When it’s time to take your meds, it’s often not the medication you want.
But what if your symptoms are getting worse?
When it gets really bad, it can be an indication of depression.
That’s the message from a new study that looked at how patients with depression were treated in a clinical trial.
“Depression is a very common mental health problem, and we’re often aware of it and feel guilty about it,” Associate Professor Andrew Brown from the Department of Psychiatry at Sydney University, one of the study’s authors, told ABC News.
“So when you get that initial symptom of depression, that’s a warning sign, so we thought, ‘why not see if we can treat depression with antidepressants?'”
Dr Brown and his team examined the data from a study in Australia called the Australian Depression Intervention Program (ADIP), a five-year pilot trial that found that people who were treated with antidepressants were better at managing their symptoms.
The researchers, who were led by Dr Brown, said that although depression is a common mental illness, people with depression did not experience a great deal of social isolation.
“People with depression are often treated in the context of an outpatient setting, but often in our clinical practice, they are treated in intensive outpatient settings,” Dr Brown said.
“The fact that people with depressive symptoms were treated intensively was a great step forward for people with this condition.”
Dr Brown’s team found that patients with a diagnosis of depression were more likely to be treated intensiveually, and they also had less social isolation compared to people with other conditions, such as anxiety, panic disorder or bipolar disorder.
This study found that when people with a depression were taken to a hospital, they experienced fewer social isolation symptoms and more depressive symptoms, which led to a significant improvement in depression symptoms.
“It was surprising to see that social isolation was actually a better predictor of depression than other factors,” Dr Smith said.
A person with a depressive disorder can be diagnosed with the condition in just four weeks, and can be treated with antidepressant medication for up to three months.
The study also found that if patients with depressive disorder are treated intensiveally, they had less mental health problems and improved social functioning, and that this improved their quality of life.
Dr Brown is now conducting a follow-up study to examine how the treatments they found in ADIP work in other settings.
“We found that in addition to the therapeutic benefits, it was also able to reduce the burden of social anxiety and depression,” he said.
What do you do if you have depression?
Call the ABC’s 24-hour Depression Helpline on 13 11 14.