What is Major Depression?
Major depression is a common medical condition affecting millions of people around the globe. Individuals with major depression often experience at least five of the following symptoms, for at least two weeks:
- Depressed mood*
- Slowed movement, speech or thinking
- Sleep disturbances
- Lost interest in pleasurable activities*
- Guilt feelings or hopelessness
- Decreased energy
- Trouble concentrating
- Appetite changes
- Suicidal thoughts or attempts
*At least one required + 4/9 for at least 2 weeks for diagnosis of major depression
Depression often interferes with work, school, and relationships. People with major depression are more likely to have heart attacks or strokes than non-depressed individuals. In addition, patients who develop depression after a heart attack are four times more likely to die, with the greatest risk being in the first six months.
Prevalence of Major Depression
Depression affects one in six Americans in their lifetime and 121 million people worldwide. Women are twice as likely to develop depression as men; and the average age at onset is 32 years.
Unfortunately, two out of three patients with major depression receive inadequate treatment. Left untreated or mismanaged, major depression can be debilitating and becomes a lifelong struggle for many patients.
Treatments for Major Depression
There are many proven treatments for major depression and it is important for patients to work with their physician to learn what works best for them.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Major Depression
Cognitive behavioral psychotherapy works to help solve problems and change negative thoughts associated with major depression.
Antidepressant Medications for Major Depression
There are several medications that can be used to treat major depression, which work on the chemicals serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine, to combat the illness. When using these medications, it usually takes two weeks for patients with depression to start feel better and 10 – 12 weeks to see a meaningful decrease in depression. The dose and combination of medicine that makes a patient with depression feel better should be continued for at least one year.
Continued Treatment for Major Depression
Patients who experience three or more episodes of major depression, or patients with their first episode of depression after the age of 50 may have the best results with continuous lifelong treatment.
Treatment Resistant Major Depression
While cognitive behavioral therapy and antidepressants do work in some patients with major depression, the percentage of patients who are unresponsive remains high. Researchers and practitioners recognize that for many patients, their major depression is resistant to conventional treatments, and therefore, known as treatment resistant major depression. At least one in three people with major depression treated with four or more antidepressant treatments do not achieve remission. Ketamine, which has been used widely as an anesthetic since it received FDA approval in 1962, has emerged as an innovative solution for those suffering from treatment resistant major depression.
What is Ketamine?
Ketamine is an innovative, effective, evidence-based treatment for those struggling with treatment resistant major depression. This medication, which is delivered intravenously, provides fast, sustained relief, with minimal side effects, and is considered a breakthrough in psychiatric medicine.
If you or someone you love is suffering from treatment resistant major depression, we encourage you to reach out to COPE to learn more about our innovative, effective, evidence-based treatments. Please call our office at COPE to schedule an appointment.