The New York Times:
When will we ever get depression under control?
Of all the major illnesses, mental or physical, depression has been one of the toughest to subdue. Despite the ubiquity of antidepressant drugs — there are now 26 to choose from — only a third of patients with major depression will experience a full remission after the first round of treatment, and successive treatments with different drugs will give some relief to just 20 to 25 percent more.
About 30 percent of people with depression have some degree of treatment resistance. And the greater the degree of resistance, the more likely a future relapse, even if the patient continues taking the drug.
Another group member, Bruce McEwen, a neuroscientist at Rockefeller University who has done pioneering work on the effects of stress on the brain, is studying rats from Dr. Akil’s lab that have been genetically selected for their propensity to show anxiety and depressionlike behavior.
Among other things, Dr. McEwen is using these rats to study the efficacy of drugs with the potential to act rapidly against depression. Such a drug would be a major boon to psychiatry: We need treatments that can ease the symptoms of depression, and its attendant risk of suicide, in far less time than the two to six weeks that all current antidepressants require to do their work.
Read the whole story: The New York Times