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World Health Day: Alternative, effective treatments for depression

Depression is a mental health condition characterized by prolonged unhappiness and angst. Severe depression, if left untreated, can affect the physiological and psychological health of a person. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), more than 15 million American adults, aged between 15 and 44 years, suffer from depression during any given period.

Clinicians mostly prescribe ketamine for severe depression. The antidepressant is said to treat acute signs of the disorder by blocking the glutamate receptors. Despite the fact that depression is one of the leading causes of disability among Americans, the available treatment methods cannot be termed extremely efficient, say experts.

A recent research, published online in the journal Nature Reviews/Drug Discovery in March 2017, said that though agents like ketamine, which adjust glutamate levels, may be the first kind of advanced treatment for depression in the past 10 years, one cannot be sure about its safety, tolerance level and efficiency.

Antidepressants work by treating glutamate signaling

The research, titled “Targeting glutamate signaling in depression: progress and prospects,” is based on earlier findings that indicate how the failure of the central nervous system in using glutamate efficiently can lead to mental health problems like depression and schizophrenia. The researchers wrote that experimental drugs that arrest glutamate receptors in the central nervous system or alleviate glutamate brain levels might be a more advanced form of antidepressant that offers possible benefits over current drugs for depression.

Stressing on the findings, first author of the study Dr. James Murrough, director, Mood and Anxiety Disorders Program, an assistant professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, said, “The ongoing clinical trial research focusing on the glutamate system may lead to a completely new class of antidepressants that may significantly change the way patients with depression are treated.”

The researchers from the Mount Sinai’s Mood and Anxiety Disorders Program (MAP), are carrying out studies and clinical trials on agents, including ketamine, that regulates the glutamate system. Other than ketamine, no other medicine has been approved in the world that would help regulate glutamate levels. Ketamine is provided in low doses to depressed patients in a controlled environment.

Looking for alternative antidepressant to modulate glutamate levels

The authors of the study are pinpointing at important issues related to the advanced use of ketamine and other glutamate modulators to treat depression. In addition, the researchers also elaborated that previous studies had enrolled patients who had failed to show a response to one or multiple trials of regular antidepressants. The researchers had also failed to consider additional factors, including trauma history and genetic inclination for depression. Murrough said that researchers are yet to unravel the link between glutamate modulation and conventional therapeutic methods for depression treatment.

Looking at the severity of the problem, it is important for people to understand that there is no stigma around mental problems and people should not shy away from seeking expert guidance in overcoming the problem. A healthy body encompasses a healthy mind as well.

To promote awareness about various health issues, the “World Health Day” is observed on April 7 every year. It marks the anniversary of the founding of the World Health Organization (WHO). The theme for 2017 is “Depression: Let’s talk” so that more people with depression, in all countries, seek and get help. The WHO is leading a global campaign to educate people suffering from mental problems about how to go about their daily lives without feeling the dampening effect of depression.

Recovery road map

Substance abuse problems are common among people suffering from depressive disorder as such people tend to self-medicate by using illicit drugs. However, they fail to understand that these drugs might trigger symptoms of depression, including lethargic behavior, persistent sadness and unrelenting hopelessness.

For those experiencing comorbidity of mental disorders and substance abuse problems, the Sovereign Health of Texas provides both pharmacological and non-pharmacological solutions for dual diagnosis problems. If you are looking for effective solutions regarding co-occurring disorders, call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-399-5740 or chat online with our representatives for expert advice.

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