Saturday, March 25, 2006

Crazy nutso

Different drug often works in depression, study finds (NYT)

I don't often post about my psychological problems on this blog (I know, a great departure from many!) but I thought this was an important story that underlined the importance of persisting with treatment, even when it seems ineffective.

"In one paper appearing today, the authors report that 21 percent of 727 people who switched from Celexa to another antidepressant, like Zoloft, Effexor, or Wellbutrin, improved. In the other paper, the authors report that 30 percent of 565 people who supplemented their Celexa with Wellbutrin or BuSpar, an antianxiety drug, recovered.

'One of the big questions in the past was whether you should give up or continue if the first antidepressant treatment fails,' said Dr. Madhukumar H. Trivedi, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas and the lead author of one of the papers. 'The message from this is that if the first try doesn't lead to the optimal outcome, you go to the next step.'"

Granted, there are caveats -- the most important being no one really knows precisely how these drugs work, just that in some cases, they do seem to help. But I want to emphasize know, no matter how bad it gets, there is a chance, even if it's only 30 percent. Hell, even if there is only a 10 percent chance of "recovery" (however the medical community chooses to define it), there's an opportunity.

As someone who has been in and out of treatment for 12 years, and as someone who has tried five or six different drug regimens with varying success, it's worth it. It has to be worth it. I'm not really sure why I'm posting this, why I've chosen this moment to renew my interest in mental health, but nonetheless. It's never too late, and there aren't enough steps that can be taken to ensure you're in a good state of mind.

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