Since their introduction to the global public in the 1950s, antidepressants have been prescribed to countless patients in their attempt to find relief from depression. Today there are five different oral families of antidepressants. Two of these families involve reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs, SNRIs), meaning the drug is allowed to stay in the synapse of the nerve rather than being reabsorbed. Reuptake inhibitors are the most widely prescribed drugs for treating depression. When combined with the other three families of antidepressants (SARI, Tetracyclics, MAOIs) these five families of antidepressant medications total more than 30 different brands of oral antidepressants. Prozac, Effexor and Zoloft are a few of the more familiar product names.
However, a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine reports that approximately half of the patients who were prescribed oral antidepressants were unresponsive. Couple this with the statistic that 1 in 10 Americans is prescribed an oral antidepressant and that fact is staggering. Many people who live with depression do not respond to today’s psychotropic solutions.
As we slide closer to the end of the year, the holidays, the shorter daylight hours, post-election stress and social media all contribute to an increase in symptoms of depression for many people. Lack of energy, sadness, problems with concentration, loss of appetite and libido, and sleep problems are among the many symptoms people with depression may face. Despite the fact that an estimated 16 million Americans suffered from depression in 2015, and one in 10 people will suffer from depression in their lifetime, treatments remain imprecise and, for too many people, ineffective. An additional barrier is the continuing lack of understanding and stigma that deters many from seeking help. Too many people still believe that depression is “all in the head.”