I’ve shared my surreal life-changing encounter with Postnatal Anxiety/Depression on the blog, in newspapers, on TV, social media. Literally, I shouted at the top of my lungs to anyone who cared to listen. In all these stories though, I neglected to emphasize how long it took me to find the right cocktail of meds to help with my anxiety. See, Anxiety/depression is nothing like a headache. You don’t just pop a pill and feel better. Nor is it like having period pains where you know that regardless of the current pain, in 3days all will be back to normal.
You actually suffer for a while. First off, a minute with anxiety/depression feels like a year. Then you tell someone. You are referred to a psychiatrist and get a diagnoses. You get your script and you start treatment. In that time, you are so scared to be a zombie. You feel like a failure but try to convince yourself that it’s just for a short while. You get on whatever the doctor gave you. After a week or so you feel better, and then worse. You call your doc in tears because you thought you were seeing the light. Why are you back here??. Then she drops the bomb… ‘It takes 6-8 weeks for the meds to start working properly. Even then, you might have to change to get to the right space.’ And from that day onwards you don’t care what people think anymore, You just pray to get the right concoction to feel normal again.
Today A BLOOD test could be the first step towards personalized treatment for people suffering with depression – according to scientists.
Around half of people with depression are not helped by “first-line” antidepressants and a third are resistant to all available drug treatments.Until now there has been no way of knowing in advance which patients will need more aggressive treatment, which might involve a combination of different drugs.
Instead, most treatment for depression is conducted on a trial and error basis.
The new test measures two inflammation biomarkers in the blood shown in previous studies to be linked to a poor response to antidepressants.Scientists found that patients with levels of both biomarkers above a certain threshold were 100% certain not to respond to conventional, commonly prescribed drugs.Those with inflammation markers below the threshold could be expected to respond to first-line antidepressants.
Study author Professor Carmine Pariante from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) at King’s College London, said: “The identification of biomarkers that predict treatment response is crucial in reducing the social and economic burden of depression, and improving quality of life of patients.
“This study provides a clinically suitable approach for personalizing antidepressant therapy – patients who have blood inflammation above a certain threshold could be directed toward earlier access to more assertive antidepressant strategies, including the addition of other antidepressants or anti-inflammatory drugs.” The research is reported in The International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology. Brian Dow, from the charity Rethink Mental Illness, said: “This new approach to antidepressants has the potential to be a real game changer, and these findings are a promising start.
“Anti-depressants can be a lifeline if you have a mental illness like depression, OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) or anxiety, but it’s not much of a lifeline if it takes years of trial and error to get to the right kind.”In the meantime, changing from one kin
d of medication to the next can mean having to deal with different side effects every time, not to mention withdrawal symptoms from coming off one to go on another.