According to the World Health Organization (WHO) by the year 2020, depression will be the number two cause of "lost years of healthy life" worldwide. However, the cost in human suffering cannot be estimated.
Change in social and economical states throughout the world although has brought prosperity among the individuals of the world but at a price. It has brought both physical and mental stressors. Now people have to work harder and under mental tensions. Now the depression is prevalent everywhere at office, in transport and also at home. To relieve those stressors people are trying every type of therapy be it drugs or some exercise or some kind of psychotherapy so as to work efficiently.
What is depression?
Depression is basically a pathological change in mood. For being diagnosed as depressed medically one has to have certain well defined symptoms such as early morning awakening, decreased or increased appetite, decreased interest, sense of guilt, etc. continuously for a period of 2 weeks. From the biochemical point of view at the neuronal level it is hypothesized that there is a lack of nor adrenaline and Serotonin at the neuronal nerve endings.
Different types of antidepressants
Modern day antidepressants are classified broadly into nor adrenaline and serotonin reuptake inhibitors, selective serotonin reuptake intake inhibitors and the atypical ones. As stated above, the cause of depression is lack of nor adrenaline and serotonin and hence most of the antidepressants are meant to serve that purpose for e.g. some like imipramine increase the concentration of nor adrenaline and serotonin while selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) like fluoxetine block the uptake and hence increase the concentration of serotonin. The atypical antidepressants like mianserin increase the release of nor adrenaline at the neuronal nerve endings cause the elevation of mood. Extreme forms of depression are associated with suicidal tendencies and they are mostly treated by electro convulsive therapy.
Uses and side effects
The antidepressants are used in major depression and also are sometimes used in enuresis of children. The side effects of the antidepressants are many like dry mouth sedation increased appetite hypotension and convulsions to name only few but the most important of them all are dependence of the patients on these medications and then the drug abuse.
The electro convulsive therapy has the side effect of some impairment in memory hence it is only used in extreme cases.
Other options and their advantages
The other options available in the market are herbal medicines, cognitive psychotherapy, yoga and other alternative medicine. Most of these therapies are based on the age-old system on minimally disrupting the chemical composition of the body but at the same time relieving the subjects of their symptoms. One of the herbal medicines is St. John’s wort. Therapies like yoga and psychotherapy are gaining ground as most the drugs are having their own side effects profile but these have none. Cognitive therapy aims at altering the thought processes of the individual and has beneficial effects not only in depression but also in disorders as varied as panic attacks, bulimia, etc.
From the discussion it is clear that there are a number of options available and what is best for one is not necessarily going to be the best for other and hence the therapy should be customized for individual rather than generalized.