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Depression is a major problem and meds don't always work
Take a look around. For every 100 people you see over the age of 12, at least 10 of them are taking medication for depression, according to the National Institutes of Health. And about one-third of those on medication don't find relief from their symptoms, according to Scott T. Aaronson, MD, the director of clinical research programs for Sheppard Pratt Health System and lead author of a recent major study on people with chronic, treatment-resistant depression. Of those who do find relief initially (also known as "remission"), another third will experience "tolerance," which might be better known by its less technical term, "poop-out," according to Shanthi Mogali, MD, a double board-certified physician in General and Addiction Psychiatry and Director of Psychiatry at Mountainside Treatment Center with a specialty in treating patients with depression. Luckily there are a lot of options, and more in the pipeline all the time. In the meantime, it's important to understand what's really going on. Here's how to tell the difference between clinical depression and everyday sadness.
The power of shut-eye
When you're first going on anti-depressants, getting enough sleep could make a big difference in how well you respond, according to researchers at the University of Michigan who studied 68 depression patients during their first two weeks on an antidepressant (fluoxetine, which is also sold under the commercial name, Prozac), assigning them to spend either six or eight hours in bed. What the researchers found is that subjects who slept eight hours were almost twice as likely to achieve remission after the full eight weeks of antidepressant treatment—63 percent, as compared with 33 percent in the six-hour group. Their response was also faster. "This is the first study to demonstrate that adequate sleep might accelerate and augment antidepressant treatment response," says J. Todd Arnedt, PhD, associate professor in psychiatry and neurology at Michigan, and the lead investigator for the study, which was published last year in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. Here are some changes you can make to get a better night's sleep.