaging studies have shown several neurophysiological substrates for depression. Functional brain scans, such as SPECT (single photon emission computed tomography) or PET (positron emission tomography) have shown that while patients may present with the same symptoms of depression, they can have very different processes occurring in their brains. The anatomic circuits of depression and mood regulation have been revealed by converging evidence from SPECT, PET and fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) studies of depression. (more…)
Medications can be helpful, but overall current medications are disappointing at best. Antidepressants can take up to 6 weeks to begin to work. Numerous research studies have shown that 60-70% of patients do not respond to the first antidepressant they take32-35. Moreover, many who do respond to the first antidepressant have only a partial improvement. While even a small degree of relief may be wonderful, partial responders are much more likely to relapse into depression and have more long-term health issues.